The Mid-American Conference gymnastics Championships were held at Worthen Arena on March 19. DN PHOTO KELLEN HAZELIP
Gymnastics takes 2nd at MAC Championships
Correction: The Daily News previously reported that no Ball State gymnasts qualified for regional competition. The NCAA announced the qualifiers today and four Cardinals were included as individual competitors and one other was named an alternate.
Ball State gymnastics took second place at the Mid-American Conference Championships Saturday.
Even with Ball State's season high of 195.650 points, however, its season-long average was not enough to qualify them for regional competition.
Ball State gymnasts qualified for Regionals
Sr. Denashia Christian – Vault, floor
Jr. Sarah Ebeyer – Vault, floor
So. Jordyn Penny – Uneven bars, alternate for vault and Balance beam
So. Baylee Bell – Balance beam
Jr. Kayla Beckler – Alternate for uneven bars
Though the team did not qualify, four Cardinals qualified for the regional competition as individuals.
Senior Denasiha Christian finished with top scores in the vault and floor during the championships.
Christian was named Floor Champion for the third consecutive year after matching her career high with a score of 9.950. She said she was not expecting any postseason competition but qualified as an individual for regionals.
“I feel really good. I actually feel even better about the fact that we got second as a team [for the first time] in the four years I have been here, and that’s incredible," Christian said. "College athletics is incredible and on top of that, doing this for twenty years, this was an amazing end to it. It is very bittersweet, but I am completely satisfied.”
Throughout the regular season, Ball State finished with a conference record of 1-5. Head coach Joanna Saleem said one of the team's goals since the start of the season was to finish in the regular season top three.
“We fell short of [third place] a little bit, but every meet we competed, we [finished] just a couple tenths away,” Saleem said.
The Cardinals continued to make improvements throughout the season, Saleem said, working on consistency within their respected routines.
Saleem said Ball State came into the MAC championships knowing the competition was wide open.
“The MAC Championship was really about which team was on the floor at that time period doing the best, because the MAC is a really strong conference, so it’s exciting to see us do well,” she said.
On top of the team's overall success, several individuals posted season highs on multiple events.
Saleem said she was proud of her team’s perseverance in the competition and happy with how far they have come.
“It’s just nice that we are here," she said. "It was really exciting to be able to see them in a great, fun meet, and I think they did really well."