Rhett Umphress

The Ball State gymnastics team signed its first gymnast in the class of 2011.

Madison Shorts, of Oletangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio, was introduced as the newest Cardinal in a press release Monday.

Coach Nadalie Walsh praised Shorts' maturity, intelligence and ability.

"She's one of those entire-package recruits," Walsh said.

The fourth-year coach for the Cardinals said Shorts will be able to help the Cardinals in all four events. Shorts is excellent on the uneven bars, solid on the balance beam and is already challenging herself on her vault and floor exercise routines, Walsh said.

"She has all the high-level tumbling passes," Walsh said.

Shorts has been trained by coach Kittia Carpenter at Buckeye Gymnastics for the past 10 years. Shorts qualified for regionals as a Level 10 gymnast for the past six years.

Shorts, Carpenter and Walsh will keep in touch during the new recruit's final year at Buckeye Gymnastics.

"We can definitely stay in contact," Walsh said. "[Shorts is] already asking questions about next year."

Walsh said she is looking to sign one more recruit during the signing period.

Ball State will open its 2010-11 season with an exhibition meet against Kentucky on Friday, and Walsh said she wants to see her team show the same talent they have in practice.

"I would really like to see the girls I put out there be confident," she said.