MUNCIE, INDIANA--- On Saturday March 18, Ball State gymnastics took home the hardware at one of the programs most successful Mid-American Conference, MAC, championships, ever.
Junior Victoria Henry captured first place on the vault with a personal best score of 9.950.
“It meant a lot,” Henry said. “I literally almost went into tears when I landed. I was in the crowd and was like ‘boom’ I broke my record.”
Junior Suki Pfister took home a second consecutive MAC specialist of the year award. An honor given to a gymnast that specializes in only certain events.
“It meant a lot, just because I had won it the previous year, I didn’t think they’d select me again,” Pfister said.
Head Coach Joanna Saleem secured the MAC gymnastics head coach of the year honor for the second time in just three years.
“It’s definitely a humbling feeling, and you’re immensely excited about it,” Saleem said. “I think to me it’s just reinforcement of what a great group of people I have around me.”
Those personal accomplishments contributed greatly as Ball State captured the runner up spot at the MAC Championship as an overall group. Pfister and Henry both know that without this special group of gymnasts around them, all of these awards wouldn’t be possible.
“We’re very united as a team, and that really helps when we’re competing,” Pfister said. “We just stay in our own little bubble, and we just support each other.”
“Everyone contributes to the team in their own way,” Henry said. “I think that’s what makes this team special, compared to previous years.”
Head Coach Saleem couldn’t agree more.
“Having that authentic relationship with one another has been something I truly value with this group,” Saleem said.
Now, because of their efforts, the cardinals are on their way to the NCAA regionals for the second time in program history. The gymnasts know that with the tough competition ahead, they need to zone in.
“They really are focusing on, ‘hey what do we need to do this week to prepare for just another competition?’” Saleem said.
As the biggest meet of Pfister and Henry’s careers draws closer to reflect on not only what they need to do, but what their fellow cards must do as well to ensure that this NCAA outing is a successful one.
“I want to be present in the moment, and just enjoy the meet with my teammates,” Pfister said.
“We need to perform to our fullest without being scared or nervous,” Henry said. “Without the nerves, we can do some damage.”
Ball State will hit the floor, the bars, the vault and the beam once again on Wednesday March 23, at the NCAA Regionals in Norman, Oklahoma, as they take on NC State, and look to bring even more hardware back to Muncie.
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