Flashes defeat conference rivals

Amanda Vasil

Junior gymnast Amy Cucinotta does a backflip on the floor beam at the meet yesterday against Eastern Michigan. The Flashes beat the Eagles 195.775 to 193.825. Kent State will host Bowling Green on Friday at 7 p.m. ARIANE R. CAVIN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

For sophomore gymnast Kristin Peters, there is only one thing more exciting than defeating Eastern Michigan yesterday – defeating Central Michigan two days before.

“It feels like you just won a championship,” she said. “It was the greatest feeling to beat (Central Michigan) at their house. It was awesome.”

The Kent State gymnastics team (4-3, 3-1, Mid-American Conference) began its two-meet weekend besting conference rival Central Michigan (4-6, 2-3 MAC) 193.125-192.050.

Going into the meet against Eastern Michigan (3-6, 3-2 MAC) yesterday, Biggin said the team had high spirits and a focus he was somewhat surprised to see.

“I was little worried about the team being wrapped up in that win, but they came in with a great attitude and seemed very calm,” Biggin said. “That’s always a good to see.”

The Flashes defeated the Eagles 195.775-193.825 in their first home meet of the season. Kent State took three of the four events, dominating the uneven bars in the top four placements.

Senior Carrie Mayle led the Flashes once again with her personal-best and first place finish in the all-around competition with a score of 39.400. She also grabbed a second place finish on the vault with 9.875 points, third on the bars with a 9.800, first on the floor with a 9.900 and three-way tie for first on the beam with a 9.825.

“(Mayle) had a great weekend,” Biggin said. “She’s struggled a bit this season, but pulled it together and took the all-around Friday and (yesterday).”

Junior Amy Cucinotta contributed to the win with her first place finish on the beam with a mark of 9.825 and fourth place finish on the floor with a 9.800.

On the bars, Peters took first, scoring 9.900 followed by junior Shawntelle Thompson and freshman Stacey Kalberg tying for fourth place with Eastern Michigan’s Jolene Worley with scores of 9.750. Peters also finished fourth on the beam with 9.800 points.

Ultimately, Biggin said the win came from a collective effort of the team, not any one individual.

“We worked hard together as a team,” Biggin said. “We don’t have any superstars here. Each person performed to their best.”

As the first home meet of four to finish out the regular season, Biggin said the gymnasts weren’t the only people to contribute to the win.

“The home crowd means so much for our motivation,” he said. “When they’re up there cheering and yelling, it really makes us feel proud.”

Friday, Mayle placed first in the all-around competition recording a personal-best with a score of 39.000. In a three-way tie with Cuciotta and Central’s Mattie Crawford, Mayle also finished first in the floor exercise, scoring 9.825.

Also leading the Flashes was Peters, who finished first on the balance beam with a score of 9.825 and third on the uneven bars with a score of 9.725. Sophomore Amy Presan placed third on the beam with a mark of 9.725.

Peters said the Flashes were able to come together during practice to stick routines and build confidence going into the meet against the Chippewas.

“Anytime you beat Central, it’s just a great feeling,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said. “Wins like that will do our team a world of good.”

The Flashes will continue their home-meet run against Bowling Green at 7 p.m. Friday at the M.A.C. Center.

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