Gymnastics continues to set season-high scores despite first consecutive losses of the season

Rachel+DeCavitch+gracefully+ascends+the+balance+beam+to+start+off+her+routine+during+the+gymnastics+meet+against+Rutgers+and+Cornell+University+on+Jan.+28%2C+2022.

Matthew Brown

Rachel DeCavitch gracefully ascends the balance beam to start off her routine during the gymnastics meet against Rutgers and Cornell University on Jan. 28, 2022.

Isabella Schreck Reporter

The Kent State gymnastics team reached season bests in three events Friday and for the second consecutive meet topped its highest score of the year.

Despite the big numbers, the Flashes fell short of a win again.

KSU took second at the Rutgers Quad Friday, earning a 196.200 to No. 17 Iowa’s 196.425. Rutgers, which Kent previously beat on Jan. 28, placed third with 195.950, and Ursinus fourth at 185.400.

“We went into this knowing we were going to be against some really good competition,” coach Brice Biggin said. “We’re really taking care of some of those little issues and working on our weaknesses. As we continue to iron out those weaknesses, it’s going to make us that much better.”

The Flashes had posted their highest score of the season in their previous meet Sunday with 195.600 but still came in second place to George Washington at the George Washington Quad.

KSU is now 9-2 overall and remains tied for first in the Mid-American Conference with Western Michigan at 3-0. Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan are third at 1-1. 

Kent State only won one event Friday. 

KSU took first on bars with a season-high 49.150. Sophomores Kennedy Weinpert and Sarah Haxton tied for first with Rutgers’ Avery Balser, scoring 9.875. Rutgers came in second at 48.975. 

The Flashes earned their highest vault score of the season with 48.975 but took second to Iowa’s 49.100. Junior Rachel DeCavitch, who placed second in the all-around, had the highest score for Kent State with a season-high 9.825. Sophomore Kyndall Gilbert also scored 9.825.

Biggin attributes the consistent improvement to the team’s focus during practice.

“We talk a lot about putting the time into doing the right things at the right time and trusting how we practice,” Biggin said. “If we can trust in how we practice then we can trust in how we perform.”

Despite scoring a season-best 48.950, KSU placed third on beam. This was the team’s lowest score of the meet. Seniors Samantha Henry and Riley Danielson led the Flashes with 9.850, a career-high match for Danielson.

While facing the tough competition, Biggin said the team went out “relaxed and confident.”

“We were extremely pleased that they went out there and focused on themselves,” Biggin said. “We wanted to see how they stepped up against that competition and the way they handled themselves.”

Kent State also came in third on floor, scoring 49.125, its second-best score in the event this year. The Flashes posted their highest total on floor this season with 49.475 Jan. 28 against Cornell and Rutgers. 

Freshman Grace Wehry scored the highest for KSU with 9.875, matching a career-high. 

Iowa, who ranks sixth nationally on floor, won the event at 49.400, its second highest score on floor this season. Kent State ranks 21st. 

Junior JerQuavia Henderson, who won the all-around for the Hawkeyes, took first with 9.950. 

Aiming towards more first-place finishes and a championship win, Biggin said the Flashes are looking to improve on their dismounting in each event.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working on sticking dismounts because most of the time, meets come down to a tenth or two-tenths of a point,” Biggin said. “We’re starting to see that pay off. A tenth at the end of the routine doesn’t seem like a lot when it’s just one person, but when you add five people together, that really makes a huge difference.”

KSU competes against Bowling Green, 0-8 overall and last place in the MAC, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center.

“We love competing at home, and the atmosphere is something the girls really feed off of,” Biggin said. “We’ve been really focused on what we need to do, and the goal is to go out and score another 196.000”

Isabella Schreck is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]