Freshman Alyssa Guns, with highest score on floor exercise in 4 years, leads gymnastics to 3rd straight win


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

Competing in the first meet of her college career, Kent State freshman Alyssa Guns was nearly perfect.

Guns took first place in the floor routine with a 9.975, the highest floor score from the Kent State gymnastics team since Rachel Stypinski in February 2018. Guns earned a maximum 10 from one of the two judges. 

“When the one judge flashed a 10, I was just in awe,” Guns said. “ It was amazing, and with my teammates around me, it was a great feeling.”

KSU defeated Cornell and Rutgers Friday with a score of 195.550, the team’s highest so far this season. Rutgers scored 195.175, and Cornell scored 191.400. The Flashes are now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

Guns had performed an exhibition routine on the floor that didn’t count in KSU’s scoring in the team’s two previous meets.

“She did a really good routine last weekend, but we told her she had to start practicing better,” coach Brice Biggin said. “She listened and had a great week of practice. She really is a beautiful tumbler and dancer and to watch her go 9.975 was stunning.”

Guns described her Friday performance as a “confidence boost.”

“I’m just going to keep doing the gymnastics I know how to do,” Guns said. “And hopefully we go up from there.”

For the second straight week, a strong floor routine won the meet for the Flashes.

KSU was down .275 to Rutgers after three events. 

Kent State won the floor with 49.475, the Flashes’ highest score for the event since a 2016 meet also against Cornell.

“We needed to do that,” Biggin said. “We had a talk before floor, and I told them ‘You’ve got to use your heart. You have to do routines like you have never done them before.’ We’re seeing a more focused, more determined never-give-up team. We keep saying that the meet’s never done until the last routine, and that certainly was true.”

Kent State took the top three places on floor. Junior Olivia Amodei was second with a career-high 9.925 and junior Karlie Franz took third at 9.900, equaling her career high. 

Biggin said Amodei, the team’s lead-off floor performer, “set the stage” for the rest of the event.

“The first routine is so important,” Biggin said. “We know what she’s capable of doing. She’s very clean and pretty to watch.”

Kent placed second to Rutgers on vault with 48.650. Sophomore Kyndall Gilbert, who led the Flashes on vault last week with a career-high 9.900, took third place with 9.825. 

KSU also took second on bars to Rutgers’ 48.825. Kent State sophomore Sarah Haxton finished in first with 9.875. 

Kent won the beam with a score of 48.675, its highest beam score so far this season and the first time it won the event this year. Senior Cami Klein took first with a 9.850 and senior Riley Danielson tied for third at 9.800. 

Junior Rachel DeCavitch, the Flashes’ all-around competitor, placed second with 38.075. Sydney Beers for Cornell won the all-around with 38.600.

The Flashes compete against Eastern Michigan, Long Island University and George Washington Feb. 6 in Washington D.C. 

“We just have to take it one meet at a time,” Biggin said. “We can’t feel like we made it or we’re already there. There are a lot of good teams in the MAC, so we can be happy with the win, but we can’t be satisfied because we know we still need to be better.”

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