BG gymnastics faces Northern Illinois in ‘Pink Meet’

Reporter and Reporter

The BG gymnastics team aims to rebound after a tri-meet loss last weekend, hosting Mid-American Conference opponent Northern Illinois in the team’s annual “Pink Meet” in support of breast cancer awareness.

The contest marks the third of four home meets this season. The last time the Falcons competed at home they scored a season-high 193.225, nearly upsetting West Virginia.

Floor has been BG’s strength, and the team is No. 1 in the MAC on that event, led by Dawn Christman. The uneven bars continue to give the Falcons trouble, however.

With nearly half of the season behind them, coach Kerrie Beach is focused on improving the team’s performance on that event.

“We’re trying to get a lineup that feels confident in each other and hitting,” Beach said. “What we’re worried about is that they feel that pressure – that it’s the one event that’s kind of holding us back. So we want them to move as far away from those thoughts as possible.”

Most recently, the Falcons posted a 46.7 on bars against Maryland and North Carolina, after a pair of gymnasts slipped off the apparatus. That performance was not indicative of how the team trains, Beach said.

This week, the team’s focus is creating a more competitive feeling in the gym, stressing stuck landings and hitting routines on the first try. Beach believes sticking the first routines in practice is the closest thing to an actual meet.

“The goal’s the same,” she said. “We need to hit. We need to put full meets together now that the expectations have been raised. We need to move forward.”

With only two home meets remaining, Beach knows her team needs to take advantage of competing in its comfort zone and bring in big scores.

The gymnastics ranking system also requires that three home meet scores factor into a team’s final ranking, meaning that BG’s home scores will play a crucial role in whether the team advances to NCAA Regionals.

“We really have no excuse,” she said. “We have the true home advantage, and we need to walk in here and hit everything. They train in here every day, so it’s really a place where we could build confidence to help us with the away meets.”

The Falcons are currently ranked higher than NIU, but competition is tight in the MAC this season, with no team distancing itself as the clear front-runner.

“That’s really been the buzz in the MAC this year,” Beach said. “We feel like it’s going to be such a showdown at the end of the season. It’s an opportunity for us to take advantage of the four MAC meets we have left, and we feel like we can walk in and win any of them.”

The Falcons take on the Huskies Saturday at 4 p.m. in Anderson Arena. Fans are encouraged to wear pink as part of the breast cancer awareness campaign.