Flashes end season at Central Regionals

Amanda Vasil

After a month of back injuries limiting practices and meet routines, senior gymnast Carrie Mayle ended her career by placing 17th at the NCAA Central Regional Championships.

“She has been gutsy this entire last month,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “It’s kind of inspirational when you see a kid give that much and put in that much. She followed through and did a very respectable job, not only on the events she did well on, but on the floor (exercise) as well.”

Through tears, Mayle represented Kent State in the all-around competition alongside teammate Jill Kowalski.

Mayle, who traveled the rotations with Louisiana State, started strong on the first few events, landing a 9.650 on the vault. She went on to score a 9.600 on the uneven bars and 9.625 on the balance beam.

But the floor exercise proved to be too much for her back to handle, as she fell during her routine, resulting in a score of 9.200. Mayle finished the meet with a composite score of 38.075.

“The kid’s been in pain for a month,” Biggin said. “We were pretty disappointed with her vault score because she was on the first rotation. But for her to go through it, you see her determination. You can’t fault her at all.”

Kowalski finished behind Mayle for 18th place in the all-around competition, scoring 37.875. On an event the Flashes have struggled with the past few meets, Kowalski finished on the balance beam with a 9.650 in her first rotation.

She then went on to record a career-high floor exercise score of 9.825, placing her at No. 11 in the event competition.

Kowalski’s final events were not as strong as her first two. On the vault, she fell victim to tough judges and three large steps in her dismount, resulting in a score of 9.300, Biggin said.

After falling on the uneven bars, she finished the meet with a 9.100.

“Jill started on beam, which is a tough event,” Biggin said. “She also hit the best floor routine all year. She was aggressive all day and went there and did a good job. Certainly we’re not disappointed at all.”

Sophomore Kristin Peters represented Kent State as an uneven bar specialist and competed in the first rotation of the day. Her score of 9.725 landed her in a tie for No. 20 in the event.

The nationally ranked No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners finished first in the competition with a composite score of 196.375, while the No. 7 nationally ranked Louisiana State Tigers finished behind them with 195.825. Both teams will advance to the NCAA National Championship.

Biggin said he was pleased with the effort and determination the three gymnasts put forth in the competition.

After the team takes a few days off to relax, it will be back in the gym in open workouts through the end of the semester.

Contact assistant sports editor and gymnastics reporter Amanda Vasil at [email protected].