Eagles struggle on beam, fall to Kent State
It was a tough end of the night for the Eastern Michigan University women’s gymnastics team as it recorded its worst beam score of the season, having to count two falls while losing to Kent State University, 195.025-194.025, Friday night in Kent, Ohio.
With the loss, the Eagles (13-3-1, 4-1 MAC) lost out on being regular-season Mid-American Conference champions as the Golden Flashes (8-3, 6-0 MAC) took home the honor.
“I thought the girls did a good job through three, and I thought that their energy was really good,” EMU coach Jay Santos said. “Even when beam was happening, I thought that the energy was good and they tried to stay positive but I really think they lost their focus. I don’t know if it was the environment since it was really loud. I don't know what it was but we got really tight, really fast. We got very tentative and it went downhill in a hurry.”
The Eagles had spent the first three events of the night having their normal amount of success including four 9.8s on the floor exercise but the night turned problematic when the Eagles moved to their final event on the balance beam.
Senior Kimberly Ebeyer started the rotation strong with a 9.75 but then things went south with freshman Megan Hultgren and sophomore Kendall Valentin recording falls. Junior Natalie Gervais helped the Eagles bounce back with a 9.70 but redshirt sophomore Lacey Rubin then recorded another fall. Sophomore Catie Conrad anchored the rotation and recorded a career-high 9.875 but the damage had been done having to record two of the three falls.
“The bottom line is we fell three times and we counted two,” Santos said. “We’re not going to win many meets counting two falls.”
Valentin’s fall, in particular, was a scary moment as her ribs landed on the beam. After taking a quick breather, she regained her composure and finished her routine.
“She’s been a trooper all year,” Santos said. “She’s a tough kid and she showed it again today.”
The Eagles will return home to finish the season as they celebrate lone senior Kimberly Ebeyer for Senior Night as they face off against Central Michigan University. The meet is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.