Gymnastics team opens season with comeback



Matt Lofgren

Led by freshman all-around winner Marie Case, the Kent State gymnastics team edged Maryland in a thriller 194.775-193.125 to take their season opener at the M.A.C Center.

After a sluggish start in the team’s first event at the vault, the banged-up Flashes overcame some injuries and took over the match, never losing hold of a solid lead.

“Maryland coming in, we knew they were going to be a good team and we’ve had a little bit of a beat up team this whole semester,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “I think this shows us how much confidence we have and how good of a team this possibly can be, from one event from another they stayed very calm and very steady and that’s what you want to see as a coach.”

The Flashes had their strongest showing on the low bars where the team posted a strong 48.90 when both sophomore Lindsay Runyan and junior Jaimee Caldwell set personal records to carry momentum for the team into the beam.

Senior Christine Abou-Mitri, the defending MAC gymnast of the year, was another key factor to the Flashes win, finishing fourth in the all-around category.

“I’m proud of my teammates,” Abou-Mitri said. “We showed a lot of motivation and fight and really showed that even though it’s the first meet we have it in us to start off the season with a bang.

“But for myself, I did all right. I was a little banged up and trying to take it easy, but I can only work from here and improve from there.”

As for the young stand out for the Flashes, Case was performing well at every event she participated in and grabbed top scorer at the beam and floor events.

“We knew the talent that she had coming in and she’s a kid that’s super motivated, super focused and we were expecting this but once again until they actually come and see what they do, you never actually know,” Biggin said. “She’s a fighter, and she’s going to be a fighter for four years and I’m glad she’s fighting on our side.”

Aside from where the team did well, Biggin said his team has several areas that need improving but know that they have the time to do it.

“We’ll get back a couple of people on vault next week and I think that’s probably one of our weaker events today, but we know we were out our two best vaulters,” Biggin said.

The gymnastics team will travel to Las Vegas to face Sacramento State on Friday to participate in the Lady Luck Invitational for their next meet.

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected].