Senior Denasiha Christian starts to walk toward her teammates after her floor routine during the meet against Illinois State and Eastern Michigan on Jan. 24 at Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO KORINA VALENZUELA
Ball State takes 2nd place in MAC Championship
Ball State finished the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championships in second place with senior Denasiha Christian finishing first in both the vault and the floor.
The Cardinals competed against Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Kent State. Kent State was the reigning 2015 MAC Champions. Kent State headed into this year’s championship with a 6-0 record in the MAC, and Ball State stood at 1-5.
Ball State finished with a 195.650 team score, behind Eastern Michigan who scored 196.425.
1. Eastern Michigan - 196.425
2. Ball State - 195.650
3. Bowling Green - 195.625
4. Central Michigan - 195.600
5. Kent State - 195.325
6. Northern Illinois - 194.975
7. Western Michigan - 194.900
Head coach Joanna Saleem was happy with her team's persistence and strong finish on the day.
“By no means was it a perfect meet for us, but [the team] didn’t give up or get rattled. They kept focused the entire competition, and at the end of the day, consistency is what got us to the point where we could place,” Saleem said.
The Cardinals began the meet on vault with a score of 48.975. Ball State’s highest scorers for the event included Christian's first-place mark of 9.900. Junior Jala Washington scored a 9.8 and placed fourth, and junior Sarah Ebeyer and senior Erin Patchey each scored a 9.775, placing ninth overall.
After the first event rotation, Central Michigan held first place with a score of 49.150, and Ball State was tailing in second place with its 48.975 from vault. Eastern Michigan stood in third with 48.825.
Ball State transitioned to the uneven bars with its 48.550 total. Top scorers for Ball State include sophomore Jordyn Penny with 9.850, junior Kayla Beckler with 9.750 and freshman Madison Howell with a mark of 9.700.
After two events, Eastern Michigan took first place with a 98.150 and never looked back. Ball State had a score of 97.525, leaving it in fifth place before heading to balance beam.
Ball State sophomore Baylee Bell scored a 9.825, Penny scored a 9.800, and both freshman Sydney Finke and sophomore Jackie Duffy scored 9.775. The team combined for 48.900 points on beam.
On the floor exercise, the Cardinals posted some of their highest scores of the meet. Christian scored a 9.950, winning first place overall in her second event of the day. Other top scorers for Ball State include sophomore Clare Collins with a 9.850. Finke, junior Shelby Arms, Ebeyer and Patchey all scored a 9.825.
“The team started off strong and they finished strong," Saleem said. "This team has come far over the last couple years, so I am really excited to see them be able to be at home and finish the season as a team in Worthen."
Ball State will now wait to see if the team or individuals finished with high enough scores to move onto regional play.