Top gymnast comes through on the beam

Marcus Barkley

Peters’ performance leads team past Ball State

A trip to Muncie, Ind., proved positive for the Kent State gymnastics team (3-1) Friday night. After a strong showing in all four events, the Flashes cruised to a 192.975-186.875 victory over still winless Ball State (0-3). The only struggle that the team seemed to face was against the judges.

“It was a tough meet because the judging was really bad, to say the least,” coach Brice Biggin said. “We just felt like it was us against everyone.”

With bad officiating aside, Biggin had nothing but positive things to say about the way his team came together to wrap up another conference win.

“(The team) did a great job of just working together,” Biggin said. “One person at a time, as a team.”

An area where the Flashes have struggled during the first two meets was the beam. The match on Friday broke that trend, as the team managed to finish in the top five spots in the event.

Senior Kristin Peters led the way on beam with a season high mark of 9.8. Peters’ win on beam, as well as her win on the uneven bars with a score of 9.75, was a crucial component in the team’s victory and a turning point this season for Peters.

“Tonight she was the Kristin Peters we know,” Biggin said. “(The coaching staff) had a heart -to-heart with her this week and after the results in the first two meets, she was bound and determined to score well on beam. She also had solid performances on vault and bars that were not necessarily rewarded.”

Freshman Christina Lenny, who won the Mid-American Conference specialist of the week last week, also had another strong meet, with her third victory in a row on the vault with a score of 9.725.

“We cannot be more happy with her (Lenny) continuing to step up,” Biggin said. “To be a freshman and to win the vault in her first three meets is phenomenal.”

Other strong performances included juniors Laci Hendress and Rachel Stuck, who split a victory on the floor routine with matching scores of 9.775. The Flashes’ depth, in Biggin’s eyes, is its strongest asset.

“Most teams have two or good three people and then drop off, but we feel we have very good depth,” Biggin said. “It is Peters scoring well one week and then it is (senior Jill) Kowalski the next and then Lenny and Hendress and Stuck stepping up.”

The strong victory over Ball State Friday gives the Flashes much needed momentum heading into a challenging task at home against Ohio State and conference opponent Bowling Green at the All-Ohio meet on Sunday. The win, making the Flashes 2-0 in conference play, also gets the team one step closer to the prize it most desires — a MAC title.

“Anytime you beat conference teams, it’s certainly a good step,” Biggin said. “One of the big goals is the regular season championship.”

Contact gymnastics reporter Marcus Barkley at [email protected].