BG gymnastics tumbles to a sixth-place finish in six-team meet

Reporter and Reporter

The Falcon gymnastics team finished sixth in a six-team meet in Raleigh, N.C. this past Saturday, a result that may not look good for the standings, but may give the team experience for the upcoming Mid-American Conference Championships next month.

The team scored 193.300, a full two points behind the meet’s host and eventual winner, North Carolina State University.

“If there is not a meet like this in a season, it is hard to prepare for the MAC Championships,” coach Kerrie Beach said.

BG began the meet with a shaky start on the balance beam, scoring a lower-than-usual 47.425.

“We had a rough start on balance beam, but the girls did not let that define the meet,” said Beach.

From beam, the gymnastics team moved on to the floor exercise, where junior Megan Harrington and sophomore Gina Locigno lead the team to a season-high score of 49.125.

Megan Harrington, recently awarded BG’s Pizza Hut Athlete of the Week, finished with an all-around score of 39.000, the third highest of the meet.

“Megan has upgraded her routine, adding more value to her routine and has gained a lot of confidence,” said Beach.

In the vault competition, sophomore Jamilah Ali scored a 9.650, her lowest in any competition this season. Ali has competed in vault in six out of BG’s seven meets for an average of 9.796.

“Jamilah struggled on vault. She slipped on her vault,” Beach said “Her score was not as high as normal,” she said.

This meet served as a model for the Falcons because of its similarity to the MAC Championships, Beach said.

Four of the team’s members, Jamilah Ali, Megan Harrington, Gina Locigno and Alyssa Nocella, were all-around gymnasts on Saturday, meaning they participated in all four events: balance beam, uneven bars, floor exercise, and vault.

Together they scored 154.275 of the 193.300 points the Falcons acquired.

“It is hard to be the top six in all events,” Beach said. “Each routine is very difficult; it is rare to have this many all-arounders competing.”

The host of the hexa-meet, North Carolina State, out-scored the five other teams with a score of 195.675.

“There were pluses and minuses during the meet,” Beach said. “With six teams there were bi-rotations, big crowds and a lot of promotions.”

The Falcons will look to improve their scores at the Anderson Arena on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. against the Ball State Cardinals and Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Beach hopes that Amanda Lievendag will be able to compete against familiar competition, as the sophomore had to miss last week’s meet due to flu symptoms.

“The Cardinals’ head coach [Nadalie Walsh] is my best friend, I call her after every meet,” Beach said.

Because the Falcons already faced the Eagles and beat them 194.025 to 193.900, the meet will only count the Cardinals as a MAC competition.

“The Eagles are just swinging into the mix,” Beach said.

The Cardinals are coming off of their first MAC loss to the Western Michigan Broncos, but Beach knows that the Ball State team is still competitive.

“We are out of their realm, and we are not going to go in feeling comfortable,” Beach said. “They have done well against other MAC teams scoring around 194 to 195’s.”

The Falcons are excited to have a meet back in their own gym.

“We get to start on vault and use our equipment.” Beach said.

She said that the team will look to have competitive practices throughout the week in the gym to prepare the team for this weekend.

“I want our athletes to start out strong, not have to find momentum during the competition,” Beach said.