Gymnastics – the perfect Super Bowl pre-game

Marcus Barkley

The Kent State gymnastics team (3-1) would like to give the campus a message on what to do with its Sunday afternoon before watching the big game.

“The Super Bowl obviously starts later and we’re having the meet at 2 p.m.,” senior Kristin Peters said. “So we should be the preshow for the Super Bowl.”

The Flashes have gotten off to a strong start this season with convincing wins against Pittsburgh, Northern Illinois and Ball State. Going into the All-Ohio meet against Ohio State (2-1) and Bowling Green (2-1) at home Sunday, the team feels confident in its abilities to take on another conference opponent and a school with the reputation of Ohio State.

“We’re just as good as these teams,” junior Laci Hendress said. “As long as we do what we do in practice, we can beat an Ohio State – it’s not a hard thing to do.”

Another factor that is giving the team some extra momentum is its performance last year at the All-Ohio, where the Flashes placed second with a score of 195.325.

“Last year, we had probably our best meet at the All-Ohio,” junior Rachel Stuck said. “We all came together and we all hit routines.”

The Flashes had a very strong showing against Ball State in Indiana last week, beating the Cardinals 192.975-186.875.

“It was a really good confidence booster,” Peters said. “The scores were low, but we pulled together as a team and that’s really going to help us going into the big meet this weekend.”

Possibly the most exciting statistic of the match against Ball State, aside from the final score, was the Flashes marks on the beam. After experiencing many falls in the previous meets, the Flashes came together and took the top five spots in the event.

“Once you have one fall, it’s not supposed to get you down, but it kind of brings down the level of the team,” Hendress said. “So when (the team) falls and gets back up and they start to make-make-make, it just helps the whole atmosphere stay positive and the attitude stay up and it makes it easier to hit routines.”

Going against Ohio State in any sport is not an easy task, and it is no exception in gymnastics. But the Flashes all-time record against the Buckeyes is 32-20. This .615 winning percentage all-time does not take anything away from the level of competition that Ohio State will bring to the M.A.C. Center on Sunday.

“Ohio State is such a big name school,” Stuck said. “To go and beat them would be a really big accomplishment.”

The team is not quick to disregard Bowling Green either. The Flashes swept the Falcons in two meets last year, winning one at the M.A.C. Center and one in Bowling Green. Coach Brice

Biggin has made sure to not allow the girls to lose sight that Sunday’s meet is a dual one and takes two victories to win.

“You can’t take any team easy,” Peters said. “Obviously Ohio State is bigger competition for us, but we still have to take Bowling Green as well.”

Contact gymnastics reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].