GYMNASTICS: Ball State's new approach pays off in win
Sophomore Allen and freshman Mirski set career highs
Hard work and a new attitude for the Ball State gymnastics team led to positive results Saturday.
With a pair of event victories by junior Brittney Emmons, Ball State earned its first win of the season. A season-high score of 192.625 was enough to best Eastern Michigan's 191.075.
Sophomore Nicole Allen, who won the floor exercise with a 9.875, said the victory was a great feeling.
"I feel really good about the win because it solidified what we know about us," she said.
Coach Nadalie Walsh instilled a tougher edge to practice following the team's losses to Maryland and Towson State, adding punitive costs to mistakes made throughout the week. She said it made Ball State much more prepared.
The Cardinals were able to take their practice successes and style to a meet setting against the Eagles, Walsh said.
"The girls did a really great job of doing their jobs," she said.
Both teams outperformed expectations in Saturday's meet, surpassing their season averages by more than two points apiece.
The Cardinals (1-3, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) won every event as a team and individually. Sophomore Emily Wehrle was the fourth individual winner with a 9.7 on the balance beam.
Ball State had two career highs -- Allen on the bars and freshman Amber Mirski on the floor -- to go along with three season highs. The team's scores on the bars and floor were the best of 2011 as well.
Walsh spread the credit to several Cardinals, including Emmons and Allens. She also praised sophomore Tiffany Brodbeck for hitting all three of her events.
After a few weeks of struggles, Emmons said she viewed the win as a breakthrough.
"We took the first meets and learned our lesson," she said.
Morgan Coslow kicked off the meet on the bars with a 9.625. Walsh said the sophomore set the tone for the meet for the Cardinals, adding that she is happy to have someone reliable to start things off for the squad.
Senior Nikole Viltz was the top performer for Eastern Michigan (1-4, 1-1 MAC). She posted second-place routines on the vault and the beam.
Ball State's next meet will be a home contest against Illinois State on Friday night in Irving Gym. The Cardinals will continue to use their new attitude in the lead-up to their contest against the Redbirds.
"I think we really need to train the way we did last week," Emmons said.