Gymnastics team wants to improve at first home meet

Pamela Crimbchin

Alumni, friends and family will join the Kent State gymnastics team in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the gymnastics program tonight against Ball State in the team’s first home meet of the season. The meet will start at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

“We are expecting a very good crowd being an alumni game and the 50 year of gymnastics celebration meet,” assistant coach Thomas Ward said. “So we’re expecting a lot of alumni and a good crowd from the Kent State student body too.”

The team competed last Friday in Ann Arbor, Mich., against No. 8 Michigan and No. 25 North Carolina State, taking second place overall.

The last time the Flashes met the Cardinals, in 2008, Kent State came home with a win in all four events with a total score of 192.975 to Ball State’s 186.875.

Kent State graduate Kristin Peters led the team by winning first place in both bars and beam. Sophomore Christina Lenny and seniors Rachel Stuck and Laci Hendress also placed first in the last meet against Ball State. Lenny won vault, and Stuck and Hendress tied to win floor.

This year, Kent State coach Brice Biggin is looking less for a win and more for the women to move forward as a group.

“The big thing that we’re looking at is taking some steps in the right direction as a team ourselves,” Biggin said. “We want to be able to go out and to keep working on improving our routines and trying to be a little more consistent.”

Tonight’s meet will be the first time that sophomore Eastern Michigan transfer Danielle Durbin and many freshmen will perform on their home turf.

“I think we are all really pretty excited,” freshman Rachel Goldenberg said. “We have had two meets so far, but it should be really different and a lot more exciting for us with more energy from the home crowd and everything.”

Goldenberg will also be competing in her first floor event, as well as her usual vault event.

Freshman Erin Rothrock agreed with Biggin that the gymnasts need to focus more on the team as a unit for the meet against Ball State.

“(We’ll be) trying to raise our team’s score and definitely focus more on the little parts of our routine because we did well last week,” Rothrock said.

Even though the Flashes are looking to improve themselves as a team rather than working for a win, freshman Brianna Skiffington admitted winning in front of their home team would still be a thrill.

“We keep telling everyone, ‘Come to our home meet Friday!’ trying to get as many people as we can,” Skiffington said.

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].