Sophomore Rachel Benoit competes beam during the meet against Kent State Jan. 28 in John E. Worthen Arena. Kaiti Sullivan, DN
Gymnastics: 42 years of competition
Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
In 42 years of program history, Ball State gymnastics has accumulated a record of 280-395.
The team has seen six coaches and is currently led by head coach Joanna Saleem, who began at Ball State in 2014.
Before coming to Ball state, however, Saleem was an assistant gymnastics coach at the University of Iowa from 1999-2001 and West Virginia University from 2002-08. She also was the head women’s gymnastics coach at IU Pennsylvania for a season.
During Saleem’s first season coaching the Cardinals, the team won fifth place at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Championship, the highest finish since 2011, according to Ball State Sports.
During the same season, one Ball State gymnast was named a MAC Gymnast of the Week and two were named MAC Specialists of the Week. The team also defeated Big Ten conference opponent Iowa, recorded 24 career high scores and achieved the highest beam score since 2004.
Denasiha Christian earned a 9.925 on her floor exercise to win the MAC Floor Championship and was named to the 2014 All-MAC Second Team and MAC All-Tournament Team.
In 2015, two 2014 USA Junior Olympic national competitors were signed to the team: Jordyn Penny, who placed seventh, and Clare Collins, who placed 18th, in the Junior Olympics.
The 2016 season brought the Mid-American Conference Championship to Ball State, where the team placed second. Also during that year, ten gymnasts were awarded MAC Academic Honors, five were selected to compete in the NCAA Regional competition in Iowa City, Iowa, the team scored a career high of 195.650 at the MAC Championships and a total of 15 gymnasts earned career high scores.
Gymnasts Sydney Finke, Kayla Beckler and Kaitlyn Menzione tied for first place on floor with 9.925 in 2017, and in the same year the team broke the school record on floor with a score of 49.500 during its Senior Night competition against Western Michigan.
Most recently, the team has named a new assistant coach, Cassandra Ringer, who previously served as the graduate assistant coach and choreographer at Illinois State.