Gymnastics team ends “Cinderella” run at NCAA Championships

Tyler Goddard

The atmosphere was electric at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland as many loyal followers of Kent State gymnastics joined together to cheer on the “Cinderella story” that was the 2010-11 Flashes gymnastics team.

After two events, Kent State found themselves in last place with a score of 97.050. Then the team stepped onto the stage for the floor exercise. The Flashes hit every routine to get back into contention and proved to everyone in attendance that they belonged.

The event rotation was highlighted by freshman Marie Case scoring a 9.800 and seniors Christine Abou-Mitri and Christina Lenny each scoring a 9.850.

Final score

Kent State: 195.000 (6th place)

Match highlights

  • 48.950 (floor exercise)
  • 8.300 (balance beam)
  • 48.750 (uneven bars)
  • 49.000 (vault)

The final event of the team’s season was the vault, and the Flashes didn’t disappoint as they finished with a team score of 49.000. Sophomore Rachel Guida, freshman Nikki Moore and Case all scored 9.800, and Lenny put a cap on the team’s memorable season by scoring a 9.825 to close out the meet.

“I’m proud of everybody,” Lenny said. “I mean we had minor mistakes here and there but nothing major. We had one fall, which we didn’t have to count, and we went out there and did what we had to do. They weren’t our best routines, but we went out there, and we made routines. We had confidence in ourselves, and we had fun.”

Kent State finished in sixth place with a total team score of 195.000. The winner of the second semifinal was Alabama (197.050), who advances to the Super Six Championship meet Saturday. The other two schools joining them from the second session are Nebraska (196.850) and Utah (196.200).

Florida (196.125) and Oregon State (196.100) finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Kent State had scores of 49.000 (vault), 48.750 (uneven bars), 48.300 (balance beam) and 48.950 (floor exercise). Lenny had an all-around score of 39.125, and Case had a 39.025.

“I think it was just a phenomenal experience for the girls and for us as coaches,” said Brice Biggin, Kent State coach. “To bring a team to the National Championships is just an incredible honor and an incredible experience and something hopefully these girls will never forget and will be proud of themselves for the rest of their lives.”

Biggin said he was proud of the way the girls performed given it was their first time at the National Championships. He also said that just believing and proving they can compete at a championship level will help the younger gymnasts moving forward into next season.

“They just went out and worked as a team and didn’t back down to anyone and fought all the way through, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Biggin said.

Contact Tyler Goddard at [email protected].