After a slow start on bars, sophomore Marissa Nychyk and the Cardinals caught fire and scored another season high of 194.875 in Denver.
After starting off 5-1 this season, Ball State Gymnastics was met with a true test of strength against a fifth-ranked Denver team. Head coach Joanna Saleem said the team stuck with their regular training leading up to the meet against Denver instead of trying to make changes.
“We are basically doing the same preparation we do for every competition,” Saleem said. “The sport of gymnastics is really about competing against yourself and making sure you're coming in each day in each meet trying to get a little bit better than we were before, and our focus has to remain on us and what we're doing. We can't control what the other team does.”
Denver started off on vault with a team score of 49.225, with its lowest competition score being a 9.800. After the impressive start, it kept up the pace by notching a 49.475 on bars.
After the Pioneers put up a score of 49.300 on beam, it appeared no one would be able to catch them. They finished with a total of 197.495 after a 49.425 on floor.
Ball State started with 47.900 on bars and bounced back with a 48.675. As the day went on, the Cardinals got hot, finishing up with a 49.200 on floor and 49.100 on vault.
“I think this team has been really good at staying focused on where they are and letting go of mistakes, and that has been one of our strengths,” Saleem said. “To be able to have a little bit of a rough start in the beginning, they just let it go and went out and did the rest of the meet the way they know how to, which was definitely necessary to come up with another high score and secure the win against Air Force.”
Standouts for Ball State included Nychyk and sophomore Stefanie Schweikert, who led the team in the strong finish in floor and vault to secure the win over Air Force. Junior Arden Hudson also did well on beam with a score of 9.825.
On vault, the lowest competitive score for the Cardinals was a 9.800 and a 9.825 on floor. The Cardinals received better than a 49 in both of their final events
Schweikert received a career-high 9.875 on floor and a 9.850 on vault, and
Nychyk received a 38.975 in all-around, leading the team.
“You look at the whole team effort, and that's what's really incredible about this group,” Saleem said. “We have a couple strong performances from some of these individuals, but overall, we couldn't have done what we did without the whole group coming in and staying consistent and together.”
Finishing 1-1 in Denver, the Cardinals advanced to 6-2 on the season and will travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan, next weekend to compete against Western Michigan.
“It is continuing to try to stay focused to get a little bit better in each competition, and so far, they're sticking with that,” Saleem said. “Our goal is to build off of the mistakes that we make today and come back next weekend and be a little bit stronger than we were last week. That's been the plan, and we're going to keep trying to rise throughout the rest of the season.”