Drew Pierce is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the paper. Write to Drew at email@example.com.
Following a rather disappointing end to the season last spring, Ball State Gymnastics is not messing around and is proving to be a threat to the Mid-American Conference.
After finishing in last place out of seven MAC teams, the Cardinals have rebounded this season with tremendous fire and momentum. Despite the underwhelming final finish, the pieces to a championship squad were there. They just couldn’t all come together at the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois.
With the only way to go but up after the MAC tournament, the Cardinals took it to heart and are ready to prove something this season.
In 2020, the Cardinals are 5-1 with one conference win already under their belt. Ball State’s only loss of 2020 came against Iowa. Since then, the Cardinals have been perfect. Wins over Air force, Pittsburgh, Southeast Missouri State, and Wisconsin-La Crosse posed big challenges and even bigger victories for Ball State.
The biggest win of 2020 came in a demanding 194.200-192.725 victory over conference foe Bowling Green. Although the Falcons finished only in fifth last spring at the MAC tournament, dominating a conference school is big, especially this early in the season.
The win against Bowling Green came at the first home match of the year. Performing in front of a home crowd is feeding this team the energy it needs to carry through the spring. The Cardinals will grace Worthen Arena three more times this season.
Although Ball State’s leading figure on the team, Sydney Finke, graduated at the end of last season, there are a couple of gymnasts working to fill those shoes. Senior Rachel Benoit and Sophomore Sandra Elsadek are just two Cardinals stepping up and becoming consistent leaders.
I know that it is very early to sit here and say that Ball State is going to win the MAC this year. It will be a tough road ahead, but the Cardinals are motivated for all of the right reasons. This is on top of holding a very talented roster.
The remaining matches in 2020 will be much harder than those that have already concluded.
Ball State will have to rate on No. 13 Georgia, North Carolina and No. 8 Michigan in addition to an array of MAC schools in the coming weeks.
If the Cardinals can harness this energy and use it to roll through the rest of the schedule, they will be in the perfect position for the MAC tournament in March.
All things considered, the Cardinals are on the right track and have the momentum to become a conference-leading team this spring.