BG gymnastics looks to get on track

Reporter and Reporter

The BG gymnastics team aims to take another step forward this weekend, as it takes on No. 21 West Virginia in Anderson Arena.

Although the team is coming off a 193.05-191.95 loss to Central Michigan, an improvement of over three points in score from week one gives coach Kerrie Beach plenty of encouragement.

“The potential is through the roof right now,” Beach said. “I think they are starting to realize that they can go so much further, and I think it’s motivating them to get to the next level.”

The room for improvement is clear, as the Falcons have yet to compete on uneven bars or balance beam without counting a fall.

While the beam lineup showed flashes of brilliance last weekend, bars continue to be a work in progress, with several gymnasts working their way back into the lineup. Until then, Beach would like to see more mental toughness on the event.

“We’re just trying to get the athletes that are out there to be confident in what they’re doing,” she said. “Putting them in pressure situations is something that we’re doing this week to try and help them hit their routines on the first try.”

Vault is another event with the potential for upgrades. Currently, BG is competing only four vaults with the highest difficulty rating – a 10.0. Megan Harrington, Amanda Lievendag, Leah Miko and Sunny Marchand are all training vaults that could bolster the Falcons’ scores.

“Sunny has a 10.0 vault that’s been very successful in the past,” Beach said. “We’re also hoping that Megan Harrington can start working on her twisting vault again. She was looking really good on that before her ankle sprain. It’s exciting to see the potential for more 10.0 vaults, and we’ll be working those into the lineup as they’re ready.”

While the possibilities within her young team are compelling, Beach is careful not to push for too much too soon. Gymnastics is a sport that hinges on peaking at the right time ,and Beach wants the team to be at its best for the Mid-American Conference Championships in late March.

This philosophy is evidenced by her decision to rest standout Danielle Wishart on two events last weekend after Wishart suffered a hip strain in practice.

“We decided that it’d be best to rest that, rather than make it a continual problem for her,” Beach said. “She’s already working beam again this week, and we’re definitely planning on her doing floor this weekend.”

The Falcons will need Wishart if they hope to compete with a top opponent like West Virginia. The Mountaineers tallied a 194.263 average in the first two meets, scoring as high as 195.1.

“We’re just trying to build on what we did last weekend,” Beach said. “I’m not so concerned with what team comes through the door right now; I’m just concerned with what our team is doing and how they take that next step.”

Saturday’s meet is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Anderson Arena. In celebration of Parent’s Night, BG gymnasts will be accompanied by their parents during the march-in ceremony.