Falcon gymnasts not resting on last week’s accomplishments

All it took to stir up the wave of excitement and expectations for the Bowling Green State gymnastics team was a season opening victory over Eastern Michigan.

The Falcons’ overall performance may have been an unmistakable sign of things to come.

Now, it’s time for them to take their show on the road to compete against Southeast Missouri State (1-0) — a team they have beaten in the last three meets.

S.E. Missouri St. is coming off a first place finish at the Hamline Quadrangular Meet with a score of 185.075.

“Southeast Missouri State had a low score in their first meet, but we know they are a very good team,” coach Dan Connelly said during Wednesday’s practice. “The team is really confident and they’re ready to go out and perform well.”

S.E. Missouri St. is led by Katie Brown (36.625), Tara Boldt (37.675) and Ashley Godwin (37.70), each of whom competed in all four events last week.

BG, which recorded a team score of 193.450 in their first meet, was led by co-captain Melissa Popovich, whose all-around score of 39.225 was the second best in school history and earned her Mid-American Conference Gymnast-of-the-week honors.

The last time the two teams met was during the 1999-00 season when the Falcons captured the win with a 190.175 team score.

“This is going to be a very competitive meet for us, but it’s going to tell us where we are right now and what we need to work on,” Connelly said.

Co-captain Pia Sjovall, who posted a score of 9.800 on the balance beam, said BG is ready to put the first meet behind them. “We’re all excited about the way we performed last week, but we know we can do better,” she said. “We had a good week of practice and now our main goal is to go out and kick some butt.” The Falcons will be without first-year gymnast Bethany Kennel, who broke her foot during practice and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to Connelly.

“We’re pretty disappointed for Bethany, but everyone is going to have to step up and perform well in place of her, until she is able to come back,” he said.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.