Freshman Tia Kiaku competes on beam during the Red vs. White Intersquad meet Dec. 4 in John E. Worthen Arena. Kiaku is one of six freshmen this year. Kaiti Sullivan, DN File
No. 17 Ball State gymnastics heads to D.C. for Lindsay Ferris Invitational
Ball State gymnastics team made a huge statement last weekend in scoring the highest season-opening score in over 10 years. In addition, the Cardinals season opener was enough to give them a No. 17 rank in the nation.
“We have the mindset of how we want to approach each day has been very important,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “We’re really focused on those minor details that the team is ready to start embracing.”
One of the teams Ball State knocked off in the Kentucky quad meet was George Washington, a team consistently seen in the top 25 rankings. This weekend the Cardinals will look to take down the Colonials again as they head out to Washington, D.C. to compete in the annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational.
Last meet, sophomore Maddie Macdonald had a break out performance on vault scoring a personal record of 9.850 which put her in a tie for first place. According to Macdonald, while she is using this past weekend’s performance as future motivation, she is also raising the bar moving forward.
“While I am using my performance last weekend as motivation, I don’t want to focus on it and get ahead of myself,” Macdonald said. “I know that was a good bars routine, but I know that I have more in me.”
With the team starting out strong in its first week, it is also focused on continuing to build and peak at the correct time. According to Saleem, the team is right where it needs to be.
“I think they’re going to build each week,” Saleem said. “We ultimately have to do well at every competition to get that regional qualifying score at the end of the season. We have to be consistent and that’s what we plan on doing walking in the door.”
Last season, the Cardinals fell seven spots outside of a regional qualifying score. While the team is working towards getting into a regional qualifying score and its most recent ranking has a lot of people talking, it isn't going to let the numbers get in their heads.
“We don’t really talk about the rankings as a team, so most of our motivation does not come from there,” senior Baylee Bell said. “We got most of our motivation, from last weekend, from hitting our routines and just have overall good routines.”
As the Cardinals are riding high and the Colonials are looking for redemption, Bell left it short and simple as they approach the weekend.
“We just need to go in and do what we’ve been practicing,” Bell said.
Ball State will take the floor in Washington, D.C. on Sunday at 1 p.m.
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