KSU gymnasts look to best MAC rival

Katie Corbut

The Kent State gymnastics team is set to face off against Mid-American Conference foe Central Michigan at 2 p.m. Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The Flashes are ranked 28th in the nation, just ahead of the Chippewas, who sit at 30th.

Assistant coach Sharon Sabin said she is eager to face Central Michigan to see how the gymnasts’ progress in practice has paid off. The Chippewas routinely compete with the Flashes for the MAC Championship, making them a major rival within the conference.

“I’m sure they’re going to be gunning for us,” Sabin said. “They’ll be ready. We’ll be on the road and they’ll be in their home arena. They’ll have a big crowd and I’m sure they’re pumping this up.”

Sabin said Central Michigan will be aiming to defeat the Flashes, who have won the MAC title the last two years.

“We have the talent to do well against Central, (because) the team just has to show up,” Sabin said. “It comes down to how bad they want it. It won’t happen if we (the coaches) want it more than they do.”

Junior co-captain Christine Abou-Mitri said she believes Kent State is due for a dominant performance to show what they’re capable of.

“It’s disappointing to see (the team) go into the meet and see something completely different than the 9.9 routines they do in practice,” Abou-Mitri said. “They’re showing a lack of desire and heart. I just feel like they need to learn how to fight more.”

Abou-Mitri said the gymnasts need to improve their beam routines, which the team has continued to struggle with recently.

“When someone falls, it makes me mad,” she said. “It makes me want to hit my routine more. But I don’t want to be mad, I want to have fun and be relaxed.”

Despite her disappointment with the team’s performance in its loss last week to Southern Utah, Abou-Mitri said she remains confident that her teammates can reach their potential this weekend.

“I’m really happy with everyone’s attitude, but I want to see more fire from some of the girls,” she said. “I want so bad for their hard work to be shown. I’m proud of everyone.”

Abou-Mitri has been one of the team’s most consistent athletes and a constant high point of conversation from coach Brice Biggin.

“She’s what you want your underclassmen to look at and say, ‘That’s who I want to be like,’” Biggin said. “She expects a great deal out of herself and she’ll be the first one to work until she gets there.

Biggin said Abou-Mitri is an attractive gymnast to watch, not only because of her high skill level, but also her ability to make her routines look easy.

“Gymnastics has taught me a lot about perfection,” she said. “You not only want to be perfect in gymnastics, but the sport makes you want to be perfect in everything you do.”

Contact sports reporter Katie Corbut at [email protected].