After Friday night's Royal Ball in downtown Muncie, the Ball State gymnastics team (9-4, 3-0 MAC) regained focus as it faced Bowling Green (3-5, 1-2 MAC). The Cardinals defeated the Falcons last weekend, 195.000-194.275, in the Denver Quad.

Going into the final event, floor, the Cardinals were trailing the Falcons, 146.300-145.925. The Cardinals needed a rally to win the meet. 

And rally they did. 

Freshman Tia Kiaku tied for first with a score of 9.875 and junior Sydney Finke tool third with a score of 9.850. That would be enough for the comeback as the Cardinals would edge out the Falcons, 195.000-194.275.

The Cardinals started off with their strongest event on vault. The Cardinals currently hold the top score on vault in the Mid-American Conference. Sophomore Bri Slonim lead the charge placing second with a score of 9.800. Sophomore Maddie Macdonald and Jordyn Penny would follow, both finishing with a score of 9.725.

“Usually if you have a really good event, you can build off of that and start from there,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “Today, we didn’t really have our best vault rotation, but they did a really good job of letting that go, moving on and focusing on what they needed to do.

On the uneven bars, the Cardinals struggled a bit with two separate routines falling, causing their average to drop. While the Cardinals struggled on the event, the team continued to be resilient throughout the meet.

“It’s critical for us to finish our routines,” Saleem said. “We could’ve easily lost this meet if we had lost focused on what our job is in doing our gymnastics. There’s were a few bumps in the road, but we continued to keep the focus where we needed to go.”

While the Cardinals bars rotation was a little turbulent, a few Cardinals had some solid routines. Penny finished in first place with a score of 9.900, followed by Macdonald and junior Kaitlyn Menzione tying for second with a score of 9.850.

“As a team we build off of each other and we're supposed to have each other’s backs,” Penny said. “If someone has a mistake, I know that I need to hit my routine for the. I’ve been in this situation before, so I knew what to do which is to do what I do in the gym.”

Penny continued to rally going into beam as she tied for first, with senior Baylee Bell, with a score of 9.825.

“My beam routine made me feel really good.” Penny said. “That’s something I’ve been really struggling on this season and I’ve been trying really hard in the gym to get that consistency back. I have to get out of my own head and doing that has helped me a lot this season.”

With this meet in the books, the Cardinals have a quick turnaround as they will face Iowa on Friday.

"The big goal for us is to continue to do solid gymnastics,” Saleem said. “Having another good away score, with some consistent gymnastics, against a Big 10 school should be fun.” 

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