BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team travels to Raleigh, N.C. this weekend to compete in the Sweetheart Invitational - a six-team meet hosted by N.C. State.
The Falcons will face competition from the Wolfpack, along with North Carolina, Pittsburgh, George Washington and William & Mary. With six teams and only four events, each team will incorporate two bye rotations into their meet. Bowling Green will start on balance beam, then go to a bye before floor exercise, vault, another bye and finish on uneven bars. The Falcons are currently ranked third in the Mid-American Conference on beam.
"I am pleased with our rotation order," said head coach Kerrie Beach. "We finished our last meet with a great balance beam rotation so our confidence is high on that event. It should be a great start to the competition this weekend."
The Falcons dipped back in score last week, dropping to a 192.850 after struggling on uneven bars against Lindenwood. Strong performances on the remaining three events helped Bowling Green fend off the Lions, 192.850-192.050. The goal this weekend, like any other, will be to string together 24 hit routines without counting a low score.
"I expect the team will hit all four events this weekend with the experience they have gained and our ability to address issues in the week in order to prepare for this competition," Beach said. "We have been struggling a bit on bars recently so I have changed the assignments to work on areas that have given us difficulty."
Amanda Lievendag has been a consistent leader on uneven bars for the Falcons, collecting four individual wins so far this season. Her high score of 9.85 came in a win over MAC rival Eastern Michigan. Jamilah Ali, who ranked first in the MAC on vault for the entire month of January, now sits at No. 2, with an average score of 9.825.
On Monday, North Carolina, George Washington and William & Mary competed in a tri-meet, with GWU coming out on top with a score of 194.675. The Tarheels finished second (193.275), well ahead of third-place William & Mary (191.925).
N.C. State most recently finished second to Maryland in a quad meet, 195.100-194.600. The Wolfpack was led by a 39.050 all-around performance from Stephanie Ouellette. Pittsburgh competed in the Chicago Style quad meet, taking second to Arizona with a score of 194.750.
"The competition will be fierce with the six teams present at this meet and I believe that will only help our gymnasts step up and gain a great road score."
Last season, the Falcons met both UNC and Pittsburgh on the road, falling to the Tarheels on Feb. 5, 193.125-191.500, and the Panthers on Feb. 18, 194.050-192.325. At 2-4 (1-2 MAC), the Falcons have already matched their win total from 2012. The team's average score halfway through the season has also increased from last year, rising from a 192.063 to a 192.754.
The Sweetheart Invitational will be streamed live on the web via ESPN3. The competition is set to begin Saturday at 7 p.m. To view the ESPN3 webcast, follow this link.