Gymnasts remain undefeated in conference

Lily Flynn

The Kent State gymnastics team took a chance this weekend, switching out its normal rotations for a lineup that showcased different gymnasts on the team. The chance was risky, but it worked.

“We constantly make little changes to tweak things sometimes, and sometimes you’re forced to because you have an injury,” head coach Brice Biggin said. “That’s pretty much the reason behind [the change].”

The Flashes took down conference opponent Northern Illinois 195.800 to 194.350. The win pushed the team not only into a six-meet winning streak, but also kept them undefeated in the Mid-American Conference.

“I think we’re feeling really confident right now,” freshman gymnast Katlin Isaacs said. “I think our main concern is not get too confident and to remain almost humble so we don’t underestimate the teams that we’re competing against, especially in the MAC.”

The team led in all events except floor, scoring a 48.900 on uneven bars, a 49.100 on beam, and a 49.025 on vault. The Flashes fell less than a half point behind the Huskies on the floor exercise with a score of 49.200 to 48.775 overall.

“It was just a little bit of an off day for us on floor,” Biggin said. “I’m not sure the girls adjusted as well to that floor as we would like them to, and because of that everyone had little mistakes.”

Sophomore Whitnee Johnson was the team’s only All-Around contender, competing in her first uneven bars event of the season. The event, usually competed in by junior Marie Case, marked the team’s most noticeable change in their lineup. Johnson took first in the All-Around with a total score of 39.150 and second place in the uneven bars event, scoring a 9.825, only falling behind teammate, senior Rachel Guida.

“Whitnee Johnson went in and did a very good job,” Biggin said. “[This was] her first meet competing all around and she won the All-Around, so that was good.”

Case took a break from her usual All-Around rotation in an effort to focus on the other events, specifically beam, which is an event that has continued to plague the team through the season. Her decision not only earned her a 9.900 in the event, but also helped push her team ahead of Northern Illinois to a victory.

The Flashes return home to compete against conference member Ball State at 7 p.m. Friday. The meet will feature the Flashes’ sixth-annual “Flip for the Cure” event.

“[The team’s] really pumped for it. We’re preparing the same as we normally do,” Isaacs said. “Preparation-wise, it’s not much different, but the atmosphere is definitely going to be a lot more exciting because there’s going to be a much bigger crowd.”

Contact Lily Flynn at [email protected].