KSU gymnastics season ends at NCAA Regionals


Sophomore Marie Case rubs chalk onto her hands during a meet on Jan. 21. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Erica Mucci

The Flashes’ gymnastics team never recovered after news broke minutes before the NCAA Regionals meet that their star would not be available. The team finished sixth out of six teams Saturday.

“It was just one of those days when it seemed like if something could have gone wrong, it did,” coach Brice Biggin said.

Biggin said the team was getting ready to march onto the floor when they heard there was an issue with their team leader, sophomore Marie Case.

“We were getting ready for our talk and prayer when someone came out and said ‘there’s something wrong with Marie, and she’s not going to make it out,’” Biggin said. “I’m thinking, ‘Okay what could it possibly be?’”

Biggin said after the team finished the talk, he went back to the locker room to see Case. He found out she had an allergic reaction to a medication and would need to go to the hospital.

“She was beside herself because she felt like she was letting the team down,” Biggin said. “She wasn’t even worried about herself, just the team. She’s such a good kid.”

After realizing they would be without Case for the day, Biggin worked to fill her spots in the lineup. Although it certainly wasn’t something the team was planning on, Biggin said he felt the team had enough depth to take care of the issue.

“You’re not going to replace a Marie Case though,” Biggin said. “It’s just impossible to do, but the girls who were thrown in did a tremendous job.”

The Flashes started out the competition on beam, where freshman Nicole Radon would replace Case. Four Kent gymnasts scored a 9.675 on the apparatus, including Radon.

“She went in on the last spot in the line-up, and a girl had unfortunately fallen on the routine before her,” Biggin said. “There was a ton of pressure on her to make a routine, and she did.”

It wasn’t enough though, and the team continued to struggle as they moved through the floor exercise. Junior Lauren Wozniak posted the team-best 9.800.

Kent State then moved to the vault where freshman Whitnee Johnson and junior Rachel Guida led the way. Guida also led the Flashes on the uneven bars with a routine that earned her a 9.850. She tied for fourth overall and was the Flashes’ only top 10 finisher of the day.

“We just had little things that happened everywhere,” Biggin said. “I don’t think it was nerves. I just really think there are times [that] no matter how much you prepare, and how good you feel, it’s just not your day and things don’t go together how you want them to.”

Biggin said he sat the girls down after the meet and made sure they knew the result wasn’t because of a lack of effort on their part. He said he also thanked the seniors for everything they have done for the program.

“It’s been a tough year,” Biggin said. “We’ve had to battle some tough falls and some injuries early in the year, and these kids never gave up. They were able to put together a nice year for themselves.”

As the Flashes look at what’s to come next year, Biggin said he is certainly encouraged by the thought of the future.

“It’s always hard to lose seniors, but we had some young kids get some valuable experience this year and we’ve got a nice group of freshman coming in,” Biggin said. “We’ll reflect on some of the good things from this year, but also look at what we need to do to get better.”

Contact Erica Mucci at [email protected].