Gymnastics team prepares for chance at conference championship

The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team is in search of their fourth MAC conference championship title, first since 1985, as it heads to Kent State.

The Falcons are riding high with confidence after posting their sixth-best team score in program history en route to a 195.700–195.050 victory over conference powerhouse Kent State last Saturday evening at Anderson Arena.

The win was Bowling Green’s first over the Golden Flashes since 2002. Kent State had defeated Bowling Green 18 straight times heading into the competition.

“We feel really prepared and we are just ready to get out there and give it our best effort,” head coach Kerri Turner said. “We are coming off our best performance of the year last weekend. We beat Kent State for the first time in 12 years, so that was definitely a signature win for our program and gives us a huge confidence boost going into the MAC Championships. We just need to focus on our routines, hit our numbers, block out distractions and we should be in great shape.”

The Falcons will have one final opportunity to improve their Regional qualifying score and can do so with a score above a 193.025 at this week’s MAC Championships. Bowling Green currently ranks No. 40 in the RQS. The top 36 schools go to the NCAA Regionals. 

Although Bowling Green is currently on the outside looking in for the NCAA Regionals, Coach Turner’s Falcons are confident that her team will rise to the occasion.

“We have had some of our best meets against our biggest competitors, particularly against Kent State and some of the Big Ten schools like Michigan State and Ohio State, so I’m too worried about them staying motivated to bring their best effort,” Turner said. “I do think we need to work on our focus because that has been a struggle all season. We also need them to be excited and fully invested in each performance. This is for all the marbles so I’m counting on each of them to be completely supportive of each other, even if things aren’t going well. We can’t afford to lose our confidence because that when things tend to fall apart.”

BG enters MAC Championships with a record of 8-8 [2-4 MAC.] The Falcons have not finished the regular season with a record of .500 or better since 2002.

In spite of that, senior Amanda Lievendag said her team isn’t concerned with records, rankings or previous scores. It comes down to one last competition and they know what’s at stake.

“We are excited and ready to go,” Lievendag said. “This is the meet where we can show everyone how hard we’ve worked all season. I’m just ready to get out there and give it my all.”

Sophomore Laura Feely had similar thoughts.

“Since August, we’ve been training non-stop for this moment,” Feely said. “It doesn’t matter who we have to compete against. We know we have the talent to hang with anyone. We just have to continue to execute at the level we’ve been doing the past two meets. This is anyone’s championship to win. Everyone is on an even playing field so if we just focus and bring that energy I’m confident we can win.”