Flashes raise funds, earn two victories

Katie Corbut

Flashes claim victory over Northern Illinois and Rutgers Friday night

Christine Abou-Mitri (39.375) and Christina Lenny (39.025) take top honors in the all-around competition.

The Kent State gymnastics team’s win against Northern Illinois and Rutgers Friday night wasn’t the only thing to celebrate in the M.A.C. Center. Along with the victory, the Flashes raised thousands of dollars while beating the Scarlet Knights (187.925) and the Huskies (192.775) with a score of 194.575.

“It was a great night because of a great cause,” assistant coach Sharon Sabin said. “But our team only did their job on three events.”

The team had to overcome a vault rotation that was unfairly judged, according to Kent State coach Brice Biggin.

“It’s frustrating going out on vault and starting like that,” said Biggin. “We can’t even break a 9.8? To me, that’s an awful job of judging.”

Brittany Kopp was the first gymnast to vault. The first judge had her score at a 9.8, the other judge had her at a 9.55 so the average was taken. The lower-scoring judge set the precedent for the other judge, who began scoring the following gymnasts lower.

“After things like that happen, you just tell them that you can only control what you can control,” Sabin said.

Placing third on vault was senior Brittany Kopp (9.750) and tying for first were juniors Christina Lenny and Christine Abou-Mitri (9.775).

The next rotation was bars, and things seemed to reset, as the team counted all scores above a 9.75. Kent State swept the first five places on bars, with three tying for first. Senior Lydia Barrett, junior Erin Rothrock and Christine Abou-Mitri all had scores of 9.85.

The beam was next for Kent State. The first three Kent State gymnasts fell off the beam, and two of those fallen scores had to be counted, docking a point from the team’s final score.

“Thank God for Brittany Kopp, Lenny and Abou,” Biggin said. “Those kids said to the rest of the team, ‘you need to learn how to fight.’ We fought and there was no way we were coming off the beam.”

Biggin said that until some girls get that attitude, they’re in a lot of trouble.

“That’s all beam is, is attitude,” he said. “It’s not physically any more difficult. Mentally it is if you let it be.”

Abou-Mitri was the only Kent State gymnast to place in the top three on the beam, and she won the event with a 9.85.

“It’s a battle every weekend,” Abou-Mitri said. “You have to yell at them and ask if their heart is into it because it doesn’t look like it is. I can’t get up there and do it for them. There’s only so much I can do.”

Abou-Mitri added she wonders why her teammates don’t look at her as an example, because she’s fighting for every element on the beam.

Biggin pulled the girls aside after beam, and prepped them for the last rotation as the breast cancer survivors told the crowd their stories.

Once again, the Flashes swept the floor exercise. Leading the event was Abou-Mitri, who posted a season-high 9.9. Following closely behind her in second place was senior Lydia Barrett (9.875) and in third was senior Sam Heydlauff (9.85). In her first floor routine of the season, junior Danielle Durbin scored a 9.825.

“That was the routine of the night,” coach Biggin said. “That kid stepped up and did what she needed to do.”

Abou-Mitri was very impressed by Durbin’s routine, stating that the team should also look at her as an example.

“Someone who hasn’t even been in the lineup, goes up there and does her job,” Abou-Mitri said.

In the all-around competition, Abou-Mitri and Lenny took top honors. Abou-Mitri earned a 39.375 and first place finish while Lenny placed second with a 39.025.

Contact sports reporter Katie Corbut at [email protected].