Gymnastics tumbles back in Alabama

Kali Price

Season ends at Central Regional Championships

The Kent State gymnastics team finished out the 2005 season with a fifth place finish at the NCAA Central Regionals Saturday.

The Flashes (18-11, 11-2 MAC) took fifth place with a team score of 192.5. It was the squad’s lowest score of the season since a 188.475 on Jan. 21 meet against No. 10 Oklahoma.

Going into the meet, the Flashes were ranked sixth among their competition. Although the team faced some of the top-ranked teams in the country, they trailed the fourth place Kentucky by 0.825 points.

“It wasn’t our best meet,” Kent State coach Brice Biggin said, “but just qualifying was an accomplishment.”

No. 4 Alabama, who also hosted the meet, took the top spot with a 196.675 followed by No. 9 Iowa State’s 195.625. No. 21 Auburn finished third with a 194.8 score and No. 23 Kentucky finished fourth, scoring 193.325. No. 16 Utah State scored 192.375, placing last.

Alabama now advances to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Championships.

“Fifth doesn’t sound real good,” Biggin said, “but when you look at the competition that was there, we were still able to knock off a team (Utah State) that was ranked 16th in the nation.”

The night started off on the floor exercise without top floor performer, freshman Phylicia Robertson.

“It’s tough to start out on that event,” Biggin said. “We had to replace Phylicia’s routine, and we were not able to start off really well.”

Robertson won her fifth floor title during the MAC Championships scoring a 9.9. During the MAC Championships, Robertson partially tore a ligament in her knee, and no other team member was able even come close to topping Robertson’s Mar. 25 performance on Saturday.

The Flashes were able to come back in their last two rotations, the uneven bars and the balance beam, to place gymnasts in the top five spots.

“We did a great job on bars and a phenomenal job on beam,” Biggin said. “We showed a lot of character in rebounding the way we did.”

Senior April Zentko tied for third on the beam, scoring 9.85. Junior Carrie Mayle scored a 9.8 on the beam and tied for fifth place.

Mayle’s 38.4 all-around score made her the No. 13 all-around gymnast of the night.

On the bars, senior Erika Linnersten tied for fourth by scoring 9.75 followed the 9.725 of freshmen Kristin Peters and Amy Presan.

Linnersten was battling a sprained ankle but was still able to compete in her last meet at Kent State.

“Erika did amazingly well,” Biggin said. “She’s been able to really come through and be a great leader.”

After a season of injuries, the murder of Sarah Positano and a MAC title, the Flashes now have next season to look forward to.

“I’m extremely proud,” Biggin said. “(This season) probably means more to me than anything I’ve ever been around.”

Contact gymnastics reporter Kali Price at [email protected].