The gymnastics team's home winning streak came to an end two weeks ago against Western Michigan. On Friday the Cardinals will look to start a new one at the 16th annual Cardinal Classic.
At 7 p.m. the squad will host the Classic against five other schools. The visiting teams are Bowling Green, Illinois-Chicago, North Carolina, Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Wisconsin-River Falls.
Mid-American Conference foe Bowling Green presents the greatest challenge for Ball State. The Falcons have posted the 19th highest total team score in the nation this year. Ball State has managed only the 35th best score, but head coach Mary Roth said that does not seem to bother .
"Scores don't make any difference," Roth said. "It depends on the meet. It depends on the judges. What was their score anyway? They have a 194.7 and we have a 194.5? We'll see how that holds up."
Roth said she is much more concerned with how her athletes perform instead of what the final score is. And Bowling Green has one of the MAC best individuals in Marny Oestreng. She is the MAC's reigning Gymnast of the Week. She earned the award for her four, first-place finishes in Bowling Green's victory over Central Michigan.
"The ultimate goal of every meet is for each individual to hit her routines," Roth added. "If each individual hits her routine, we're going to have a great team score. Gymnastics is an individual sport that in college becomes a team sport."
Roth said problems arise when too much attention is paid to the score.
"We don't even pay attention to what the other team is doing," she said. "In a big meet, I will think about the team score and if we are ahead, fine. If we're not, that's not a big concern."
Going into the meet, the team is confident that every individual who is competing is ready to go.
"Our seniors don't like losing," Roth said. "Our girls are aggressive and confident they can do a good routine."
This year's Cardinal Classic will also serve as the team's senior meet. The senior team members and their parents will be honored. Although it is only Ball State's second home meet, it is also their last before the Mid-American Conference Championships on March 23.
Seniors on the team include Jenny Gantt, Jamie Irwin, Renee Planck, and Miesha Williams.