Gymnasts struggle on beam, pull out win

Lily Flynn

While home meets tend to bring a form of security to most teams, the Kent State gymnasts continue to compete at less than their best while on their own turf, specifically in regards to the balance beam.

“Unfortunately [the beam] has been more of a problem at home,” Flashes coach Brice Biggin said. “We’ve had three meets away, and we haven’t encountered a problem yet. So it’s really kind of a frustrating thing because it’s just been happening at home.”

The team competed against non-conference member Rutgers this weekend during the school’s first ever Beauty and the Beast competition, which featured both the gymnasts and wrestlers simultaneously in the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes took down the Scarlet Knights with a final score of 195.675-193.700. The team placed first in all four events, plus the All Around, to find themselves victorious.

“Well obviously it’s always good to come away with a win,” Biggin said. “Rutgers did a really good job. There were a lot of good things we did. Unfortunately we still struggled a little bit on the balance beam as well.”

The Flashes owe much success to the standout performance of junior Marie Case, who took first in the All Around for the third week in a row with a score of 39.200. In addition to the All Around, Case tied for first with senior Lindsey Runyun in the beam with a score of 9.825. Case also tied for first with freshman Katlin Isaacs on the floor with a score of 9.850. Case currently ranks 21st in the country in the All Around.

To continue with their series of first place spots in the competition, sophomore Whitnee Johnson stole the top spot in the vault with a score of 9.875, while senior Rachel Guida tied her career best in the uneven bars with a score of 9.900, which launched her into first place.

Senior Lauren Wozniak, coming off a bruised heel, said she believed that the meet went in the right direction for them, but the beam really hurt their overall score.

“I think that [the meet] went okay,” Wozniak said. “We definitely could have had a higher score if we would have really done beam like we should have, but we’ll take it.”

Next week, the Flashes will have another chance to prove themselves on their own beam, taking on their conference rivals, Central Michigan, at the M.A.C. Center. The competition is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.

“Usually those two teams [Kent State and Central Michigan] bring out the best in each other,” assistant coach Craig Ballard said. “When you look at the history of MAC Championships those two are the names you see most often.”