Gymnast of the Week
Kayla Weber, Western Michigan
Freshman, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Plymouth) (Olympia Gymnastics Academy)
Bronco freshman Kayla Weber took first in three of four events and broke the school all-around record, leading Western Michigan to a 194.975 to 194.475 victory over Eastern Michigan in the first Mid-American Conference meet of the season.
Weber had a first-place score of 9.825 on both the uneven bars and floor exercise won the balance beam with a 9.850. She finished runner-up on vault with a 9.800. Her scores added up to an all-around total of 39.300, breaking the program record of 39.225, set by Jennifer Sturgis against Michigan State in 2007.
Weber is currently ranked No. 19 in the nation in the all-around, according to Monday’s GymInfo rankings.
Specialist of the Week
Khadijah Hudson, Eastern Michigan
Freshman, Hebron, Ky. (Conner)
Khadijah Hudson led Eastern Michigan on the vault and the floor exercise, scoring a 9.800 in each event in her collegiate debut. Both scores were good enough for runner-up finishes in the respective events. Although EMU did not come away with a victory, 194.475 was the highest season-opening team score recorded in school history as well as the second highest score in the Mid-American conference to start the season.
Denasiha Christian, Ball State
Freshman, Roanoke City, Va. (Patrick Henry) (Roanoke Academy of Gymnastics)
Denasiha Christian led Ball State to a victory over Central Michigan, which entered the meet as the 16th-ranked team in the country with a first place finish in the vault and second place showing on the floor
Emily Heins, Central Michigan
Junior, Algonquin, Ill. (H.D. Jacobs HS)
Junior Emily Heinz notched top three finishes in all three of the events in which she competed on Friday versus Ball State, at least tying a personal best in two. Heinz’s top performance came in the balance beam, as she placed second by tying her career high score of 9.850. Her score in the vault, a 9.775, was also a career high, and earned her a third place finish. Heinz led CMU on the floor exercise, finishing third with a score of 9.775.
Paulina Miller, Eastern Michigan
Sophomore, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Citadel High School)
Paulina Miller turned in an impressive performance against Western Michigan to open the season, Jan. 20. Miller recorded scores higher than 9.725 in all three of her events, including career-best of 9.750 in both the vault and the floor exercise.
Amiah Mims, Kent State
Sophomore, Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike)(Wright's Gymnastics)
Sophomore Amiah Mims (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) had a career best night in leading Kent State to a second place finish at Penn State. Their second place finish marked the first time in program history that the Golden Flashes defeated Penn State. Mims finished in third place in the all-around with a score of 39.075, a personal best. She also set another personal record on the uneven bars when she earned a 9.800, good for second overall in the event. On the balance beam she tied a career best score when she received a 9.750. Mims rounded out her performance with a 9.750 on the vault and a 9.775 in the floor exercise.
Amanda Stepp, Northern Illinois
Sophomore, Lapeer, MI (Lapeer East) (All-American Flames Gymnastix)
Amanda Stepp helped engineer NIU’s narrow 192.775-192.525 victory over Bowling Green with three excellent routines Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center. Stepp earned a career best mark of 9.725 on vault but her most critical performance came on balance beam. Leading off the event for NIU, Stepp went up on beam after a disastrous bars performance by the Huskies on the uneven parallel bars (46.625). Stepp’s career best and rock solid 9.750 set the tone for balance beam, and for NIU’s eventual comeback victory. Stepp’s teammates followed her lead on beam as the Huskies scored a 48.800 on the event. She tied for fifth on beam and came back with a 9.750 on floor exercise to tie for second place on that event.
Leah Wilson, Ball State
Junior, Eustis, Fla. (Eustis) (Orlando Metro)
Leah Wilson helped Ball State to a victory over Central Michigan, which entered the meet as the 16th-ranked team in the country with 9.825 on the beam, which was a personal best for her and good for a tie for third overall
Taylor Noonan, Central Michigan
Sophomore, Broomfield, Colo. (Legacy HS)
In Friday’s meet versus Ball State, sophomore Taylor Noonan accomplished a feat only five other Chippewas have achieved in CMU program history - scoring a 9.925 in the balance beam. The career high score secured Noonan first place in the event and helped Central Michigan surpass the 49.000 plateau (49.075) as a team. Noonan’s balance beam score tied for the fifth highest ever in the CMU record book and is the top score by a Chippewa this season in any event.
Amanda Lievendag, Bowling Green
Sophomore, Baldwin, Md. (Fallston)
Amanda Lievendag, a sophomore from Baldwin, Md., set a career high on vault and placed first on uneven bars as Bowling Green lost a close meet to Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill. Lievendag scored 9.825 for her vault, helping the Falcons score a season-best 48.975 on the event and earning second place in the meet. She also finished first on bars for the second meet in a row, scoring 9.75, just shy of her career high.
Rachel Guida, Kent State
Senior, Cumberland, R.I. (Brestyan's Gymnastics)
Senior Rachel Guida was the sole Golden Flash to win an event against Penn State, Towson, and No. 11 Minnesota. Guida defeated 23 other gymnasts en route to winning the uneven bars with a 9.875 score, a personal best for her. It was also her second week in a row winning the event. Guida also performed on the vault, finishing 13th with a score of 9.725.
Marisa Liptak, Northern Illinois
Senior, Kendall Park, NJ (South Brunswick) (Arena Gymnastics)
Senior Marisa Liptak put together the best performance of her career on floor exercise as she scored a 9.850 to help cap NIU’s comeback victory over Bowling Green Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center. Liptak’s routine was the best of the day on floor and tied for the highest score of the meet. She led the Huskies to a 48.675 on floor as Northern Illinois came back from a 1.475 point deficit (after two rotations). Liptak also contributed a 9.650 on balance beam for her best score of the season on beam. The Huskies earned a 192.775-192.525 victory in their MAC season opener.
Lauren Bledsoe, Western Michigan
Senior, Shelby Township, Mich. (Eisenhower) (Olympia Gymnastics Academy)
Lauren Bledsoe competed in two events against Eastern Michigan, and recorded a first and second-place showing in WMU’s 194.975 to 194.475 victory. Bledsoe won the vault competition with a 9.850, and finished second in the floor exercise with a 9.800.