The Eastern Michigan University gymnastics team beat Kent State University Friday evening at the Convocation Center. Eastern was behind for the first three rotations but pulled ahead in its last event, floor exercise. The final score was 194.7-193.8. With this victory, the Eagles remain undefeated at home and 7-1.
“I’m really proud of the team tonight,” coach Jay Santos said. “We started strong on vault but when we went to bars we had to count our first real mistake for the season, and the team looked like we had lost our focus. I challenged them after bars to attack the next two events and finish the meet strong, and that is exactly what they did. They looked confident on beam and really had a great floor rotation to finish the meet and secure the win.”
Anna Willette continued her all-around champion streak and took first place in the competition. She ended the night with a combined score of 38.975. She scored 9.825 on vault, 9.625 on bars, 9.725 on beam and 9.7 on floor.
The Eagles narrowly led in vault by 48.825-48.725. Willette’s 9.825 landed her in first place. Julia Schwartz finished second with 9.8 and earned a new career-high. Kendall Valentin scored 9.775 and placed fourth. Sydney McEachern earned a 9.725 and eighth place. Paulina Miller finished with a 9.7 and ninth place. Catie Conrad completed with a 9.525.
The Golden Flashes prevailed 48.8-48.375 on the bars. Nikki Paterson led the Eagles by tying for second place with 9.775 points, a new personal best. Valentin finished in fourth with a 9.75. Carrina Lo Bello earned a 9.725 and tied for seventh. Willette took ninth place with a score of 9.625. Conrad received a 9.5 and 10th place. Lacey Rubin finished with a 9.2
Eastern beat Kent State on the beam 48.55-47.975. Valentin’s score of 9.75 earned second place. Lo Bello, Rubin and Willette tied for third with scores of 9.725. Kimberly Obeyer scored 9.625 and took sixth place. Natalie Gervais received a score of 9.075.
EMU scored highest on the floor where they defeated Kent State University 48.95-48.3. Chantelle again finished strong on the floor. She took first place and scored a 9.825. McEachern and Willette both scored 9.8, tied for second and earned new career highs. Rachel Slocum took sixth place and a personal best of 9.775. Lo Bello’s 9.75 landed her in ninth place. Paulina Miller received a 9.725, which put her in 10th place.
“Teams need to work through adversity during the course of a season, so I am really proud of how the group responded on the last two rotations,” said Santos. “Being able to come from behind and beat a strong MAC opponent in Kent State shows resilience and their ability to bounce back from a mistake.”
Next, the Eagles will be at the Convocation Center where they will compete against University of Illinois-Chicago. Eastern defeated the Flames when they met Jan. 31 at the Michigan/Illinois Challenge. The Eagles will look to repeat their victory at 1 p.m. Sunday.