Intra-Squad meet preps gymnastics for January opener

Steven Voicik

Gold team beats Blue in annual scrimmage

Gymnasts show off their acrobatic prowess at the M.A.C. Center. The stands were packed with fans watching the Kent State gymnastics team twist and flip through the air. DAVID ANTHONY RANUCCI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

While the winds howled and temperatures dropped dramatically outdoors in Kent on Friday, the Kent State gymnastics team warmed up fans inside the M.A.C. Center.

The team showcased their talents and routines for the upcoming 2007 season in the annual Blue and Gold Intra-Squad Meet.

The girls were divided into two teams and competed in four rotations of events, including the vault, bars, beam and floor routine. All-Mid-American Conference honoree and tri-captain junior Jill Kowalski led the gold team to victory over the blue squad with a score of 118.05 to 116.65.

Kowalski excelled in the exhibition as she earned four first-place crowns, and earned the all-around title with a total of 39.5 points. Junior Amy Presan finished second in the exhibition, while sophomore Stacey Kalberg grabbed third place, totaling 38.625.

Coach Brice Biggin liked the idea of the early-season scrimmage.

“This event gave the girls a little more competition and a little more pressure performing in front of the large crowd and judges,” he said. “The event acted as a sort of wake-up call for the girls and it was a good gauge for the coaches to see what we need to improve before the season starts.”

The team excelled in the vault and beam competitions. Kowlaski finished with a 9.975 in the vault while Kalberg received a near perfect 9.9 mark.

As for the beam, the Flashes had five girls with a 9.7 rating or better in the event. On the bars, senior captain Julie Huynh excited teammates and the crowd with her terrific performance, as she earned a 9.85 rating.

Despite the positive results, Biggin said the team still needs to improve and develop more confidence.

“We had some mistakes on the beam and with our floor tumbling, but the girls just need to remain confident in themselves during their routines, and maintain their endurance,” Biggin said.

The Flashes had a successful 2006 campaign, and were co-MAC champions in the regular season. The team returns nine letter winners from last season, only losing one athlete from last year’s squad, and has a good mix of youth and experience. Biggin expects the freshman class to step up for the team.

“The freshman class has good ability and will add tremendous depth to the team and will fight for the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the lineup,” Biggin said.

The team has a long layoff until its next event, when they open the regular season Jan. 12 at home against Western Michigan.

Contact sports reporter Steven Voicik at [email protected].

Next meet

• Friday, January 12 vs. Central Michigan 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center