BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team hosts a tri-meet Saturday against Mid-American Conference opponents Ball State and Eastern Michigan. The meet will serve as the conference match-up between the Falcons and the Cardinals, as Bowling Green has already faced the Eagles in a dual meet, scoring a season-high 194.025 to earn the win on Jan. 26.
The Falcons return to Anderson Arena after back-to-back weeks on the road, traveling to Lindenwood on Feb. 9 and N.C. State on Feb. 16 to compete in the Sweetheart Invitational. Bowling Green posted a win against the Lions, but were forced to settle for a sixth-place finish against a tough field in Raleigh, N.C.
"In our last few meets we've had a slow start, but pulled together to do well on the remaining events," said head coach Kerrie Beach. "Our goal is to hit six solid vaults on Saturday so we can begin the meet with momentum and then finish strong. We are still in the hunt for that 195 and we are certainly capable of achieving that score this weekend."
The team looks forward to the return of Amanda Lievendag, who missed last week's meet with the flu. Lievendag is one of Falcons' top gymnasts on vault and uneven bars. In Lievendag's absence, Bowling Green fielded four all-around gymnasts at N.C. State, with Jamilah Ali, Megan Harrington, Gina Locigno and Alyssa Nocella competing on every event. Beach expects those four athletes to compete all four again this weekend.
Junior Harrington is coming off one of the finest performances of her career last Saturday, placing third all-around at the Sweetheart Invitational. Harrington scored a 39.000, the highest mark by any Falcon gymnast since 2004 and a career best. She also placed third overall on floor exercise, scoring 9.875 to tie with teammate Locigno.
The Falcons gave a stunning performance on floor exercise, earning their highest single-event score of the year - a 49.125. In the anchor slot, Ali nailed an exciting new double layout tumbling pass.
The meet also serves as the Falcons' annual alumni recognition meet, with gymnasts from past teams invited to a luncheon prior to receiving special recognition during the competition.
"Having our alumni back in town and cheering on Falcon gymnastics is very special and we look forward to giving them a great performance on all four events," Beach said.
The Falcons are 1-2 against MAC opponents this season, most recently falling to Kent State in their last home meet on Feb. 2. The Cardinals boast a 3-1 MAC record, suffering their first conference loss last week to Western Michigan. The Eagles are 0-4 in the MAC.
The tri-meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 in Anderson Arena. Admission is free.