Ball State athletes, coaches react to season cancellations
Editor’s Note: The Daily News worked to find social media posts from each sport but was unsuccessful for men’s tennis, men's swimming and diving and women's swimming and diving.
The Mid-American Conference made the announcement March 12 it would be canceling regular season, championship and non-traditional competition for the rest of the 2019-20 academic school year due to concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The cancellation included the men's and women's MAC Basketball Tournaments in Cleveland and the upcoming MAC Gymnastics Championship in Kalamazoo, Michigan, March 21. Here is how Ball State athletes and coaches reacted to the announcement.
At 12:10 p.m. March 12, it was announced at Rocket Morgagatge FieldHouse in Cleveland the 2020 MAC Tournament would be canceled. The announcement came a day after Ball State Women's Basketball and eight other teams competed in quarterfinal play March 11.
No. 3 Ball State Men's Basketball was scheduled to play No. 6 Kent State March 12 before the tournament was canceled. Redshirt senior forward Tahjai Teague, redshirt senior guard Josh Thompson and redshirt freshman guard Jarron Coleman were a few to react to the announcement.
Ball State Men's Basketball finished its season 18-13 overall and 11-7 in conference play. Teague finished on the All-Conference First Team and All-Conference Defensive Team. Coleman was named MAC Freshman of the Year and made the All-Conference Freshman Team. Junior guard Ishmael El-Amin was named to the All-Conference Third Team.
For Ball State Women's Basketball, the Cardinals fell to No. 7 Eastern Michigan in MAC quarterfinal play 64-63. They finished the season 21-10 overall and 13-5 in MAC play. The team graduates senior guards Arbrie Benson and Aliyah Walker and graduate student guard Jasmin Samz.
The Cardinals also saw junior forward Oshlynn Brown be named to the All-Conference First Team and freshman guard Sydney Freeman to the All-Conference Freshman Team.
Ball State Gymnastics ended its season with one of its best finishes in years. The Cardinals set a team overall score record against North Carolina March 8 at Worthen Arena, defeating the Tarheels 195.850-195.375. The team was scheduled to take on Michigan March 13 and Central Michigan March 15 before they were canceled.
Despite the news, the team went out for frozen yogurt to celebrate its successful finish.
The team graduates three seniors in Maddie MacDonald, Bri Slonim and Rachel Benoit. Many of the gymnasts took to Twitter following the MAC and NCAA announcements.
Ball State was led by a handful of highlightable performances and routines. Junior Claudia Goyco hit a career high score on floor of 9.925 against Northern Illinois, tying for seventh in program history in the event. Sophomore Marissa Nychyk hit a 9.900 on vault twice this season, tying for fifth all time in the program. Junior Arden Hudson tied a program high on the balance beam with a score of 9.900 against Western Michigan.
Ball State Men's Volleyball was scheduled to play Lincoln Memorial March 13 at the Jo Ann Gora Recreation Center before it was canceled. The Cardinals finished their season 12-6 overall and 4-3 in Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association play.
The team collected big wins over No. 7 Penn State and Ohio State this season. Head coach Joel Walton recorded his 400th career win against Loyola Chicago 3-2 Feb. 23. The team graduates six seniors in Nick LaVanchy, Blake Reardon, Nate Amos, Jake Romano, Matt Szews and Courtland Scharenborg.
Ball State Softball ended its early season at 18-9. The team was preparing to return to the Midwest in a weekend series against Michigan in Ann Arbor. That series would've been followed by the team's home opener against Purdue Fort Wayne.
The Cardinals had an impressive showing in the early season, going 5-0 in the Hilltopper Classic and 4-1 in the UCF Invitational. Ball State played its final game against Samford March 8, winning 2-0. Senior Gabby Magnifico and sophomore Becca Clanton scored the two runs for the Cardinals. Freshman Deborah Jones pitched a shutout, striking out six.
The team graduates five seniors in Haley Dominique, Alyssa Rothwell, Magnifico, Kennedy Wynn and Janae Hogg.
Ball State Baseball finished its season 7-9 overall, playing its final game at home against Purdue Fort Wayne March 10. Ball State won the game 9-4. The Cardinals were scheduled to play a series against Dayton the following weekend.
Ball State recorded a handful of wins in the early season, one coming against Kansas Feb. 29 7-4. The team had a strong showing at the Swing and Swine Classic, going 3-1 with wins over Richmond, Longwood and Yale.
In their final game, the Cardinals were led by senior Chase Sebby, batting in three runs. Redshirt sophomore Noah Navarro scored three times for Ball State and recorded four hits. On the mound, Tyler Ruetschle picked up the win, striking out four over the course of two innings.
The team graduates nine seniors in Aaron Simpson, Noah Powell, Nolan Gazouski, Sebby, Ross Messina, John Baker, Mike Pachmayer, Lukas Jaksich and Garett Simmons.
Ball State Men's and Women's Golf were at the tail end of their winter seasons when it was announced they would no longer be playing for the rest of the season. Men's golf was going to play in the Mason Rudolph Championship in Tennessee in early April, while the women were scheduled to compete in the EKU Classic in Kentucky in late March.
The men finished their season at the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate where they finished in 11th. Redshirt junior Tyler Green led the way, shooting a 209 to finish 7 under par. The women finished their season at the Jackrabbit Invitational, taking eighth place. Ball State was led by senior Manon Tounalom, who finished with a 235 at 19 over par.
Tounalom is the lone senior for the women's team, and Keegan Bronnenberg is the lone senior for the men's team.
Ball State Men's and Women's Tennis both finished their seasons with winning records. The women finished 10-2, while the men finished 8-5.
The women finished their season with a 4-3 win over California Riverside, where the Cardinals found the majority of their success in doubles play. The men defeated California San Diego 6-1, picking up seven sweeps. The men were scheduled to play Northwestern and Chicago State March 14, while the women were scheduled to play Butler March 18.
Both teams will be returning all of their players for the 2020-21 school year.
Track and Field
Ball State Track and Field ended its season having only participated in seven of its 18 potential meets. The Cardinals' next meet was scheduled for March 21 against Butler in Indianapolis.
The Cardinals came in first out of 10 teams in the Mastodon Opener — their first meet of the season. In the Ball State Tune-Up Feb. 21, Senior Kelsey Walters broke the program's shot put record in three of her six throws. A week later at the MAC Indoor Championships, junior MaQuila Norman became the 200-meter MAC Champion, and Ball State placed third out of 12 teams.
Graduating seniors include Bryeana Byrdsong, Hannah Cummings, Megan Graves, Jasmine Harris, Amber Jones, Peyton Kneadler, Maritza Rodriguez, Brooke Talhelm, Walters and Lauren Whitehouse.
Swimming and Diving
The announcement of the cancellation of remaining competition came the same day the men's and women's swimming and diving teams participate in day one of the National Invitational Championships. Days two and three, scheduled to occur the following two days, were subsequently canceled.
The men finished the season 2-4 overall in head-to-head meets and 1-1 in MAC competition. The women finished 5-6 overall and 1-3 in the MAC.
The men graduate six seniors in Logan Ackley, Ben Andrew, Spencer Ball, Jack Luddy, Adam Pongracz and Jacob Powell. The women's seniors included Sophie Bader, Rachel Bertram, Cassidy Blackwin, Peighton Gilbert, Elizabeth Graham and Anne Vormohr.
Zach Piatt also contributed to this story.