Gymnastics takes fifth place at Central Region Championship

Pamela Crimbchin

Lenny qualifies for Nationals with sixth- place finish overall

The Kent State gymnastics team bounced back after a rough start to take fifth place in the Central Region Championship Saturday at Ohio State.

“We did something that no other Kent State team has done in a really long time,” senior Rachel Stuck said. “We came back after counting a fall in the meet.”

Even after counting a fall and taking last place in its opening event, bars, Kent State gymnasts rallied together in order to finish in fifth place out of six teams.

Louisiana State won the meet with a score of 196.875, with Oregon State close behind with a score of 196.800. Ohio State took third with a score of 195.950, followed by Michigan State earning 194.825. Kent State was able to beat the University of Kentucky with a score of 194.650 to 193.700.

“We came together as one today, and I have never felt so proud (of) being a part of something as I have today,” senior Amanda St. John said.

Sophomore Christina Lenny helped lead the Flashes to their fifth place finish with her performance in all four events. Lenny’s score of 39.175 earned her a sixth place finish in the all-around competition and a spot in the NCAA national championships at the University of Nebraska April 16-18.

“I honestly never thought that this would happen,” Lenny said. “It’s been my goal all year but I knew that there were a lot of talented girls out here.”

In its opening event, Kent State counted its first fall on bars since the first meet of the season.

That fall put Kent State at a huge disadvantage, with the team only earning a score of 47.900.

“The disappointing thing for the bars team is that they’ve been so good all year,” Biggin said.

Kent State moved past the bars on to beam to earn its second best score of the season at 48.825. The score was enough to take fourth place in the event, beating Kentucky and Michigan State.

“The character that we saw from the team after bars was really the thing that makes us most proud as coaches,” Biggin said. “We had to go right over to beam without any break, and that’s the event that really has been giving us fits.”

The beam score was enough to push the Flashes just ahead of the University of Kentucky, even though they placed behind the Wildcats in vault and bars.

Sophomore Christine Abou-Mitri scored a 9.825 on beam placing her in a five-way tie for sixth place. Freshman Kristina Arcury was close behind Abou-Mitri with a score of 9.800.

Kent State’s floor team did its best to raise the score, earning a fourth place tie with Kentucky with a score of 49.025.

The Flashes took sixth place on vault with a score of 48.900, losing by only a margin of .075 to Michigan State.

Biggin said that the Kent State seniors performed very well and pushed their teammates during their final meet and the season.

“They were the cornerstones of the determination of this team this year,” Biggin said. “They started off the season rough, and they took it upon themselves to fight back and work a little harder and started to finally believe in themselves.”

The regional ends the Flashes’ season; however, coaches are excited to accompany Lenny to nationals. They are also looking forward to a new group of freshmen and seniors to help move the program forward during the next season.

“I expect that they learned some determination from this meet,” assistant coach Sharon Sabin said. “They are a very good core group that is going to come back and they can mold those freshmen and set those standards for the freshmen to fall right into place.”

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].