Gymnastics and wrestling teams set out to make university history


Shane Flanigan

Sophomore Chelsea Drooger reaches out for the uneven bars Friday, Jan. 25 at the MACC during a tri-meet victory over Western Michigan and George Washington. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Lily Flynn

Kent State University is well known for plenty of reasons, but lately it has been making headlines for its athletic programs. Last spring, the baseball team went to the College World Series for the first time in its history. In the fall, the football team earned its first bowl bid in 40 years. Now it’s time for two other teams to unite for an event that will secure their own spots in Kent State history — the university’s first Beauty and the Beast match.

The event features both the gymnastics and wrestling teams as they compete in a dual meet simultaneously in the M.A.C. Center.

“Kent has never done this before,” sophomore gymnast Amiah Mims said. “It’s just something that is exciting and new. I think the main goal is to have something new. It’s going to be fun to have everyone together and see how everyone reacts to what is going on.”

The idea for the event has been in the works for more than half of a decade, said gymnastics coach Brice Biggin.

“I don’t know how it originally first came up,” Biggin said. “We have been trying to get this done for at least six years.”

As luck would have it, a scheduling issue arose that placed the wrestling and gymnastics teams in the M.A.C. Center at the same time on the same night, which gave both coaches the option to revisit the idea of the Beauty and the Beast match.

“It’s a unique concept as far as gymnastics and wrestling and trying to put them both together,” Biggin said. “It really will give the audience a complete different perspective of sports and what both these teams give.”

The gymnasts are set to take on Rutgers, while the wrestling team will compete against Cleveland State.

During the competition, characters from the Beauty and Beast movie will interact with audience members.

Following the event, members of both teams will be signing autographs for their fans.

“This will be a great event to take the whole family to,” assistant gymnastics coach Sharon Sabin said. “The boys can watch the wrestling part and the girls can watch the gymnastics, and they can all watch both. This will hopefully keep everybody happy and be some good family fun on a Friday night.”

Contact Lily Flynn at [email protected].