Story courtesy of Kent State Athletic Communications
The fairytale 2011 season did not end with the Kent State gymnastics team sporting a Super Six tiara upon their heads, but the Golden Flashes were certainly able to hold their heads high at the NCAA Championships.
The Golden Flashes completed the season with their highest ranking in program history at No. 12 after totaling a team score of 195.000 today (April 15) in front of a large, fired up contingent of Kent State fans in the second semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Championships at Cleveland's Wolstein Center.
Kent State reached the national championships for the first time in program history after placing second at the Ann Arbor Regional on April 2, achieving the special feat of competing for a national title while also play co-host to the event along with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
"It's hard to describe how gratifying this season has been," said 20th-year Kent State head coach Brice Biggin. "To see all of the hard work the girls put in pay off with a trip to the national championships, I think it is safe to say the future is very bright for Kent State gymnastics. I'm very proud of our team."
Senior co-captain Christina Lenny (Broadview Heights, Ohio) just missed finishing out her storied career with All-America honors after placing 17th in the overall all-around with a score of 39.125, which was good for 10th in the second semifinal. Lenny tied senior co-captain Christine Abou-Mitri (Broadview Heights, Ohio) for ninth on the floor exercise with a 9.850. Lenny also tied for 21st on the vault with a 9.825 and tied for 24th on the uneven bars with a 9.800.
For Lenny and Abou-Mitri, guiding the Golden Flashes to their first national championship appearance marks the end of a long road as teammates. The two have been friends since eighth grade, helping Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School become an Ohio state power. The duo also hold the distinction of being the only Kent State gymnasts to earn Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Year honors, with Abou-Mitri reeling in the distinction in 2010 and Lenny garnering the honor in '11. Lenny also made a national championship appearance in the all-around as a sophomore in 2009.
Freshman Marie Case (Erie, Pa.), who received MAC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2011, closed out her strong rookie campaign by tying for 22nd in the combined all-around and tying for 13th in the second semifinal with a 39.025. She tied for 24th on the vault along with freshman Nikki Moore (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Rachel Guida (Cumberland, R.I.) with a 9.800. Case also tied for 25th on the floor exercise with a 9.800 and tied sophomore Lindsay Runyan (Maineville, Ohio), who took home MAC Specialist of the Year honors in '11, for 30th on the uneven bars with a 9.750.
Sophomore Lauren Wozniak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) finished her season by tying for 33rd on the vault with a 9.775.
UCLA will look to defends its 2010 national title against Oklahoma, Michigan, Alabama, Nebraska and Utah Saturday (April 16) in the Super Six Final, which is slated to get underway at 4 p.m.