Gymnasts finish last in NCAA regional


Shane Flanigan

The Kent State Gymnastics team cheer on senior Rachel Guida after her performance on the uneven bars Friday, Feb 15 at the MACC. KSU defeated Central Michigan 196.050 to 194.900. Photo by Shane Flanigan

Lily Flynn

The No. 23 Kent State women’s gymnastics team’s season came to an abrupt end Saturday as the Flashes placed last out of six teams at the NCAA regional meet in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Their overall score of 193.500 is the lowest the team saw all season.

While coming in last place may not look good for the Mid-American Conference regular season champions, head coach Brice Biggin said that the scores did not accurately showcase how well the team performed.

“I think the general consensus from people was that the scoring was really, really tight,” Biggin said. “It was different scoring than we had seen all season long. We hit six vaults. We hit five out of six bar routines, and we hit five out of six beam routines. Normally if we do that and count one fall, we’re a 195 team. Unfortunately, sometimes things get a little bit tighter at these meets even though they say they’re not going to.”

In addition to a tight scoring standard, Biggin also attributes some of their lower scores to following the host of the competition, No. 3 Alabama.

“Alabama looked really good at home, and they had some great routines and we followed them,” Biggin said. “It doesn’t help when you follow a team that is ranked third in the country, and they’re at home and do a great job.”

The team’s first event, the floor exercise, was their biggest disappointment. The Flashes were forced to count a fall due to mistakes made by two gymnasts. With an overall score of 48.125, it was the team’s lowest total score of the night.

“Honestly, we started off on floor, and we had two kids who fell,” Biggin said. “Unfortunately we didn’t start off the way we wanted to. We warmed up great, so it was surprising to us because the kids looked good and looked ready. It started off certainly not the way we had hoped.”

Despite their lackluster scores on the floor exercise, the Flashes were not disheartened.

“We started off not very good on floor, so we put ourselves in the hole there, but the rest of the meet we actually did what we’re supposed to do,” sophomore Amiah Mims said. “We kept fighting, and no one gave up, which is really easy to do after having a bad first event.”

Pushing forward, the gymnasts competed in the next three events, the vault (48.575), uneven bars (48.525) and beam (48.275). The routines were solid and no falls were counted for the Flashes, but it was not enough to push the team past top contender and two-time NCAA champion Alabama, No. 9 Utah or any of the other top-15 teams competing for the two top spots at the meet.

“Are we disappointed with where we finished? Of course we are,” Biggin said. “But am I disappointed with the performance? No, I really don’t think the score tells the story of how we performed. I think that is the most frustrating thing. People didn’t see how well we competed.”

While the season may be over for the Flashes and the gymnasts are ready for some relaxation time, it won’t last very long.

“They are already hungry to get better and to work to improve on the season,” Biggin said. “That’s what we like about this team. They’re really good kids who care a lot. I wish things would have finished a little bit different at the end of the season, but the work ethic they put in and the intensity they put in, we can’t fault that at all. I’m really not disappointed with the effort they put into this season.”

Lily Flynn is the gymnastics reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Lily Flynn at [email protected].