PREVIEW: Ball State gymnastics MAC Championships
After a successful Spring Break in which the Ball State gymnastics team (6-10, 3-4 MAC) saw five season-high scores and a school record, the team will head off to Bowling Green to compete in the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Head coach Joanna Saleem said since the beginning of the season, the team has worked to the point where it would begin peaking at the end of the season.
“We’ve done pretty well in getting to this point and I feel like they have been better now than they have at any point of the season,” Saleem said. “It really is a great feeling to know you are at your peak when you walk on the floor at MAC Championships.”
Cardinals finishes at MAC Championships
2016: 2nd, 195.650
2015: 6th, 193.200
2014: 5th, 193.975
2013: 7th, 192.500
2012: 7th, 192.950
In the Regional Qualifying Score pool, it was shown that the Cardinals had the second highest average on the vault event in the MAC, with a score of 48.960. Going into Saturday, the team looks to use this conference high score as an advantage.
“We’re starting off on vault on Saturday, so it’s great to come out and start strong,” Saleem said. “We are also finishing on floor, so this is going to be very similar to a home meet. Being able to start off strong and end strong is great for us.”
The team will also be returning four gymnasts who qualified for regionals last year in seniors Sarah Ebeyer and Kayla Beckler and juniors Jordyn Penny and Baylee Bell. Those who qualified for regionals last season feel as if they are better prepared for this year’s conference championship.
“Last year was my first MAC championship so I was able to get all the butterflies out,” Penny said. “Going into Saturday, I know exactly what it’s like at MAC and the atmosphere. I’m excited and I’m ready.”
Throughout the season the team has used the slogan “Cross the Line,” meaning taking its performance one step further. This slogan was established after a second-place finish last season at the MAC Championships. With this mindset coming full circle, the team believes it is ready to “cross the line” past last season’s finish.
“You’re going to see a lot of good things at MACs,” Saleem said. “They understand what they are capable of doing. They just need to go out and keep doing what they have been doing for the last two weeks. It’s nice for them to understand that you need to be a hair better than what you were the week before.”
With the team riding a hot streak going into Saturday’s competition, the members believe if they keep carrying that momentum, they will be successful.
“We’ve been building a lot lately,” Penny said. “These last couple of meets we have just gotten better and better. If we just keep building, we can definitely be successful at MAC.”
The meet is at 2 p.m. Saturday.