Underdog Kent State Gymnastics Team Punches Trip Home To National Championships

Updated 4/3/2011

Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It's the year of the underdog. Butler and VCU advance to the men's basketball Final Four against all odds. Why can't Kent State gymnastics shock the world as a six seed and punch its ticket to the 2011 NCAA Championships, which just so happen to be hosted by the school in two weeks?

That's the message 20th-year Kent State gymnastics head coach Brice Biggin delivered to his team in their final meeting the night before the 2011 NCAA Ann Arbor Regional, held today (April 2) at Michigan's Crisler Arena.

The Golden Flashes went out and achieved what no Kent State gymnastics team has accomplished before: earn a trip to the national finals as a team, thanks to a second place finish with a team score of 195.450, beating out the likes of Ohio State (195.350), Minnesota (195.225), Stanford (195.225) and Iowa State (194.800). Host Michigan won the meet with a score of 195.075. The Golden Flashes posted team scores of 49.050 on the floor exercise, 48.850 on the balance beam, 48.800 on the vault and 48.750 on the uneven bars.

Kent State University and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission will host the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Gymnastics Championships in Cleveland from April 15-17 at the Wolstein Center

"Wow. It feels like I'm in a dream right now," said Biggin. "We've talked to the girls all season about how we knew they were a special team and what kind of talent they had. To go out and compete the way they did with the confidence they did, I can't put into words how proud I am of this team right now."

Senior captain Christina Lenny (Broadview Heights, Ohio) finished second in the all-around with a combined score of 39.350. She tied for second in the floor exercise with a 9.900 and tied for fourth on both the vault (9.850) and balance beam (9.850), matching the score of freshman teammate Marie Case (Erie, Pa.) on the balance beam. Lenny also tied for 17th on the uneven bars with a score of 9.750. Case also posted a 9.800 to tie for 19th on the floor exercise.

"I don't even have the words," said Lenny. "This is amazing and more than I could have ever imagined. I'm so proud of the team and everything we accomplished. This just shows that you can accomplish anything if you stick together and work as a team."

Sophomore Lindsay Runyan (Maineville, Ohio) tied for seventh on the uneven bars with a score of 9.825.

Senior Christine Abou-Mitri (Broadview Heights, Ohio) tied for 14th on the floor exercise with a 9.825, tied for 14th on the uneven bars with a 9.775 and tied for 19th on the balance beam with a 9.750.

Junior Rachel Goldenberg (Doylestown, Pa.) recorded a 9.775 to tie for 23rd on the floor exercise. She also tied sophomore Lauren Wozniak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) for 21st with a 9.750 on the vault.

Freshman Nikki Moore (Columbus, Ohio) tied for 27th on the floor exercise with a 9.750.

The Golden Flashes are scheduled to compete in the second session of the semifinals of the national championships on April 15 at 6 p.m. and aim at qualifying for the Super Six Team Finals, which will be held April 16 at 4 p.m. Tickets are now on sale and start at just $15 for individual sessions or $36 for all session passes. Discounted group rates for ten or more adults and/or youth tickets are also available.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ncaa.com/wgym or call the Cleveland Wolstein Center box office at 216-687-4848.