Gymnastics drop meet to No. 17 Missouri

Reporter and Reporter

The BG gymnastics team posted a season-high away score, falling to No. 17 Missouri on Friday, 196.25-193.825 in Columbia, Mo.

The Falcons’ effort was highlighted by a season-best 48.525 on the uneven bars, the product of all six gymnasts hitting their routines for the first time this year.

The team competed well, despite losing senior Dawn Christman in warm-ups to an ankle injury. Coach Kerrie Beach plans to rest Christman temporarily, but is hopeful she can return for the end of the season.

“She’s got some history of some ankle problems,” Beach said. “It was really irritating her. What I don’t want to do is lose Dawn for the rest of the season, so I felt it was important that we back off and rest a little bit, and then get ready for the rest of our season.”

After shuffling line-ups to replace Christman, the Falcons began the meet on bars. Monica Eaton led the team with a 9.825, sticking her double layout dismount. Freshmen Gina Locigno (9.775) and Amanda Lievendag (9.725) put up season-best scores to continue the momentum, as the BG gymnasts hit all six routines.

“That’s an event that we’ve been working so hard to get consistent,” Beach said. “To see them go to an away meet and get started like that really shows that we’re on the right track. They really walked in wanting more. They had the desire to do it and they didn’t get distracted by anything.”

The team’s positive momentum carried over to vault, where Locigno and Lievendag again stepped up to help the Falcons. Locigno was added to the lineup at the last minute, after not vaulting all week in practice. She came through early, scoring 9.5 to start out the rotation.

Lievendag vaulted for the first time this season, landing a tough 10.0 vault in her debut, scoring 9.725. The new vault—a laid out Yurchenko with a full twist—is a skill Lievendag perfected working with the BG coaches.

“I had never competed that before, ever,” Lievendag said. “It was really exciting to be able to do that and contribute to the team.”

The Falcons faltered on the balance beam, having to count a fall after two gymnasts missed. Eaton, a Missouri native, stepped in as the leadoff performer, hitting for a 9.525 in front of her friends and family.

“I was really glad to be able to step in for another teammate who was injured and get up and hit and score a pretty good starting score for our team,” Eaton said.

Next up, Megan Valentini suffered her first fall of the year, ending a string of seven hit beam performances. Locigno also came off the beam early in the lineup. The back half of BG’s beam team came through, hitting three strong sets to close out the meet. Harrington (9.8) and Wishart (9.775) scored season-highs, and Ali also went 9.8 for her routine.

The mistakes cost the Falcons, who ended the meet well behind Missouri, 196.25-193.825. The score was more than a point higher than BG’s previous best road number, however.

BG gymnastics closes the regular season with three straight Mid-American Conference meets, culminating in the MAC Championships on March 24. The Falcons next face off against Ball State on Friday in Muncie, Ind.