Ball State gymnastics faces another challenge in Iowa Friday
After a comeback win against conference foe Bowling Green, Ball State gymnastics (9-4, 3-0 MAC) faces another challenge Friday as it heads on the road to take on Iowa (3-5, 3-2 Big 10).
The Cardinals came out with the win Sunday, relying heavily on their final event to secure the win. The Cardinals saw deductions on two of four events including a 0.600-point deduction on the team’s strongest event, vault.
“Overall, we need to get out there and do our gymnastics on all 24 routines,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “We want to get a solid performance from each person. They’ve done a pretty good job this season in handling any errors or mistakes, but we're getting to that time of year where we need to hit 24 of 24 routines.”
The Cardinals final rotation on floor proved some of the Cardinals' resiliency. Freshman Tia Kiaku led the charge in the final rotation to tie for first place and her personal best score of 9.875. Kiaku says she's looking for an even higher score this weekend.
“Personally, I want to get a 9.900 score or higher,” Kiaku said. “Last weekend, I was 0.025 points away from that. I want to win floor again as well.”
The upcoming meet on Friday is one of the quickest turnarounds for the team this season. After a come from behind win on Sunday, the Cardinals are coming into what is arguably an even bigger meet against Iowa.
“I feel that the team has already gotten into that natural rhythm of competing on the weekends,” Saleem said. “At this point they are conditioned to turn it on and off whenever they need to.”
While the Hawkeyes may be a Big 10 squad, they are extremely similar to the Cardinals on paper. The Hawkeyes only sit four places ahead of the Cardinals in the national rankings at No. 38, compared to the Cardinals at No. 42. Both teams rank in the top 40 on vault and floor. Both squads have also struggled on the bars as the Cardinals rank 53rd in the country and the Hawkeyes rank 51st. The Hawkeyes, however, rank 11 spots ahead on beam at 24th, while the Cardinals sit back at 35th.
“At the end of the day we need to continue what we have been doing and let the numbers fall into play,” Saleem said. “Our focus is to continue to do the gymnastics we’ve been doing and not get distracted.”
The Cardinals will take the floor at 7 p.m. on Friday in Iowa City.