Gymnastics nears regionals with win

Pamela Crimbchin

Biggin earns 150th victory as coach

VIEW photos from the meet.

The Kent State gymnastics team moved one step closer to regionals after beating Southeast Missouri State 196.025-194.075 Friday night at the M.A.C. Center.

“I am really, really pleased and very, very proud of the girls,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “They’ve worked so hard this year.”

Assistant coach Thomas Ward said Kent State’s score should move the team into the top 25 in the nation, but that won’t be confirmed until the NCAA releases its rankings today.

The win Friday was also the Flashes’ 10th consecutive win at home and Biggin’s 150th career victory.

“I was surprised,” Biggin said. “I didn’t know about it, but I guess it means I’ve been around a long time and we’ve had some good teams.”

The team placed first in all four events, starting with vault. Junior Lydia Barrett earned a career high of 9.925 and first place, with sophomore Christina Lenny taking second at 9.850. Junior Brittany Kopp and sophomore Christine Abou-Mitri tied for third with a score of 9.825.

Abou-Mitri has one of the more difficult bar routines for Kent State and has been working hard to perfect the event and improve her score. While Abou-Mitri received first on bars with a score of 9.825, she said she can still get better.

“Getting a 9.825 is really exciting on bars,” Abou-Mitri said. “But there is always something, and I just didn’t quite do it again.”

Seniors Laci Hendress and Stacey Kalberg followed Abou-Mirtri, tying for second with a score of 9.775. This helped Kent State finish the second rotation with a 98.000- 97.350 lead.

Kent State has struggled on beam this season, but Friday’s beam score of 48.675 finally showed the coaches that the gymnasts can perform up the standards they set.

“This is the type of team we saw in them at the beginning of the year,” Biggin said. “Now that they are starting to put it together, I think they are starting to understand how good of a team they have the potential to be as well.”

Lenny took first on beam with a score of 9.850, followed by freshman Jaimee Caldwell at 9.775. Southeast Missouri State senior Sandra Blake took home third with a score of 9.725.

Kent State gymnasts Barrett, Hendress and senior Rachel Stuck ended the meet on a high note when the three tied for first on floor with a score of 9.900.

“Floor was kind of the showcase of the meet I think,” Ward said.

This is the second time this season Kent State achieved a score above a 196 in a meet. To score so high, the gymnasts must average 9.8 on each event, a score hard to achieve in gymnastics and even harder to keep through the team.

“It’s awesome for us because it just proves to everyone that we weren’t just lucky one day – that’s just the kind of team we are,” Barrett said.

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].