The Ball State gymnastics team (4-7, 2-1 MAC) suffered its first conference loss to Bowling Green (2-11, 1-2 MAC) by a score of 194.950-193.625
Many of the team's point deductions can be linked to the team’s various falls throughout the event.
“The falls were our low points tonight,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “When you fall off the equipment you give up wins.”
While the team was able to stay in the competition throughout, the falls in routines and smaller mistakes really showed on the scoreboard. The final score was 1.800 points lower than their season high score of 195.425 last week against Central Michigan. The team's performance against Bowling Green was also the lowest score since the Illinois/Missouri tri-meet earlier this season.
"We had some mental errors and mistakes, but when you're going up against a MAC school, in their home arena, you can't make those mistakes and come out on top," Saleem said. "The team did a really nice job of staying in it until the very last routine and that is something we've done rally well this year. However, we really put ourselves in a really big hole on the bars and beam event. You have to do a bit better in order to beat a MAC school at their home venue."
One of the major highlights of the night was from senior Kayla Beckler, who had the Cardinals' only first-place finish of the night on floor with a score of 9.825. Beckler also tied for second on the parallel bars, with junior Jordyn Penny, scoring 9.800.
“Focusing on detail allowed me to be successful tonight,” Beckler said. “I try to engage with the judges, perform my routine and have fun with my teammates.”’
Other notable finishes include a third place tie on vault from senior Sarah Ebeyer and freshman Maddie MacDonald with a score of 9.800. That was a career-best for MacDonald. Freshman Bri Slonim got second on beam with a score of 9.800.
“Slonim had two people fall in front of her on the beam event,” Saleem said. “For her to go up and tie for second is not easy to do, especially when you’re a freshman. MacDonald also had a nice vault performance and again, as a freshman, to see her perform and see her get better was great.”
Even though the Cardinals didn't pull off the win, the meet wasn't a total loss. According to Beckler, there is always positives to pull out of every meet no matter what the score is.
"We stayed together as a team and had some personal scores improve," Beckler said. "After this meet, we know what we need to work on, in the gym, this week."
Starting this week, the national rankings will flip from calculating a team's overall average score in all their meets to the RQS system. RQS is calculated by taking a team's top six regular season meet scores (three scores must be from away competition). The highest score is removed and the average is taken from the five remaining scores. The Cardinals look to climb the rankings with this change.
"You're going to see some changes in the national rankings just because of the RQS factor," Saleem said. "Getting away to another meet next week and having another good all-around score will really help us increase our RQS."
On Friday, the Cardinals will face one of their biggest challenges yet as they go against the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Last season, the Eagles finished one spot ahead of the Cardinals to claim the MAC championship. This season, the Eagles are currently leading the MAC standings and sit eight spots ahead of the Cardinals in the national rankings.
"We want to make a few minor changes for next meet by giving some of the people in the seven and eight spots, who are performing well, a shot in the actual line-up," Saleem said. "Bringing them into the line-up will give us a fresh perspective and a new life into our competition.
The team will continue their away schedule next week as they go against Eastern Michigan on Friday.