Gymnastics wins first home meet of season

Pamela Crimbchin

The Kent State gymnastics team might have won all four events on paper against Ball State Friday night, but not in the eyes of coach Brice Biggin.

“We came here to do four events and we didn’t do four events,” Biggin said. “We did great on vault, we did very good on bars (and) we did very good on floor, but beam let us down tonight and it let us down big.”

The team started off strong on vault, with junior Lydia Barrett and sophomore Christina Lenny tying for first with a score of 9.900.

“I feel good about (the meet) except for beam,” Barrett said. “We’ve done a good job stepping up every weekend, so we’re getting better, but still not our best.”

Ball State also started off on a high note on bars, with Cardinals’ senior Teresa Phipps tying for first with Kent State sophomore Christine Abou-Mitri with a score of 9.800.

The Cardinals stayed close through the second rotation while they were on vault and the Flashes were on bars. Through the second rotation, Kent State led 97.850-96.950.

“When our girls started off, we held our own and did really well for us in the first two events,” Ball State coach Nadalie Walsh said.

It was during the third rotation that both teams seemed to fall – literally. Four out of the six Kent State gymnasts had falls off the beam.

“Unfortunately, we lost a four point on beam and that hurts our regional qualifying score,” Biggin said. “If we continue to do that, we’re going to give ourselves a chance of not making it.”

Lenny was the last competitor on beam and did not let her teammates’ faults get to her. She was able to pull it together to win first place on beam with a score of 9.875, helping the Flashes win beam overall with a score of 47.750 to Ball State’s 47.300.

“I wasn’t nervous, but I kind of had it in the back of my head: ‘You know you need to do this for the team. You need to do your best,'” Lenny said. “But I just try to go out and do what I do every day in practice and just relax and give it my all.”

Ball State was on floor for the third rotation and did not land its routine as well as Walsh would have liked.

“We did not do well on floor,” Walsh said. “One of our girls hit their floor routine well, and then the rest, they just didn’t.”

Both teams were able to recover from their disappointing performance during the fourth rotation and bring more energy and excitement to the floor.

Lenny earned her first ever all-around first place in her college career with a score of 39.350, beating Phipps and Abou-Mitri.

“It was really exciting,” Lenny said. “I’ve been worked really hard and I just want to help out the team as much as I can. Winning is just extra.”

While the women on Kent State’s gymnastics team were excited and thrilled to win their first home meet in front of fans, friends and alumni, they know they have a lot more meets and a lot more work ahead of them.

“They’re practicing (at) 7 Sunday morning,” Biggin said. “So they will be in here bright and early, and they are going to work on fixing (beam).”

Contact sports reporter Pamela Crimbchin

at [email protected].