Ball State gymnastics heads down south Jan. 20 to take on No. 25 North Carolina State and the College of William & Mary in a tri-meet in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Cardinals are coming off their first win of the season against Northern Illinois Jan. 15.
“Any time you come off of a tough win like that, it helps to build confidence and they know they can stay in it until the very last routine,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “We’re using our last win to keep the focus and make sure that you don’t give up regardless if there are mistakes or not, that you keep fighting till the last event is finished.”
Ball State comes into the meet with a 1-2 record, while NC State and William & Mary are both 1-3. The Cardinals, though, are keeping their focus on their own performance on the mat.
“I know what my team can do going in and that they are focused and determined,” Saleem said. “I know when they when down there last season they loved the environment, taking that energy to a place where they have had fun and done well will be a benefit for us.”
Sophomore Kaitlyn Menzione won the all-around against Northern Illinois with a score of 38.950. In the last two meets, Menzione has found success in staying consistent, keeping her scores in each event between 9.7 and 9.8.
“Honestly, when I’m performing, I really don’t think about the scores, but just doing my thing,” Menzione said. “What I do in the practice gym, I do on the competition floor and the routines usually stay relatively close.”
NC State brings some power in the all-around event with junior Chelsea Knight. She was a NCAA regional championship contender on vault and was named first-team All-Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League on vault and in all-around in 2016. This season, Knight has averaged 39.350 in the all-around score. Menzione said she's not intimidated.
While the Cardinals will not face another MAC opponent until February, the non-conference schedule still gives them an opportunity to build their résumé.
“To be able to qualify for Regionals, you need to be in the top 36,” Saleem said. “Obviously the win/loss in the MAC is important for us in being able to be ranked in the conference, but it’s also important to be in national rankings. We need a good solid score in an away meet because you count some home meets and some away meets and it’s really good to have those away scores in getting into regionals.”
The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 20.