BG gymnastics begins brieft non-league stint

Reporter and Reporter

The BG gymnastics team embarks on its first of four consecutive away meets Saturday, facing a tough non-conference matchup against Pittsburgh.

The team looks to continue its momentum after a season-high 193.975 showing against Northern Illinois, highlighted by Dawn Christman’s career-high 9.9 on floor exercise.

Coach Kerrie Beach believes the team is in great physical shape, and that it will be the details that make the difference heading in to the second half of the season.

“That certainly wasn’t a perfect meet for us,” Beach said. “Obviously we counted a fall on beam and took some steps on some landings. We could really save ourselves some points with stuck dismounts, particularly on beam and bars.”

The Falcons breached a considerable hurdle last week, hitting a full uneven bars rotation for the first time this season. That newfound confidence will be key to the team’s success in Pittsburgh, where they will begin the meet on bars.

BG’s prospects on bars look bright, as the team now boasts eight gymnasts with competitive routines. Beach says competition among the gymnasts for the six lineup spots can only make the team better.

“We’re still working out who our six are,” she said. “We’ve got eight routines right now that are training well. We’re just trying to find the most consistent lineup so that we’re going over there not looking at any falls and really getting credit for every skill that they can do.”

With several gymnasts training more difficult vaults, Beach sees the potential for her team to score well over the 194 mark in coming weeks. The team has already eclipsed last year’s season-high of 193.8, scored at Kentucky.

At the moment, Beach is focused on helping individual gymnasts up their scores on certain events – including Amanda Lievendag on bars and Jamilah Ali on floor.

“Amanda hasn’t had a lot of competition experience,” she said. “I feel like it’s going to be really important that we put her in some pressure situations and make her sweat a little bit before she gets up there.

“Jamilah’s only competed that floor routine twice, so we have to see if the double pike at the end works for her. If she does a good job in practice, she should be able to do that in a meet. We’d love to see her put up a big score on that event.”

While Pittsburgh and BG are close in the rankings, Beach says she is more concerned with her team continuing to make progress than she is with the opponent.

“I feel we’re going to do a lot better now that they’ve recognized that they are strong on every event,” Beach said. “That’s the goal, and that’s what we’re focused on.”