This time, the Cardinals were on the right side of a narrow margin of victory.
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The Ball State University gymnastics team comes in to its Senior Day still looking to pick up what thus far has been an elusive Mid-American Conference victory.
The 2010 class of the Ball State University gymnastics team will say goodbye to Cardinal fans and Worthen Arena on Sunday. Ball State will face Eastern Michigan University at 1 p.m. in the seniors' final home meet.
The Ball State University gymnastics team will face its second-straight top-25 team when it travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to face No. 23 Central Michigan University.The meet will start at 2 p.m. It is the final event in the Rose Center before its upcoming renovation.If the Cardinals (5-9, 0-4 Mid-American Conference) are to ruin the Chippewas' Senior Day, they will need strong performances from sophomore Brittney Emmons (floor exercise) and senior Bibiana Rodriguez (uneven bars) – both of whom are currently slated to qualify for NCAA Regionals in individual events at the end of the season.Junior Katelyn Busacker and freshman Tiffany Brodbeck are also in the top five on individual events, chasing their teammates on the bars and floor, respectively.Central Michigan (10-2, 3-1 MAC) will be saying goodbye to senior Katie Simon, who will face off against Emmons in the all-around. Simon is the second-best MAC gymnast in the all-around; but Emmons competed well against Kent State University's Christine Abou-Mitri – the top MAC gymnast – when they squared off Feb. 28.The Chippewas will also send off senior Jessica Suder, a balance beam specialist.Central Michigan is 45-11 all-time against Ball State. The Chippewas defeated the Cardinals 192.925-191.525 in 2009.
With a patchwork lineup, the Ball State University gymnastics team put up season highs on the balance beam and floor exercise along with multiple career highsIt just wasn't enough Saturday, as Ball State was defeated by No. 23 Central Michigan University 194.325-193.275.For the second straight week, sophomore Ellie Carrico and freshman Emily Wehrle were each held from competition."We had a lot of girls that we had to rest them," coach Nadalie Walsh said. "We're trying to think about the big picture with conference coming up. If somebody needs an extra day off, we have to make sure we're doing what's best."Ball State (5-10, 0-5 MAC) scored a 48.6 on the beam, including career highs by freshman Nicole Allen (9.675), redshirt freshman Julie Cotter (9.8) and senior Megan Howard (9.675)."We told Nicole, ‘Hey, we're going to need you [on beam],'" Walsh said. "Her confidence as a high-level gymnast shone through today."The beam, which has been a sore point for Ball State this year, was the one event it won Saturday, outscoring Central Michigan's 47.575. Ball State's 48.6 was the 14th-best score in school history.Allen (9.775) and Howard (9.625) had career highs on the floor as well, combining with a career best from freshman Amber Parsley (9.675) and solid scores from freshman Tiffany Brodbeck (9.85) and sophomore Brittney Emmons (9.875) to give the Cardinals their season-best 48.8 on the event. Emmons' floor performance was the only individual victory for Ball State on the day.Walsh said the team had a slow start on the vault and uneven bars, but they came together to encourage each other. The energy let them perform well on the floor, which carried over to the beam.Central Michigan (11-2, 4-1 MAC) withstood these career highs from Ball State, winning three individual events and three team events. The Chippewas margin of victory on the vault (48.875-47.775) was greater than the overall result.Emmons competed well against one of the best all-around gymnasts in the MAC. Senior Katie Simon outlasted Emmons 38.625-38.5 in the all-around in her Chippewa farewell."Brittney is capable of competing against the best in the country," Walsh said. "We're thankful to have her on the team."Central Michigan was also led by senior Jessica Suder, who won the beam, and freshman Emily LaFontaine, who won the bars.Other Cardinal bests came from freshman Morgan Coslow, who had a career-high on the bars with a 9.65, and senior Ashley Jacob's season-high 9.725 on the same event.Walsh said she could be disappointed by the loss but is encouraged by the fact her team was just one point behind one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference.The Cardinals scored above 193 for the third time this season. In the previous two years of Walsh's tenure, Ball State had reached that mark three times total.Ball State will close the regular season March 21 when it hosts Eastern Michigan University in Worthen Arena for Senior Day.
Chalk it up to a learning experience.
The gymnastics team will head to Gainesville, Fla., ready for its toughest matchup of the season. Ball State University will face No. 4 University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at 7 p.m. Friday. "We're going to put on a good show [and] hit everything," graduate assistant coach Will Stokley said. "If you're up, you need to hit [your routine]." Ball State is coming off its second-best score of the season, a 193.15 in a loss to Kent State University. The Cardinals helped themselves by scoring a 9.6 or higher on 16 of their 20 routines. The 9.6 score is a threshold coach Nadalie Walsh said is the goal for each gymnast's routine. She said she wants to be able to raise that minimum goal to a 9.7 in the near future. Twenty scores of 9.7 would give the Cardinals a total score of 194, something they haven't done since 2004. Stokley said the team responded well to last week's performance. "We had a good week of practice," he said. "We're all gearing towards getting our highest team score [of the year]." One event in which the Cardinals are still deciding their lineup is the balance beam. Redshirt freshman Julie Cotter has been sick, Stokley said, and may miss her fifth meet of the season. The Gators (6-2) are ranked in the top six in all four events and have an average score this season of 196.344. Florida comes in with a strong pedigree in gymnastics. The Gators have competed in the NCAA National Championships the last nine years, including a fourth-place finish in 2009. "This is a great learning experience for the girls to see what we're aiming for," Stokley said. The Southeastern Conference is a powerhouse in gymnastics. The University of Georgia has won the last five national championships. In all, 14 of the 28 national titles awarded in gymnastics have gone to SEC schools. This year, three of the top five schools (No. 1 University of Alabama, Florida and No. 5 Georgia) and five of the top 10 (No. 8 University of Arkansas and No. 10 Louisiana State University) are from the SEC. Stokley, an Auburn University graduate, said the budgets for SEC gymnastics programs allow them the opportunities other schools do not. "They've got the nice, brand new gym facilities," he said. "They're able to bring in the good kids. They're able to get the latest leotards. They definitely get the perks." Unlike Ball State, North Carolina (6-3) is a familiar opponent of Florida's. The Tar Heels and Gators compete in the Southeast region during the postseason. North Carolina made it to the Regional Championships in 2009. In 2009, Ball State and North Carolina faced off in a meet at the University of Kentucky. The Tar Heels defeated Cardinals 194.825-193.35 Feb. 27, 2009. North Carolina outscored Ball State in every event but the uneven bars. But this is a new year, and the Cardinals have the potential to defeat the Tar Heels. North Carolina is averaging a 193.315 this season, a score Ball State has eclipsed once this year. The Cardinals also outscored the Tar Heels last weekend. "If we hit [our routines] this meet, then we'll beat North Carolina – definitely," Stokley said. Brittney Emmons, a Florida native, said she is excited for the opportunity to compete in her home state. "I'm so excited," the sophomore said. "A lot of my family is coming down – mom, dad, grandparents. Pretty much everyone I know is going to be at that meet so I'm very excited to be able to go in front of almost a hometown crowd. I cannot wait; I've been counting down the days." Emmons will have her hands full in the all-around. She will be facing Florida freshman Ashanée Dickerson, currently ranked No. 5 in the country. North Carolina senior Kara Wright will also compete in the all-around. Emmons defeated Wright on the floor last year. They tied on the vault, and Wright won the other two events and the all-around.One unique aspect of the meet will be the crowd. Florida has averaged 6,790 fans in their home meets this year, almost 3,000 more fans than Ball State men's basketball draws. "It's a different atmosphere," Stokley said. "We'll be in the spotlight – the big show." Although the lineup is still in fluctuation from week to week due to injuries and resting certain athletes, Stokley said the coaches are well on their way to knowing who the top six gymnasts are on each event and who they will likely go to for the upcoming Mid-American Conference Championships. After the meet, the team will have a mini-Spring Break in Florida over the weekend, hitting a beach and an amusement park, before returning to Muncie on Monday and resuming practice.
Sometimes, success is just about not beating yourself.That's what happened Sunday as the Ball State University gymnastics team was able to keep Kent State University in its sights for the whole meet. The Golden Flashes, two-time defending Mid-American Conference champions and preseason favorites to win a third straight title, outlasted the Cardinals 194.5-193.15.Ball State (5-7, 0-4 Mid-American Conference) was able to count 20 clean routines in Sunday's meet, allowing the Cardinals to get their second-best score of the season."We brought it together very nicely," junior Katelyn Busacker said. "We didn't have one event that was completely disastrous. We did all four events solid and consistent."Coach Nadalie Walsh said she was happy with the overall performance."I was excited to get a 193 because that should be easy for us, but I thought we had to work hard for it," she said.One reason the Cardinals had to work so hard was because they had to scramble to adjust their lineup at the last minute. Senior Ashley Jacob had the flu and was unable to compete, and sophomore Kayla Kmiecik was limited to the uneven bars to get her to full health for next week's meet, Walsh said."We had to make a lot of changes, so this was a lot of our depth that went out there [today,]" she said. "Our depth went in and did a really good job."One such "depth" gymnast was sophomore Christa Greinke, who had season-bests on both the vault and floor exercise."Having her be able to go out there and do what she did was what made us get our 193," Walsh said. "She did a great job."Ball State was fortunate not to lose another gymnast during the meet. Senior Bibiana Rodriguez landed short on her vault and came off limping. She was able to regroup to compete on the bars, adjusting her routine and salvaging a 9.6."It just wasn't her best performance," Walsh said. "We depend on her big score [on bars]. It's just a matter of being able to shake it off and go to the next event."Another key matchup on Sunday was between two of the top all-around gymnasts in the MAC. Kent State's Christine Abou-Mitri, the top scoring gymnast in the conference this year, held off Ball State's Brittney Emmons 39.1-38.975."Being able to compete against her was really cool," Emmons said. "It does show that I have the potential to be just as good."Emmons had one of her best performances of the year, scoring above a 9.7 on all four events for the second time this season."I was very excited to see some of my better scores to come out at this meet," she said. "There's still a little room for improvement here and there, though."She said her goal now is to push her score above 39 regularly and be able to consistency compete with the top gymnasts in the conference and region.Two career bests were posted Sunday: freshman Nicole Allen had a 9.75 on the floor and sophomore Ellie Carrico put up a 9.675 on the balance beam.Busacker also had her best meet since Feb. 5 against Illinois State University. Her second-place score of 9.775 on the bars almost did not happen though.When she was standing on the lower bar preparing for a transition to the upper bar, she wobbled, nearly falling and ruining the routine. She was able to maintain her balance and complete a clean routine."That's when what you do in practice counts," Busacker said. "If in practice you give up, then you'll probably fall in the meet."Along with Abou-Mitri, the Golden Flashes (7-2, 4-0 MAC) were led by freshman Lindsay Runyan and senior Sam Heydlauff. Runyan won the bars and Heydlauff took the floor.The Cardinals had one victory on the day. The team won the beam 48.3-48.1. It is the season-high score for Ball State on that apparatus.Ball State will return to action Friday when it faces No. 4 University of Florida and the University of North Carolina in Gainesville, Fla.Walsh said she had been expecting scores of 9.6 or better from her team on every routine, but is now ready to push those expectations to 9.7 each."We're definitely capable of that," she said.For more on the Cardinals' regional hopes, check back tonight with bsudailynews.com.
The Ball State University gymnastics team is preparing for its toughest meet of the season thus far when it faces Kent State University this afternoon. Kent State, the reigning Mid-American Conference champions, has won the title the past two years. Ball State is an up-and-coming program, currently going through the best season of coach Nadalie Walsh's three-year tenure. Walsh said that the team is not worried about the opponent, but instead on its own success. "We're focusing on doing our part and not being emotional, meaning not letting mistakes bother us," she said. The Cardinals and the Golden Flashes will square off at 1 p.m. in Worthen Arena. Ball State is more than halfway through its regular season, and the wear and tear of the sport has started to take its toll on the gymnasts. Walsh said she may rest some gymnasts so they are in peak shape come the MAC Championships. "We may rest a couple people, just because that's what's best in the big picture," she said. "It's kind of heartbreaking not to put who you want out there in the here and now. But we have to do what's best in the long haul." One such person who will be a game-time decision is redshirt freshman Julie Cotter. "We're kind of on a fine line of ‘Is she ready? Is she not?'" Walsh said. "Either way, she'll be back out there soon." Ball State is coming off its first meet win of the season, defeating Illinois State University and Texas Woman's University in come-from-behind fashion. Sophomore Brittney Emmons said the victory has given the Cardinals momentum heading to today's matchup. Emmons will be a part of a key matchup Sunday when she competes with Kent State juniors Christine Abou-Mitri and Christina Lenny in the all-around. Abou-Mitri is the leading gymnast in the MAC this year and the conference's current Gymnast of the Week. Emmons said she has been working on cleaning the details of her performance – straighter knees, more well-pointed toes, etc. She also said that sticking her vault landing this week has been a priority. "All the little things add up to the big picture," Emmons said. For sophomore Kayla Kmiecik, this meet brings a school from near her home to Worthen Arena. Kmiecik grew up in Avon, Ohio, about an hour from Kent, Ohio. She said that Kent State was on her radar when picking colleges. She knows several of the girls on the team and said she looks forward to competing against some familiar faces. She is coming off her best performance of the season, with scores of 9.55 or better on the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. "To have a good meet like I had last weekend is a confidence booster," Kmiecik said. "Gymnastics is 90 percent mental and I think that's it is key to know that you can do the gymnastics you're training to do." If Ball State wants to think upset, avoiding mistakes will be essential. Ball State was able to connect on six routines on both the vault and floor in last week's win. "We just need to go out there and do what we know how to do," Emmons said. "We always have one little mess up here, one little mess up there. But we know we're capable of…getting those high scores." Walsh said the team has focused on confidence on the beam this week in practice. Last week, the Cardinals had only one fall on beam, but scores across the board were lower. The beam has been trouble for Kent State as well. In its victory last week against Northern Illinois University and Rutgers University, the Golden Flashes had clean routines across the board in the vault, bars and floor. The beam was the problem area, where they had three falls. Although Ball State is a big underdog, the team is more focused on its own performance as it works toward qualifying individuals for the NCAA postseason, Walsh said. She said the first priority is to get the highest team score of the year, raising its Regional Qualifying Score. Walsh said she's happy with where the team is in terms of its RQS at the moment, especially since many of the lower scores should be replaced in the next few weeks. "I look at the rest of the season as five more opportunities to get the best team score possible," she said.
Bibiana Rodriguez was named the Mid-American Conference co-Specialist of the Week on Tuesday. She is the fourth Ball State University athlete to earn an award from the MAC this week.
Halfway through the season, the Ball State University gymnastics team now knows where it stands in regard to advancing to the NCAA Central Regionals on April 10.• Qualifying for regionals is based on the Regional Qualifying Score — the top six scores of the year (three on the road), remove the top score and average the other five. • Ball State is in the Central Region, along with five of the other six Mid-American Conference schools with gymnastics teams (only Northern Illinois University is in another region). • Using that RQS, qualification is based on a three-step process:
Take the Ball State University gymnastics team's best score in years. Add the team that managed to outlast that performance. Then throw in a third squad that is just as competitive as the other two.
It seemed like the same story being told again.Going into the final rotation, the Ball State University gymnastics team was involved in another tight meet. The team trailed Illinois State University by 0.025 and narrowly led Texas Woman's University by 0.15.This was a familiar situation for the Cardinals. Each time, something had gone wrong and they would drop the meet by a narrow margin.But this time, the Cardinals stepped up on the floor exercise.Each gymnast had a clean routine, with score above 9.6, including career highs by freshman Emily Wehrle and sophomore Ellie Carrico."I feel like there's a lot more fire in them and a lot more confidence," coach Nadalie Walsh said.The meet-best 48.6 propelled the Cardinals to the victory.Ball State finished with a 192.075 to defeat Illinois State (191.4) and Texas Woman's (191.2). It is the fourth meet this year decided by less than a point."I think we finally held it together throughout the whole meet and we definitely showed [our potential]," Wehrle said.Overcoming mistakes was key to the Cardinals' victory.Last week, consecutive falls doomed the squad on the balance beam and the floor. Walsh said she knew there would be problems, but didn't want them to domino like in previous weeks."I feel like we had mistakes the way we do in other meets, but they were able to keep it non-emotional and they didn't let it effect them," she said.This week, the Cardinals responded well to its errors. Although they were forced to count a mistake on the bars after freshman Morgan Coslow and senior Ashley Jacob suffered falls, sophomore Kayla Kmiecik and junior Katelyn Busacker responded well. They both put up solid scores on the next routine to get the Cardinals back on track."They get the props for what we were able to muster out on bars," Walsh said. "Without them being confident in themselves and realizing that what the person before them does doesn't affect them, they wouldn't have step up and done that. It would've been disastrous."In what was a very competitive meet, Ball State won the vault with a season-best 48.525 along with the floor Sunday. Illinois State took the beam honors and Texas Woman's triumphed on the bars.For the second straight week, the team had six clean vaults, including a season-best 9.725 by Jacob. Walsh said that she just wants to see cleaner landings on the vault in the upcoming weeks.Ball State was led by sophomore Brittney Emmons, who scored a 9.825 to win the floor exercise and a 9.75 to tie for first on the vault.Senior Bibiana Rodriguez was the top scorer on the uneven bars for Ball State, and Wehrle led the team on beam with a 9.625.Sophomore Rashonda Cannie, of Texas Woman's (3-6), took the all-around with a 38.65, outlasting Illinois State junior Erica Schick (38.55) and Emmons (38.5).Illinois State's (8-3) top scorer was sophomore Melissa Mann. She won the beam with a 9.75.With the two wins, Ball State improves to 5-6 on the season. The five wins make up the most in a season during Walsh's three-year tenure.The Cardinals will have their third-straight home meet next Sunday at 1 p.m. Ball State will host Kent State University, the preseason Mid-American Conference favorites. Walsh said that continued confidence will allow the Cardinals to be competitive next week."The goal is to keep doing what we're doing, but doing it better," she said.
As Ball State University freshman gymnast Amber Parsley steps on the mat to start her floor routine, the opening strains of Flo Rida's "Right Round" blare over the Worthen Arena loudspeakers.Although most people are impressed by the jumps, flips and landings of the gymnasts, music plays a large role in a floor exercise as well.Sophomore Brittney Emmons, the top-scoring gymnast on the floor in the Mid-American Conference, likes to pick music that can get the crowd involved."The whole point is to get the crowd involved with your floor routine," she said. "I love the fact that I can do that with people and show them my personality through my floor routine."Emmons uses a mix that she equates to the Blue Man Group."It's a lot of drums and very upbeat," she said. "That's pretty much how all of my floor music has been, kind of upbeat. I'm not that slow, graceful kind of person."Freshman Nicole Allen chose a hip hop mix featuring Dorrough's "Ice Cream Paint Job," one of her favorite songs. Freshman Morgan Coslow uses a Britney Spears mix, including "Womanizer.""It's really fun and upbeat," she said. "I'm really outgoing and happy a lot and optimistic. It's fun to perform to."
The Ball State University gymnastics team was almost like a domino set Sunday; when one fell, down went another.
Almost. Just missed. So close.
Ball State University sophomore gymnast Brittney Emmons was named the Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Week Tuesday afternoon."Getting the title never crossed my mind," she said. "Now that it's happened, it's pretty cool that I won it."Emmons had one of the best all-around performances in program history in Friday's loss at Illinois State University, tallying three career-highs and tying another. Her career-highs came in the all-around (38.300), beam (9.750) and bars (9.800), while she tied her career-high of 9.875 on the vault.Her all-around score is the third-best all-time at Ball State and the highest score ever recorded in a regular season meet."When they told me it was the third highest score ever, I really couldn't believe it," Emmons said. "Now I want to work to get the top score."The score is also the highest in the conference this year.Emmons has also been dominant on the floor exercise this season. She is currently the No. 23 all-around gymnast in the country, according to GymInfo.Coach Nadalie Walsh said that she was happy to have one of her gymnasts honored. She said that she has been working with Emmons to fine tune all of her events throughout the year."She definitely has the potential to be at regionals again," Walsh said.Walsh said that she wants Emmons to qualify for regionals for the second-straight year, but this time on all-around. Emmons competed at the NCAA Central Regionals on vault and floor in 2009. She echoed Walsh's sentiments on her individual goals."I would love to represent Ball State and the MAC," she said.Emmons said her first priority is to get her team to regionals; individual accomplishments are secondary.Despite losing the meet Friday, Ball State had a near-perfect meet against Illinois State, with 19 of 20 clean routines.The Cardinals lost 194.15-193.925 for their third straight loss by less than a point.However, Ball State's 193.925 score was the highest for the program under coach Nadalie Walsh and best overall since 2004.This is the first weekly award from the MAC for Ball State since Nichole Sleeper was named the conference's Specialist of the Week for her performance at the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 9, 2009. It is the first Gymnast of the Week award since Erica Gilkerson in 2008.Sophomore Katelyn Busacker was nominated for the weekly specialist award after tying for first on the beam and setting a career-high on the bars.Emmons and the Cardinals return to action at 1 p.m. Sunday when they host Bowling Green State University at Worthen Arena.
Ball State University sophomore gymnast Brittney Emmons on Tuesday afternoon was named the Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Week.
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. In gymnastics, close is the difference between winning and losing.
The youthful Ball State University gymnastics team goes west for the second straight week when it travels to face Illinois State at 7 p.m.Coach Nadalie Walsh said one key goal for the team is to execute on the final rotation. The Cardinals have lost three meets this season in which they led after the third rotation, including last week against Northern Illinois University."We have to perform well on the last rotation," Walsh said.This will be the first meet of the season for Ball State not on a Sunday. Walsh said that she thinks the short week will not affect her team, adding that the gymnasts have been efficient in practice to be prepared for the meet.She said Ball State has added some new, challenging skills to its repertoire for tonight's meet. Adding these skills should help to boost the team's overall score once they are clean.The Cardinals (3-4, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) are looking to even their overall record as they face off against their third Midwest Independent Conference opponent this year. Ball State finished second in the Cardinal Classic, defeating the University of Illinois-Chicago and falling to Southeast Missouri State University.This is the final home competition in a five-meet homestand for the Redbirds (4-2). Against common opponents – Western Michigan University and Southeast Missouri State – Ball State is 0-2 and Illinois State is 1-1.Sophomore Ellie Carrico should return to the Cardinals' lineup tonight. She competed on the floor exercise in the first three meets of the season, but missed the meet against Northern Illinois. Walsh said she expects Carrico to compete on the floor as well as the balance beam.Leadership has been a mixed bag for the Cardinals so far this season. In all, nine gymnasts have led the team in at least one event."I feel like that's extremely encouraging," Walsh said. "It makes sense because we haven't put it all together yet. Any of our girls could win an event [Friday]."Despite the parity, sophomore Brittney Emmons is still the de facto leader of the squad. She has six first-place finishes so far this season.Emmons will be challenged in the all-around by junior Erica Schick, the reigning MIC All-Around Gymnast of the Week. Freshman Apollonia Barrientos also won the MIC Specialist of the Week for her performance on the floor, uneven bars and vault.Despite their records, Ball State and Illinois State have similar statistics this year. The Cardinals have the better high score of the season, but Illinois State has a 0.8 advantage in average score.Ball State should be favored in the floor, but the meet could come down to the bars. The teams' average score on the bars are the closest in the four events.The Cardinals last faced the Redbirds in 2008, losing by more than three points. The two squads will square off twice this season with the second meeting Feb. 21.