Mayle is big-deal gymnast despite her tiny stature

Amanda Vasil

When senior gymnast Carrie Mayle walked onto her first college mats, her personality reflected her size.

“Carrie (Mayle) came in very quiet, barely saying ‘boo,'” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “It’s very hard to be intimidating at 4-foot 11-inches.”

Despite her height, Mayle has made her presence felt on the team as an all-around gymnast for the past three seasons. Last year, she grabbed eight top-three finishes in the all-around with two first place finishes and recorded a 9.8 score or better in four meets.

Although it is a rarity to see a gymnast compete at that level for as many years as she has, Mayle said it’s nothing she didn’t already anticipate coming to Kent State.

“If I wasn’t an all-around gymnast, then it would be a big deal to me,” she said. “I didn’t expect to come here and do anything else.”

While Mayle is now in a position to be a leader as the only senior on the team, Biggin said she’s been acting as a leader by example since her freshman year. Over the years, Mayle has observed the upperclassmen’s qualities and now has an opportunity to blend them with her own work ethic and positive attitude.

“She sets a good example and has really evolved as a gymnast,” Biggin said. “She’s a kid who listens well, and you can tell she wants to be a good gymnast.”

Besides being a strong contender in the all-around, Mayle has also pulled high scores on the vault event. Currently, she is the only gymnast on the team to begin each routine at the 10-point level and has taken home first and second place finishes on it this season.

While being a senior leader weighs heavily on Mayle’s mind, it isn’t the only challenge she faces this season.

During the summer, a new scoring system was mandated for both private club and college-level gymnastics in an attempt to distinguish top-ranked schools and gymnasts. The result of this change has taken a toll on the Flashes as their scores have seen significant drops. In some cases, scores have dropped as much as .6 of a point, which can drastically alter a meet’s result.

The new system is toughest on seniors in the program because they have worked so hard to get themselves where they are with their form and technique. While some gymnasts have been majorly affected, Biggin doesn’t see it being as much as a struggle for Mayle.

“Luckily for Carrie (Mayle), she has been able to make the needed changes,” he said. “That’s the type of leader she is. There’s no feeling sorry for herself.”

Ultimately, Mayle said she is looking to continue to compete the same way she has since her freshman year. The team has gone to the regional tournament every year, so it would be a disappointment to Mayle if they didn’t make the cut this season. She said she is also working to qualify for the NCAA National Tournament in April.

“I just want to finish the home meets and do my absolute best,” Mayle said. “As long as I did what I could, I’ll be satisfied with that.”

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