Cardinals leave MAC Championship meet with positive outlook, notable honors

The gymnastics team huddles up for one last time as a team on Senior Day Feb. 28, 2021, at John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals lost their first meet this season in a 194.300-194.225 loss the the Western Michigan Broncos. Grace Walton, DN
The gymnastics team huddles up for one last time as a team on Senior Day Feb. 28, 2021, at John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals lost their first meet this season in a 194.300-194.225 loss the the Western Michigan Broncos. Grace Walton, DN

This meet was not like other meets. 

This was the Mid-American Conference Championship meet, where all the top programs in the conference gathered in one arena to compete head-to-head. 

Through all four rotations Saturday afternoon, Ball State (14-3, 9-2 MAC) placed fifth out of seven teams and recorded an overall score 194.800.  Eastern Michigan placed first with a score of 195.900 and although Ball State did not finish at the top of the standings, Saleem was proud of how the Cardinals competed. 

“Overall, we ended up with a solid meet,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “It wasn't quite enough today to take that first place and while we weren't quite there today, there were still a lot of great things that happened.”

The Cardinals’ first event of the day came on the bars, where they recorded a score of 48.750. Sophomore Megan Teter finished with a team-high score of 9.850. 

In the next two events, Ball State scored 48.400 (floor) and 48.625 (beam). Freshman Hannah Ruthberg led Ball State with a 9.900 on the floor while sophomore Taylor Waldo tallied a team-high 9.850 score on beam. 

“They did a great job on the floor,” Saleem said. “We had an amazing routine there at the beginning — there was lots of excitement.”

In the vault, the Cardinals scored 49.025. Junior Marrissa Nychyk scored a 9.850, good for a share of first place in the individual vault event. 

At the conclusion of the meet, representatives from the MAC handed out season-ending awards. Freshman Victoria Henry received All-MAC Second Team honors while Ruthberg and Nychyk were named to the MAC All-Tournament Team. 

However, Saleem’s athletes weren’t the only ones receiving accolades Saturday as she was awarded MAC Coach of the Year. In a season unlike any other, Saleem is grateful for her coaching peers for pushing her to do her best. 

“I definitely was surprised,” Saleem said. “My co-coaches out there and across the MAC have all worked really hard. I think it’s a testament to how great these other coaches are and for my peers to vote that award to me, it means a lot to me.”

The Cardinals will wait and see if they’re selected for the NCAA Regional Championship April 1-3. If so, Saleem believes their performance at the MAC Championship meet can help build their momentum. 

“We're on that bubble for qualifying for regionals,” Saleem said. “They showed a lot of grit out there today, and I think it's something really awesome to build on going forward into the future.”

Contact Charleston Bowles with comments at clbowles@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cbowles01.

Comments

More from The Daily






This Week's Digital Issue