Building a team, one state at a time

Marcus Barkley

Even though the Kent State gymnastics program loves to see in-state talent don the blue and gold, the coaches know they need to look across the nation to build a successful squad.

On the 22-member team, 12 gymnasts hail from beyond the Buckeye state. This geographic diversity is something assistant coach Kurt Hettinger said is vital for creating a competitive program.

“It’s always interesting to see when kids come from far away and see snow- I mean, really see snow.”

Seeing snow is something senior Amy Presan, who comes from the farthest distance in Scottsdale, Ariz., was excited about.

“I’m so used to the dry heat and we don’t get four seasons in Arizona, so I really like that here,” Presan said. “I had so much fun the first time I experienced snow – I just went out and played in it all day.”

Along with Presan, there are three gymnasts from Pennsylvania, one from Michigan, one from New York, one from Indiana, two from Illinois and three from Florida.

Freshman Felice Feugill is one of the gymnasts from Florida. She heard about Kent State because her sister, Earline Feugill, was a Kent State gymnast from 2001-2005.

Feugill said it has been an interesting transition to life at Kent State.

“I feel I’ve adapted to it pretty well,” Feugill said. “Sometimes, the other girls make fun of me because I don’t dress right, but I’m getting used to it.”

Junior Stacey Kalberg, who hails from Naperville, Ill., said the team has become her second family.

“The girls have really helped me and the coaches are always willing to talk,” Kalberg said. “They’re there if you need anything, like going to a girl’s house so their parents can make you dinner if you’re homesick.”

Hettinger and senior Jill Kowalski also call Illinois home. Hettinger said it’s fun to have gymnasts on the team from his home state.

“I’m extremely familiar with where the girls are from in Illinois,” Hettinger said. “We always throw up a little hand symbol to represent Illinois.”

Contact gymnastics reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].