Season-best score pushes team over rivals

Pamela Crimbchin

Gymnasts beat Maryland, CMU in Flip for the Cure

Pink leotards, pink ribbons, pink T-shirts and even pink body-painted people surrounded the Kent State gymnasts during their strongest meet and win of the season.

Kent State won Flip for the Cure yesterday at the M.A.C. Center with a season-high score of 196.150, beating Central Michigan’s score of 194.700 and Maryland’s score of 194.375.

“You hate to say that coaches don’t have a lot to complain about,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “But right now, I guess I don’t have a whole lot to complain about.”

The Flashes started the rivalry meet on vault. Junior Lydia Barrett earned a score of 9.900, leading her to tie for second with Terrapin freshman Kyra Phillips. Chippewa junior Katie Simon won vault with a score of 9.925.

Star of the meet:

Lydia Barrett– Barrett was last week’s Mid-American Conference Specialist of the Week and after winning floor with a score of 9.875, receiving second on vault with a score of 9.900 and scoring 9.800 on bars in yesterday’s meet, she is the star of the meet.

“Lydia has been solid for us all year,” Biggin said. “She’s a kid that we can put up and we feel confident anytime that she’s going to go out and hit a great routine.”

Barrett started Kent State on bars for the second rotation, earning a 9.800. Senior Stacey Kalberg, who had a strong meet last weekend against Bowling Green, earned a second-place tie on bars with Central Michigan senior Vanessa Rodriguez with a score of 9.825. Simon of Central Michigan continued her winning streak, placing first with a score of 9.875.

This season Kent State has been struggling on beam to hit all six routines without counting a fall, even though coaches and gymnasts said the team is capable. After a major improvement at Bowling Green and pressure sets during practice, the Flashes were able to achieve their goal and more.

“We hit all four (events),” assistant coach Sharon Sabin said. “That’s what our team is capable of, what we did tonight.”

Kent State won beam with a sore of 48.775 to Central Michigan’s 48.050 and Maryland’s 47.850. Leading the Flashes were sophomores Christine Abou-Mitri and Christina Lenny, who tied for first with Central Michigan junior Jessica Suder with the score of 9.800.

At the start of the third rotation Kent State was in first place with a score of 146.950, followed by Central Michigan in second with 145.725 and Maryland in third with 145.575.

Floor is usually a crowd favorite, as well as gymnasts. Sunday’s meet with its 1,108 attendees brought out the true power and strength of the Kent State gymnastics, who swept the top three placings.

Kent State junior Samantha Heydlauff, usually an exhibitioner on floor, stepped up to take the place of Lenny who was held out of last week’s competition due to injury, placing third overall with a score of 9.825.

“It’s my favorite event,” Heydlauff said. “So I really like to go out and show it off and everything.”

Barrett tied for first on floor with senior Rachel Stuck with a score of 9.875.

“That’s the Rachel Stuck that we’ve been waiting for,” Biggin said. “It was really good to see her go out, be herself and look like she was calm and confident.”

Abou- Mitri earned another all-around win with the score of 39.225, with Maryland sophomore Abbey Adams coming in second with a score of 39.125.

“I worked my butt off and I showed them that,” Abou-Mitri said. “You know, they’re second and third.”

The Kent State gymnasts came together not only for a tremendous victory but for a cause, which Stuck used to help her in her best meet of the season.

Stuck’s mother, Donalee Stuck, is a one year survivor of breast cancer and was able to cheer her daughter to victory from the stands.

“It’s nice to see the other survivors here,” Stuck said. “And it’s a really nice benefit and really great to see everybody dressed up in pink.”

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].