Gymnastics wins home opener against Western Michigan


Matthew Brown

The Kent State gymnastics team rings the bell after pulling ahead of West Michigan University during the Beauty and the Beast meet on Jan. 29.

Michael Neenan, Reporter

The Kent State gymnastics team’s 195.925 was third highest score total in a home opener in program history in a win over Western Michigan. 

Kent State won its first home meet of the year at the Beauty and the Beast event. KSU defeated Western Michigan 195.925 to 195.425. The Flashes matched their final score from last week where they placed third in the Tennessee Collegiate Classic.

The Flashes improve to 3-4 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

KSU’s strongest area was on the floor for the third straight week, recording a score of 49.225. Sophomore Alyssa Guns and Senior Karlie Franz each recorded a 9.900 on the floor for the second week in a row.

“Those are two nine nines that we needed,” coach Brice Biggin said. “We were really kind of hoping for a couple more a little earlier. But Alyssa has been such a dynamic floor performer that anytime she goes out there, you know that that’s what she’s capable of. It’s just when you watch her she’s at a different level with the presentation, the attitude, and she is just so incredibly fun to watch. And it was once again a big lift that we really needed that time.”

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Kent State senior Karlie Franz dismounts after her vault routine during the Beauty and the Beast meet on Jan. 29. (Annemarie Karabinus)

“I feel really confident in our floor team. Every single time before we compete, we just tell each other to have fun and play with the crowd,” Guns said. “Floor is our event and we know that so just keeping up the confidence going into next week. We’re just going to do the same thing.”

“We trained twenty-five… twenty hours a week or something crazy like that,” Franz said. “You just go have fun. You let the confidence take over, so it’s awesome.”

Kent State’s second best outing of the afternoon was on the beam with a score of 48.975, an improvement of .100 from last week. 

The Flashes had three tied for highest on the team with senior Rachel DeCavitch, junior Sarah Haxton and freshman Zoe Rankin each recording a 9.825. 

“I think we’ve been working really hard on beam it’s typically been one of our weaker events,” DeCavitch said. “So just being able to trust each other and get our consistency up and know that we can go up and hit a good routine just feels really good.”

DeCavitch competed in all four areas. She led all gymnasts with a total score of 39.275 in the meet.

KSU recorded a score of 48.925 on the bars, with Rachel DeCavitch leading the team with a 9.850. 

The Flashes’ lowest scoring output of the night was on the vault, accumulating a score of 48.800. Franz led the event for Kent State with a score of 9.800.

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The gymnastics team celebrates after finishing their vaulting routines during the Beauty and the Beast meet on Jan. 29. (Annemarie Karabinus)

The performance was still an improvement from last week when KSU only scored a 48.700 on the vault.

“These are the meats that you want your athletes to get into because it was back-and-forth and really tight the entire time,” Biggin said. “We know we can still get better, which is good but we saw the fight in them and that was really important today.”

The Flashes will look to carry the win over to next week at the Northern Illinois Tri-Meet. They are scheduled to face Simpson College and MAC rival Northern Illinois.

Kent State will compete at 2 p.m. on Sunday in DeKalb, IL.

Michael Neenan is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].