With only the beam event remaining in Sunday’s competition, the Kent State gymnastics team led Central Michigan 147.425 to 147.150.
Then three lightning bolts fell.
“They held back and tried to do routines, but the problem is you can’t come up and try to do a routine,” coach Brice Biggin said. “You have to ride with confidence knowing you’re going to do your routine.”
Rookie Alyssa Guns, junior Rachel DeCavitch and senior Cami Klein fell off the beam, all posting their season-low scores.
Kent State finished with 47.650 on beam, its lowest score since February 2020.
“Right now they’re just not being aggressive, and that’s killing us,” Biggin said. “We’re going to have to figure out how we can get them to believe a little more in themselves.”
KSU scored 195.075, its third-lowest total this year. CMU finished with 196.650, its highest score so far this season, and scored 48.875 on balance beam.
Coming off its first loss to a Mid-American Conference team this season, Kent State is now 3-1 in the MAC and 10-3 overall.
The Flashes lost all four afternoon events, and for the second straight meeting, the beam was the team’s weakest event.
“They’re getting into a funk right now where they’re just questioning themselves,” Biggin said. “On this event, you can’t do that.”
In their last meeting Feb. 20, the Flashes scored 47.900 on balance beam, which was the team’s lowest score in any event since last April.
To see improvement, Biggin said he was going “back to the drawing board”.
“We’re going to have a long discussion about their level of confidence,” Biggin said. “The hardest thing is that the training went well. They just walk into a meeting and change what they’re doing.
Despite not winning their strongest event, the Flashes scored 49.300 on the ground, their second-highest rushing total of the season. The Chippewas scored 49,500.
The floor routine was the highest scoring event for Kent State in five competitions this year.
Guns placed third on floor with 9.900, her third time with a score of 9.900 or higher in the event.
“She did a terrific job,” Biggin said. “She looks like she’s having fun, and that’s a huge key. They need to relax enough to be able to have fun there.
On vault, Kent State tied a season high of 49.050, but CMU won the event with a score of 49.075. Junior Karlie Franz placed second for the Flashes at 9.850.
KSU lost on uneven bars with 49.075 to the Chippewas’ 49.200. Sophomore Sarah Haxton tied for first in the event at 9.875.
The Flashes face Bowling Green, which they previously beat on Feb. 20, and No. 16 Ohio State on Friday at 7 p.m. in Columbus.
BGSU is 2-4 in the MAC and 2-10 overall. OSU is 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten.
With just three competitions left until the MAC Championships, Biggin said his team needed to be confident in their abilities to take first place in the regular season.
“It all comes down to being able to go out there and stand up and trust yourself,” Biggin said. “We need to restore confidence in our training, regardless of the event or the team. We need to take one encounter at a time and start doing solid routines again.
Isabella Schreck is a journalist. Contact her at [email protected].