PREVIEW: Ball State gymnastics vs. Western Michigan
After a 0.600-point improvement from the Bowling Green meet, Ball State gymnastics (4-8, 2-2 MAC) looks to continue to raise their overall score in their final home meet against Western Michigan (2-4, 1-4 MAC) Sunday.
While their last meet was a loss, there were more positives than negatives the team looks to work off of.
“We had a lot of good things happen on the competition floor last weekend,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “We’ve really built a lot of confidence going into the last few meets of the season because they know not to worry about the scores, but to take what they’ve been working on in the gym out onto the floor.”
MAC teams in the national rankings
*in position to qualify for regionals
No. 24 Eastern Michigan*
No. 32 Kent State*
No. 35 Central Michigan*
No. 38 Western Michigan
No. 40 Northern Illinois
No. 44 Ball State
No. 47 Bowling Green
While it is late in the season, the team still looks to add fresh talent to the line-up. Sophomore Maddie Howell, after being injured since September, will be added to the parallel bars line-up. Last meet, Howell had an emotional return on the bars performing in exhibition.
“After having a few good exhibitions and a good performance last week, is a solid decision to put her on bars this week,” Saleem said. “This will really help our depth on bars quite a bit.”
Last meet saw improvement throughout the entire roster, including senior Kayla Beckler, who took second on the floor event with a score of 9.850. Beckler also saw a 0.025-point improvement as well.
“I look to continue to focus on the little details and not to think too much into scores,” Beckler said. “I’m really just want to go out there and have fun while making small improvements.”
After this meet, the Cardinals will head off to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to face the Broncos and the University of Illinois-Chicago. Saleem said hitting 24 of 24 routines will give the team an advantage going into the next meet.
“Going into Western, they will have a little more of an advantage being at home,” Saleem said. “If they can go out Sunday and have a really solid meet, that would be good going into the next meet. We want to get some solid scores in these last few MAC meets before going into championships.”
Not only will this be the last home meet of the season for the Cardinals, but it will also act as Senior Night for five of the gymnasts. While emotions are high, the team knows what it needs to do.
“There’s been a lot of emotions, but I’m just looking forward to being out there with my team and having fun with the girls I’ve spent my last four years with,” Beckler said.
The meet will be at 1 p.m. Sunday in Worthen Arena.