Gymnasts strive to win season finale, MAC title

Flashes tweak their routines for WMU

The Kent State gymnastics team will compete in its last regular season meet against Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan Sunday in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Undefeated in the MAC so far, Kent State coach Brice Biggin said the Flashes are approaching their meet with the Broncos (7-11, 1-4 MAC) like any other.

“We have no control over what they do,” Biggin said. “We need to focus on ourselves and making routines.”

Biggin said Western Michigan doesn’t boast the same depth as Kent State (7-3, 4-0), which has caused the Broncos to struggle recently. However, with an experienced coaching staff, and the fact that it’s senior night for the Broncos, he said no opponent can be taken for granted.

“We’re not trying to think too far ahead, we have a job to do this week,” Biggin said. “But this (MAC Championship) is ours. We want to take it and win it.”

With a win against Western Michigan, the Flashes can clinch a regular season conference title and be able to enter next weekend’s MAC Championship with even more confidence, but Biggin said he didn’t want the gymnasts to lose focus on this meet.

Biggin’s frustrations in the beginning of the season have dwindled away, because the team is now performing much closer to their capabilities, and just in time.

“It’s not like we wanted to start weak,” Biggin said. “The girls are determined and know what it takes to win. We’re more focused and working better as a team and this is the point in time where you want that.”

Biggin said he is particularly proud of the team’s current level of strength, especially in junior Christine Abou-Mitri, who could be on her way to the NCAA Tournament as an all-around competitor. Biggin said the coaches could not be more satisfied with her determination.

“I sat her down and talked to her, more from fear of her being so successful. I know how bad she wants nationals, but she has to maintain focus and not worry about winning,” Biggin said. “She needs to take it one routine at a time to give herself a chance of representing this team.”

Biggin is confident in Abou-Mitri’s ability to keep things in perspective, because she has been so consistent all season.

Consistency is also starting to grow for the beam team, lead by Abou-Mitri. While the team has not counted a fall in the past two meets, assistant coach Sharon Sabin said she still believes there’s room for improvement.

“Now we have two meets under our belts, but it’s the little things that make meets better,” Sabin said. “We need to get these tenths back to help the team score. We’re not changing routines, we need to clean them up.”

Sabin plans to work with the beam team on body positioning in jumps and balance checks on their flight passes, both of which can decrease deductions if perfected.

Contact sports reporter Katie Corbut at [email protected].