Gymnasts look to heal wounds in Jersey

The BGSU gymnastics team expects weekly improvement and they’d like to continue that as they travel to Rutgers University on Saturday. The Falcons will take part in a five-team meet along with Rutgers, Rhode Island University, Towson State and Bridgeport.

The Falcons are coming off a loss at Western Michigan in which they improved from their previous meet but still struggled on the uneven bars. Injuries have hampered the bars lineup since the Northern Illinois meet on Feb. 4. The Falcons have dropped their last three meets – one triangular – and have dropped to 2-6 overall after starting 2-2. They are 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference.

“This is going to be an interesting meet because there’s going to be five teams in it,” said BG coach Dan Connelly. “It’ll be similar to the MAC Championship so that’s important. Also, we’ll start the meet on the balance beam so that will be a challenge for our beam lineup to start the meet there.”

This weekend’s meet is non-conference but is clearly important for both the team’s confidence and continued improvement. Without some key competitors the team has not been as effective, but has improved and expects to continue heading in the right direction.

“We’re trying to get on a roll here, and the goal is to hit 20 out of 24 routines and not have to count any falls on our scores,” Connelly said. “If we do that I think we can have a pretty strong team performance.”

BG has had to turn to some freshman competitors and ask them to step in and perform. Jenna Wirtanen, Katie Follett and Ashlee de Leeuw, along with redshirt freshman Jholeen Ponce, all played roles in last week’s meet and hope to contribute to the success of the team.

“It’s certainly good for the future,” Connelly said. “They aren’t as seasoned as the kids who have been around for awhile, but you have to kind of sit back and hope that we’ve done everything we could in practice and they can step up and perform.”

The meet, which begins at 7 p.m. in Piscataway, N.J., is very important to the Falcons as they head into the last few weeks before the MAC Championships.