Gymnasts defeat Ball State in Flip for the Cure meet


Whitnee Johnson, sophomore exercise science major, performs a routine on the high bars during Kent State’s Flip for the Cure event on March 2, 2013 in the MAC Center. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Lily Flynn

It’s not every day Kent State’s gymnasts can say they dominated their opponent, even with an undefeated conference record. With a four-point difference in overall scores this weekend, the team showed its focus, drive and determination to succeed.

However, both the team and head coach Brice Biggin said they think they could have done better.

“I think we’re growing as a team, but we have lofty goals for this team, and I know they want to be in the top 18,” Biggin said. “We wanted to win a regular season championship, and we did that today and certainly that was a great step. We want to win a [Mid-American Conference] championship, and for us to be able to do that, they need to understand even though things were really good today, they are not going to be good enough to win a championship.”

The sixth-annual Flip for the Cure event showcased the undefeated team against conference member Ball State. The Flashes dominated over the Cardinals 196.250 to 192.100 for their seventh straight win, taking first in each individual event, including the All-Around. The 196.250 score is the team’s highest so far this season.

“We are very happy with our win today,” sophomore Whitnee Johnson said. “It was a great night for us, but there is always room for improvement. We are a good team, but we can always be better.”

Johnson was the standout of the night, taking first in the All-Around for the second consecutive week with an overall score of 38.975. Her performance on the balance beam earned her a 9.875, her highest score of the night, pushing her into the first place spot in the event. In addition to beam, Johnson also tied for second on the vault with a score of 9.850. Sophomore Chelsea Drooger took first in the event, placing a 9.875.

“I’m really proud of this team and what we’ve accomplished so far,” Johnson said. “I think we keep building each week, and that is what’s moving us forward.”

Following closely behind Johnson, senior Rachel Guida once again stunned on the uneven bars, placing first in the event with a score of 9.925. Not only was the score high enough to earn first, but it also was a new career best for Guida.

“Guida is very consistent,” junior Marie Case said. “She comes in, gets her work done, basically perfect. Her bar routines are amazing and she’s just a great teammate and leader.”

For the fourth and final event of the night, the Flashes took the floor, once again stealing the show. With a combined score of 49.350, the team won the event and also set a new season high in the event. Case took first in the event, tying her season high of 9.925 for the second time this season.

The team is currently pushing for a top 18 spot nationally, which would ultimately place them into the MAC Championship.

“We work the hardest,” Case said. “We bust our butts every single day in the gym. We come in with good attitudes, and focus and ready to work. We go out there and perform well every single week. We’ve been consistent every week, week in and week out. So there’s no other reason we shouldn’t be in the top 18.”

The Flashes will next compete at the Eagle Invite in Ypsilati, Mich., at 7 p.m. Saturday. The quad meet is hosted by Eastern Michigan and will showcase Kent State, Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage.

Contact Lily Flynn at [email protected].