Gymnastics defeat Eastern Michigan to end regular season

Tyler Goddard

No. 20 Kent State finished the regular season by defeating Eastern Michigan 194.900-194.025. The Flashes won three of four events, and senior Christina Lenny won the all-around with a score of 39.225.

Brice Biggin, Kent State coach, said the team came out flat, but there were some nice individual routines.

“We struggled a little bit on every event,” Biggin said. “We had some really nice routines, and we had one or two where there were a few mistakes made that hurt scores on each of the events.”

Freshman Nikki Moore and Lenny both tied for the high score on vault with a 9.800, which helped the Flashes win the event 48.775-48.375.

“Overall, we aren’t really excited about the meet because we would like to be a little sharper this time of the year, and it looked like they were pressing a little bit and not relaxed and confident,” Biggin said.

Kent State went into the meet needing to replace junior Brianna Skiffington who injured her ankles in the team’s victory over Ball State last week. Junior Jaimee Caldwell replaced her on the balance beam, and Danielle Durbin filled her spot in the floor exercise lineup.

“I just knew that the team needed me, and I really wanted to do it for the team and for Bri because I know how bad she wanted to be doing that routine,” Caldwell said. “I knew I could it; I’ve been doing it at practice and in exhibition, and I wanted to make my routine and do what I can for the team.”

Despite the struggles on beam, the Flashes finished with high-scoring routines that helped them win the event 48.625-48.300. Senior Christine Abou-Mitri scored 9.800, freshman Marie Case scored 9.850 and Lenny had the highest beam score with a 9.925.

The score was also Lenny’s career-best, and ties her for sixth all-time in school history.

Caldwell said for the team to have continued success, they need to just clean up everything and “stay confident with everything we do.”

Another positive for the Golden Flashes was the career day by sophomore Rachel Guida who achieved two career-bests. She scored 9.825 on the uneven bars and 9.775 on the vault.

Biggin said the team needs to be a little bit more focused on really going out there and performing with high energy.

“A meet like MAC Championships, you have to put your best foot forward out every event and every routine, and we need the entire team to be there so we can’t just walk through meets,” Biggin said.

Kent State (11-2-1, 5-1 MAC) will travel to Central Michigan March 19 for MAC Championships at 2 p.m.

Contact Tyler Goddard at [email protected].