Gymnastics takes second place at meet in Denver

Pamela Crimbchin

Despite taking second, coach says team needs to get better

The Kent State gymnastics team hit all of its routines during a pressure set at practice last week, but when faced with the same scenario in its meet this weekend, the Flashes left their coach with a lot to be desired.

“We really need to get tougher,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “Our athletes are not competing very tough, and the bottom line is, you need to be tough when you get out there.”

The team took second place with a score of 193.600 at Colorado Club Night in Denver on Saturday night, losing to No. 22 Denver (195.300) and beating Alaska-Anchorage (186.775) and Winona State (183.350).

“I mean, we realistically should have beat those teams (Alaska-Anchorage and Winona State),” Biggin said. “But we also should have been able to give Denver more of a run for their money.”

The Flashes had their second-highest score of the season Saturday night, but Biggin knows the team is capable of so much more.

“We’re just having kids choke on events that we’ve seen they are capable of taking,” Biggin said. “And you can’t put it any other way. They’re choking.”

Kent State struggled in its previous meet against Ball State to stay on top of the beam, so the team practiced the event hard during practice leading up to Saturday night’s meet. However, three out of the six gymnasts still fell.

I mean, that’s three of our kids,” Biggin said. “You can’t score when you’ve got kids who go up and fall.”

Junior Carly Conroy stepped up this week on beam, helping out her team with a score of 9.825.

“She went out and did a great routine,” Biggin said. “She showed the rest of the girls up, and then our second kid went up and fell.”

The women’s floor performances also struggled this week. Junior Lydia Barrett and senior Rachel Stuck tied with Denver sophomore Kristina Coccia for fifth place with a score of 9.700.

Sophomore Christina Lenny helped the Flashes hold their own against the Pioneers during vault. Lenny tied for second with Denver junior Kelley Hennigan on the event with a score of 9.875.

Sophomore Christine Abou-Mitri tied for third with Denver sophomore Annamari Maaranen on bars with a score of 9.775.

With sophomores and juniors leading the team on all four events, Biggin said he was disappointed in his seniors and freshmen.

“Our freshmen and seniors have been our trouble stop all year long,” Biggin said. “And they’re not going to like me saying that, but it’s the truth.”

Overall, Biggin said while he considered the trip to Denver a “great opportunity” for the Flashes, he believes the team needs to get better as the season goes on.

“We are just struggling with some of our kids being able to hit routines who certainly are capable of hitting them,” Biggin said.

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].