Kent State gymnastics falls to Central Michigan

%C2%A0Kent+State%E2%80%99s+Whitnee+Johnson+competes+on+the+uneven+bars+during+the+meet+against+Central+Michigan+University+on+Sunday%2C+Feb.+15%2C+2014.+Johnson+finished+her+routine+with+a+9.725+and+the+Flashes+lost+with+an+overall+score+of+195.325-196.400.

 Kent State’s Whitnee Johnson competes on the uneven bars during the meet against Central Michigan University on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2014. Johnson finished her routine with a 9.725 and the Flashes lost with an overall score of 195.325-196.400.

Megan McEldowney

Despite a strong performance from freshman Rachel Stypinski, Kent State gymnastics (2-5, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) fell to Central Michigan on Saturday, 196.400-195.325, inside the M.A.C. Center.

“Central is one of our biggest competitors in the MAC,” said junior gymnast Skyelee Lamano. “We’ve had a couple bumps in the road.”

Stypinski took first place on the floor exercise, while setting a personal-best record of 9.950. She also tied for first on the balance beam with a 9.900.

“Rachel is a young lady we knew had all kinds of potential,” coach Brice Biggin said. “It was just her coming in here, being focused every time she competed. You know, really believing in herself. Obviously, she started to do that. She’s able to go up there on beam with all kinds of pressure on herself because there was a fall right before her, and she performed probably the best routine of her life.”

Kent State had team scores of 48.425 (vault), 48.850 (bars), 48.700 (beam) and 49.350 (floor) to reach their final score. The Chippewas kept a steady lead the entire meet, except in floor with a team score of 49.300.

“Central Michigan probably had their best meet of the year,” Biggin said. “They stepped up when they needed to, you know. They made the little things great today. We didn’t do that quite as well. I think we just need to continue to get better. We need to be a little stronger on vault as a team right now. We’re getting some kids back healthy, and that will make a difference.”

Stypinski wasn’t the only freshman from Kent State to walk away with a first-place victory. Brooke Timko tied for first on vault with a 9.850.

Kent State travels to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on North Carolina State, Rutgers University and University of North Carolina, on Friday. The meet starts at 7 p.m.

Contact Megan McEldowney at [email protected]