Gymnastics team travels to face long-time rival Central Michigan

One of the Flashes gymnasts swings on the un-even bars on January 21. Photo by Adrianne Bastas

One of the Flashes’ gymnasts swings on the un-even bars on January 21. Photo by Adrianne Bastas

Erica Mucci

Ohio State vs. Michigan. Duke vs. North Carolina. The New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox. Rivalries are an inevitable and exciting part of competitive sport.

This week, the Flashes gymnastics team will take on its rival, the Central Michigan Chippewas.

“This is the one we point to on the schedule,” Coach Brice Biggin said. “It’s the Ohio State vs. Michigan game for both of our programs.”

A rivalry can ignite from any confluence of circumstances: proximity, history – or for the Flashes, championships.

“It seems like for the last 20 years we’ve gone back and forth with Central Michigan,” Biggin said.

It has been either the Flashes or the Chippewas who has walked away with the Mid-American Conference Championship the majority of the time for those last 20 years.

Biggin said although this rivalry is intense, it is not a bitter one.

“It’s been a very healthy rivalry over the years because I think it has really pushed both programs to be much better,” Biggin said. “We look forward to the meet every year, and I know they do too because of the bragging rights.”

Senior Rachel Goldenberg says since she started with the program four years ago Central Michigan has been the “have to beat” school.

“We always want to be on our A-game against them, and I know they feel the same,” Goldenberg said. “Both programs bring out the best in each other I think.”

Biggin said having a week off between meets has been a good way for the team to relax.

“We’ve done some softer training with soft landings this week to give the girls a little bit of a break on their bodies,” Biggin said.

He said although the team is not trying to over-train for the meet, it’s nearly impossible not to put in a little extra effort.

“If we perform at a higher level here in practice, it gives us that much more of an edge,” Biggin said

To Goldenberg, the preparation time before this meet is a time for the team to live up to its capabilities.

“We really try to kick up the intensity in the gym this week,” Goldenberg said. “We have a lot of potential. We just need to hit our routines. We are a good team and I want to be able to prove that.”

Central Michigan is on a 25-match winning streak against MAC opponents. Their last loss came against the Flashes in the 2010 season. Action will begin Saturday at McGuirk Arena at 1 p.m.

Contact Erica Mucci at [email protected].