GYMNASTICS: Ball State has regionals on the brain

Cards have three meets to raise scores for postseason

The Ball State gymnastics team might be forgiven for doing some scoreboard watching as the season winds down.

With three meets left, the Cardinals are doing everything they can to keep pace with some of the top teams in the country in order to qualify for the NCAA postseason.

Unlike most sports, wins and losses aren't the determinant for the postseason. Instead, the NCAA uses a system that calculates a regional qualifying score as the benchmark for qualification.

Coach Nadalie Walsh said she "absolutely" keeps an eye on her team's RQS, but it isn't a talking point during practice.

"We don't talk about it too much as a team," she said. "The girls that are a little bit more experienced, they fully, 100 percent know what's going on. … All they know right now is they just need to do their gymnastics."

Ball State is the No. 43 team in the country, seven spots and 1.095 points out of qualifying for the postseason as a team.

Last week's season-high score raised the Cardinals' RQS by 0.9 points and lifted them three spots in the national standings.

Walsh said she shared the details of the postseason with some of the team leaders before the season began.

"I think that them having the knowledge of how a regional qualifying score works is really important," she said.

Junior Brittney Emmons is one gymnast who monitors her and her team's scores.

"I think it's a good thing to be able to know who your competition is and see how far away [you are]," she said. "Right now, we're really not that far behind."

Emmons is looking to go to regionals for the third straight season. Last year, Emmons qualified in the all-around and was joined by Bibiana Rodriguez (uneven bars) and Tiffany Brodbeck (floor exercise). Katelyn Busacker was the alternate on the bars as well.

If regional qualifiers were determined today, Emmons and sophomore Nicole Allen would represent Ball State in the all-around based on data found at Sophomore Emily Wehrle would be the balance beam alternate.

Qualifiers will be announced during the week following the Mid-American Conference championships, which will be held March 19.

"At each meet, [we want to] replace a score that we have," Walsh said. "Drop one out, put one in."



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