Rhett Umphress

Despite the ice storm that slowed campus this week, the Ball State gymnastics team managed to avoid letting the weather affect its preparation.

The Cardinals didn't miss any practice time, but sophomore Emily Wehrle, who is wearing a walking boot to avoid further injury to her ankle, fell on the ice by Bracken Library on Thursday.

"Just once, though," she said with a laugh.

Wehrle and her teammates will try to avoid the same fate when Ball State hosts Illinois State in Irving Gym at 7 p.m. Friday.

Coming off their first win of the season last week, Wehrle said the Cardinals have been more focused in practice.

"Everybody's been really, really motivated this week," she said. "Maybe it hasn't been the loudest week, but everybody is in their own zone and getting their own stuff done. I feel like it's a really good vibe."

Coach Nadalie Walsh said the team had a strong week of practice and added new skills to the vault that should be on display Friday night.

Friday's meet is the fifth of 11 for the regular season. Walsh said she is getting a much firmer grasp on her lineup than she had to start the year.

"On every event, there are at least five girls I'm for sure on," she said. "Sometimes it's just leaving room for that seventh person to bump off that sixth person."

Illinois State will represent a strong challenge for Ball State. The Redbirds started the season slow but have made progress through each meet, posting a 193.925 in a loss last week.

Ball State's top score of the season is a 192.625.

Coming in at a disadvantage, the Cardinals will have to stay upright in order to pull out a victory.

"We have to make the least amount of mistakes," she said.

Wehrle said the team is motivated to get a second-straight win.

"I think everybody really wants to beat them," she said.

The Cardinals are ready to get another victory, Walsh said, and they are going to do everything they can not to slip up.

"They got a taste of what it's like to win, and I don't think they want to go back," she said.