The Ball State Club Gymnastics team salutes the crowd at the inaugural Cardinal Cup on Feb. 2 at Anderson Gymnastics and Cheer. The team practices three times a week in Muncie and Anderson. Jack Williams, DN
Ball State club gymnastics creates, competes in first Cardinal Cup
If you’re going the speed limit down Broadway Avenue, you’re going to miss the turn.
If you make the turn on School Street, but stop at the dead end sign, you haven’t gone far enough.
However, if you make the turn around the bend into the parking lot, you’ll arrive at Anderson Gymnastics and Cheer. While the 30-year-old studio is set to close, it served as a new beginning for Ball State’s Club Gymnastics team Saturday as they hosted eight different teams around the midwest in the inaugural Cardinal Cup.
“Setting this has been pretty hectic, to be honest,” club president and senior architecture major Jeremy Taylor said. “Trying to get teams to come, reaching out to people, sending out emails, getting all the awards and setting up the gym were a big task. However, it was worth it, we had fun and pulled it off.”
Members of the eight-member club–made up of Taylor, freshman Anne Schneider, sophomores Sara Kennelly and Hannah Gunnell, juniors Mia Marerro and Haley Wiley, and graduate students Nick Ferguson and Lexi Starost – said it hasn’t been easy when it comes to practicing either.
The team carpools three times a week to practice at either Cole Academy of Dance Gymnastics and Cheerleading in Muncie or Anderson Gymnastics and Cheer.
“We meet once in Anderson then twice a week at Cole Academy,” Kennelly said. “Usually practices are about two hours long and we just kind of float around.”
According to Kennelly, there really isn’t a lot of real direction in practices. It’s mostly self-motivated.The biggest difference between the club and other sports at Ball State is that they don’t have a coach. Instead, the club uses a self-coaching and peer-coaching method where members help themselves and each other in preparation for competition. Kennelly said that this was a weird adjustment she had to make when she first became a part of the club.
“Coming from competing and having a coach, it was a little difficult,” Kennelly said. “The self-coaching allows us to work on what we want to work on. If you want to be really good on floor, you can work on floor for the entire two hours.”
While the team is open to everyone, each members of the club brings their own background and experience. Taylor and Wiley are listed as the team’s “coaches” with experience in the area under their belt.
“Haley and myself are gymnastics coaches for lower level children and I’m gymnastics certified,” Taylor said. “In the process, we all kind of tag team it. It’s easier for college kids to understand things phonetically, more than children. It can be complicated, but it’s much easier than coaching children.”
After months of preparation, the meet was set as teams from Xavier, Dayton, Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan, Grand Valley State, Washington, Ohio State and alumni of the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs took to the competition floor.
“I was a little stressed, but I was really excited to see all the people come in,” Taylor said. “I was hoping to see everyone, get to know them and have a good meet.”
Alongside competing, many of the members made sure the meet ran smoothly by running scores, announcing scores and handing out awards.
“It wasn’t too bad for me since I’m injured at the moment, so I only competed in one event, but it was just making sure everything was taken care of,” Taylor said.
There were a few kinks including the national anthem being replaced by the Pledge of Allegiance and the entire Dayton team leaving in the middle of awards, but in the end, the Cardinal Cup ran smoothly.
“It went a lot smoother than I thought it was going to,” Kennelly said. “Honestly, I thought this was going to be a little bit of a disaster with teams canceling on us and a few teams not going to our meet for another one. I’m glad that people came to the meet and gave it a shot.”
The future of the Cardinal Cup isn’t set-in-stone as the club is looking for other facilities, the team is motivated to keep going after the success of the inaugural meet.
“If there’s another opportunity to host a meet, we will take it on,” Taylor said. “It’s really rewarding to put all this effort into it and see everyone have a good time.”