Blue edges out Gold in gymnastics exhibition

Thomas Gallick

When the talc finally cleared Friday night in the Kent State Gymnastics Room at the M.A.C. Center, less than .4 of a point separated winner from loser in a wild finish.

Luckily, Kent State fans did not have to wait for the final tabulations to know the Flashes came out victorious in the annual Blue and Gold intrasquad exhibition, the unofficial first event of the season. Kent State-Blue defeated Kent State-Gold 154.700-154.350, after winning every event except the vault.

Senior Kristin Peters helped lead the gold squad to victory on the bars with a winning score of 9.950. Peters said the pre-season event, more than a month before the team’s first regular season competition, helps to show team members where they are at in their training.

“It shows us where we stand, and what we need to work on and improve, especially for the people who have not competed yet,” Peters said.

Freshman Christine Abou-Mitri won the individual title in the vault for Kent State-Gold, while senior Jill Kowalski finished first in the floor exercise for Kent State-Blue.

Four Flashes, two from each team, tied for first place in the individual beam competition. Freshman Christina Lenny and senior Amy Presan scored 9.700 for the blue team, while junior Laci Hendress and sophomore Brittany Kopp finished with the same score for the gold team.

Lenny also won the all-around competition with a score of 38.900 out of a possible 40.

Throughout the match, team members’ loud cheers overwhelmed all crowd noise whenever a fellow gymnast had the floor. Presan said vocally supporting team members is an important responsibility of teammates on the sidelines.

“Cheering is really important because gymnastics is really a team sport,” Presan said. “It helps motivate us and gets us pumped up.”

Coach Brice Biggin said he thinks this year’s team can be very successful but only if it keeps improving in practice.

“It’s still early, but we feel like if the team can keep progressing, we can be a very good team,” Biggin said. “We have more depth and talent than we’ve had for a number of years.”

Biggin said the team’s main goal, as always, is a MAC championship, especially because Kent State will host the event this year. He also said the team wants to reach the NCAA regionals.

Peters said achieving the goals set by her coach is certainly possible with the amount of talent on the team this year.

“We have high expectations and goals,” Peters said. “We have the skills, we just need consistency to qualify for regionals and place. We have the capability to do that.”

The gymnastics team will compete in its first regular season event when it travels to Pittsburgh to compete against the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State Jan. 11.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].