Gymnastics meet more than balance

Marcus Barkley

Both teams in pink leotards for breast cancer research

The Kent State gymnastics team (8-3) will face Bowling Green University (7-4) for a second time at the M.A.C. Center, 7 p.m. tonight.

Not only is this meet an important conference competition, it is also the gymnastics event to fight breast cancer. Senior Kristin Peters said this meet means a lot, both to the members of the team and to the sport as a whole.

“It’s a great feeling because we’re raising money for a great cause that obviously deals mainly with women and women’s sports,” Peters said. “It’s good for the university, our team and the whole athletic department.”

This is the first time the gymnastics team is putting together an event to combat breast cancer. Both teams will wear pink leotards during competition, a sign of solidarity in competition. The Flashes will also sell paper ribbons to the crowd to raise money for breast cancer. T-shirts will be available for $5, and the proceeds will go toward breast cancer research. There will also be a segment during the meet where area breast cancer survivors will be honored. Senior Amy Presan said that, as a senior, it is great that she can compete for a cause.

“We’ve never really done something like this before, and I’m really excited and I know my whole team is excited,” Presan said. “It’s cool that it’s my senior year, and I’m just really glad that we’re doing it now.”

The Flashes are on a five-meet winning streak at home that stretches back to last season. Assistant coach Kurt Hettinger said that competing at home, especially after two weeks on the road, allows the team to be more comfortable and focused on victory.

“I’m hoping that the girls are a little more relaxed,” Hettinger said. “It’s always nice to be at home with familiar surroundings and equipment, and I think that they are really looking forward to this meet.”

One of the team’s home victories this season came against Bowling Green at the All-Ohio meet on Feb. 3, where the Flashes defeated the Falcons and Ohio State.

Hettinger said the team will need to correct errors from last week’s shaky performance.

“I think the girls are looking forward to remedying the mistakes from last week,” Hettinger said. “We want to make a statement against Bowling Green and come out and show the type of routines and the kind of gymnastics we know we’re capable of.”

The Flashes are coming off of a hard-fought victory at Central Michigan last Saturday. The team swept all four events but could not secure any individual event wins in the 194.625-192.175 victory.

Two big reasons for the difficult meet were ailments suffered by two of the team’s senior leaders that impeded their level of performance.

Amy Presan suffered throughout the weekend trip from a fever that climbed to over 100 degrees. Even in her weakened state, Presan was able to compete and put up competitive scores in beam and bars.

“I think the reason (Kristin Peters and I) didn’t sit out because we know that we were capable of competing and doing the job we can do, even if we’re injured,” Presan said. “I knew I could do a good beam routine and a good bar routine even if I was sick, and I knew my team needed me.”

Freshman Felice Feugill, who has been an integral fill-in for the team because of numerous injuries and other ailments, said that the team needs to focus on its own performance before worrying about the incoming Falcons.

“It doesn’t matter who the competition is, we always have to compete against ourselves,” Feugill said. “Thinking about what (Bowling Green) is doing isn’t going to make us any better.”

Contact Gymnastics Reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].