Gymnastics loses close match

The Eastern Michigan University women’s gymnastics team finished their first home competition with a 194.025-193.9 loss against the Bowling Green State University Falcons Saturday at Bowen Field House.

“It was a hard loss because we are better than the team we put out there today and we know that,” EMU senior Kristina Kurkmilis said.
“It’s really hard when it’s that close and definitely even harder
when it’s for a Mid-American Conference opponent.”

Last season, the Eagles dropped their season finale to the Falcons 193.675-190.950. Although this season’s competition failed to end in an EMU win, the difference in score between the years is smaller.

EMU head coach Steve Wilce was not entirely happy.

“It’s going to take some time for them to really dig in and compete,” Wilce said. “When the meet was on the line and all the pressure was there, we’ve got to learn how to handle that and come through better.”

The competition began with the Eagles on vault and the Falcons on bars. BGSU walked away with first and second place on vault, but the Eagles swiped third with a 9.8 performance from senior Amanda Fuller.

BGSU sophomore Amanda Lievendag took first on bars with 9.85. EMU sophomore Anna Willette and junior Ashley Quinton tied for second place only slightly behind Lievendag with 9.825 each.

There was another tie when Willette shared first place on the balancing beam with Falcon freshman Alyssa Nocella, each posting 9.825.

“Hard work pays off,” Willette said. “We had a fall earlier in the lineup so I just finished it up strong.”

EMU had two more gymnasts place in the top three when Fuller took first place in floor exercises with 9.825. A solid 9.8 was earned by three gymnasts to tie for second place. The Falcons took two of those places with Nocella and sophomore Gina Locigno.

“We didn’t compete in floor well,” Wilce said. “We had two falls at the end and we can’t let that happen.”

After falling off of the beam during her exhibition performance, EMU freshman Khadijah Hudson recovered to share the third place spotlight for her floor performance.

“Since I was only exhibition on beam, I had to somehow let that go and I knew my score had to really count on floor so I had to really pick it up for my team,” Hudson said.

Hudson was also named MAC Specialist of the Week last week when her debut performance earned her second place on the vault and the floor against the Western Michigan University Broncos.

The Eagles will travel to Chicago, Ill., Feb. 2 to compete in the Michigan/Illinois Challenge. The Eagles will take on the Illinois State University Red Birds, the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames and the Central Michigan University Chippewas before combining the scores of the two Michigan schools against the Illinois schools.

The Eagles will then come back home Feb. 9 to compete against the Ball State University Cardinals for another shot at a MAC win.

“People better know that we are coming back with a vengeance against Ball State,” Kurkmilis said.

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