Freshmen exposure key for Ball State Gymnastics to succeed

<p>Ball State Gymnastics hosted its annual Red vs. White scrimmage Monday. Athletes were split up, and scores were given by guest judges after each event. <strong>Drew Pierce, DN</strong></p>

Ball State Gymnastics hosted its annual Red vs. White scrimmage Monday. Athletes were split up, and scores were given by guest judges after each event. Drew Pierce, DN

With eight incoming freshmen, senior Sydney Finke said Ball State Gymnastics will need to come together as a team to get these young competitors acclimated to collegiate play. The young Cardinals will look to the two seniors, Finke and Kaitlyn Menzione, to show leadership and guidance to start the season on a strong note.

“Knowing my role and being able to be there when the team needs me is going to be important,” Finke said. 

The Cardinals kicked of their season hosting their annual Red vs. White intrasquad scrimmage Monday. 

Only having two seniors on the team, Finke said it is important for the freshmen to get used to this type of competition. Finke believes things will start heating up once the freshmen come together as a team.

“I would like to see our team be more confident,” Finke said. “After having this meet under their belt, they are going to know how to do things. It is just going to flow better as a team.”

Despite the Cardinals finishing last season with a 9-10 record with only two wins in the MAC, head coach Joanna Saleen said her mindset is clear.

“We have started a whole new year,” Saleen said. “It is really just about focusing on what is this team’s potential, and what are their capabilities and then making sure we are maximizing that.”

During the scrimmage, the team was split up into two squads that competed against each other for points. The points were awarded by guest judges and Ball State’s own Charlie Cardinal. One competitor from Team White and one from Team Red went head-to-head in each of the four competitions. After each matchup, the judges picked a color they thought performed best. 

Team White jumped to an early 2-1 lead after seizing the vault round. Team Red was able to get back in it with help from freshman Sandra Elsadek to secure a 3-2 lead through the uneven bars round. It was all Team Red from there as they dominated the competition in both the beam and floor rounds. Team Red went on to win the meet, 7-5.

This annual event allows the team to work out any kinks and get used to playing as a team. Although it isn’t an official competition, each gymnast treats it as such and uses the opportunity to grow as an athlete. 

“We have such a long preseason for gymnastics, so... we try and simulate some sort of pressure for competition,” Saleen said. “There is really nothing like getting out here on the competition floor in front of fans.”

The Cardinals will officially start the 2019 season in Washington D.C. Jan. 13 against George Washington, Cornell and North Carolina. 

Contact Drew Pierce with comments at or on Twitter @dpierce3cc.


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