Week 1 to Week 2 is a time to show quick growth in gymnastics.
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Fans who follow the Ball State gymnastics team will have to learn some new names this season.
Ball State showcased a mixture of old and new faces in Friday's exhibition loss to Kentucky.
The Ball State gymnastics team will open its 2010-11 season tonight with an exhibition meet against Kentucky.
The Ball State gymnastics team signed its first gymnast in the class of 2011.
Two Ball State gymnasts were involved in an alcohol-related traffic stop over the weekend, and one was arrested on a charge of drunken driving.
Coach Nadalie Walsh has added another gymnast to her 2010-11 class.
The Mid-American Conference announced its academic all-conference gymnastics team Wednesday, and one Ball State University gymnast made the cut.
The Ball State University gymnastics program announced Monday that Aftyn Siemer has signed her letter of intent to join the team next season.Siemer has trained at the Integrity Gymnastics Club in Plain City, Ohio, for two years under 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist Natalia Laschenova.Siemer was a member of the Level 9 national championship team and is a former Level 9 regional and state champion in the all-around.Kayla Hani and Leah Wilson, both from Florida, will join Siemer in the 2011 freshman class.The Cardinals finished their 2010 campaign with a 6-10 record and a fifth-place finish in the Mid-American Conference Championships. Two gymnasts who qualified for the NCAA Central Regionals, Brittney Emmons and Tiffany Brodbeck, will return to the team next season.
The 2010 season for the Ball State University gymnastics team was one of development, and the beginning of a transformation into an upper-level program.That's how coach Nadalie Walsh characterized the season. She said the transformation mainly occurred in the mindset of the Cardinal gymnasts."I had a group of girls that weren't sure if they were capable," Walsh said. "Now they are sure of what they can do."Prior to Ball State's exhibition meet against the University of Kentucky in December, Walsh was asking herself "Where are we as a team?" She said she now has the answer to that question."I feel like I finally have the team that is going to train hard in the postseason. They're not going to let themselves take any steps back," she said. "[A lack of offseason development] has been our biggest detriment over the past years."Ball State finished ranked 43rd in the country, seven spots and 1.22 points outside of qualifying for NCAA Regionals. Walsh said improving vault start values and adding another challenging tumbling pass is going to be instrumental in making up that difference."We're set on our other events," she said. "Vault is the main thing that's keeping us from the 194 [point] threshold."After a rough start, scoring a 187.425 in the season opener against Western Michigan University — which Walsh called a "disappointment" — the team rebounded to improve its score by more than 5.5 points during the second half of the season. The team broke the 193 barrier in four of the final five meets.By comparison week-to-week scores, the Cardinals would have defeated the Broncos in six of the last eight weeks of the season. Walsh said she wants to avoid scheduling Mid-American Conference opponents at the start of the season.Walsh said her most memorable moment was Ball State's rebound in the second week of the season, a more than five-point improvement to 192.85 in New Hampshire."The girls were so focused," she said. "It clicked; it was the lights come on moment."Ball State scored a 193.925 against Illinois State University on Feb. 5, the highest score in Walsh's tenure and the best since 2004. The Cardinals' six wins were the most since 2003.Athletics director Tom Collins said he is happy with the progress the team has made both this year and during Walsh's three years as coach."I think we've taken steps up, and I think Nadalie continues to bring in good student-athletes," he said.Walsh said the Illinois State meet was probably Ball State's best this year, but that the Cardinals did not have their best floor exercise routines that day."We really didn't have a meet where we hit four events," she said. "We just weren't as consistent as we need to be."The team is healthier than last year, Walsh said. Although the team did lose four gymnasts for the season due to injuries and surgeries, the core of the team remained healthy and there are no offseason surgeries scheduled.The team also dealt with the loss of sophomore Ellie Carrico, who left the team in February. Senior Megan Howard largely filled the gap left by Carrico on the balance beam.Now in the offseason, workouts have been reduced to eight hours per week. Walsh said the gymnasts have to take the initiative to continue to their development on their own time as well."It puts a lot on their own shoulders. How bad do they want it? How hard are they going to work?" she said. "This summer, when they're not in our gym, at our school, are they going to be in their own gym, at home, holding themselves accountable?"Walsh said the work ethic has to be self-motivated.Walsh added that she would like to see sophomore Kayla Kmiecik breakthrough in offseason training."I would like to see her be able to put everything together that we know she's capable of," Walsh said.Recruiting is the other aspect of developing the team for 2011.Along with gymnasts who have the ability to compete right away, Walsh said she is looking for recruits who fit within the team's dynamic."Their personalities have to fit the team and my personality," she said. "I found that when someone's going against the flow, it disrupts what we're going for."Kayla Hani and Leah Wilson signed letters of intent in the fall to join the team. Additional recruits will be announced later this week.
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The NCAA Central Regionals were a mixed bag Saturday for the Ball State University gymnastics team, as three Cardinals ended their season.The day was bookended by strong performances from senior Bibiana Rodriguez and sophomore Brittney Emmons, but a trio of falls in the middle dampened the Cardinals' results.Rodriguez completed her Ball State career with an 11th-place finish on the uneven bars with a 9.8, improving upon her 28th-place bars finish in 2009."I'm really proud," Rodriguez said. "I came out here and did my job."She said this was a performance she could be proud to call her last as a Cardinal, but she'll miss the experience and the team."Four years go by really fast," she said.Coach Nadalie Walsh said she was delighted by Rodriguez's accomplishments Saturday and in her career."She was the beginning of changing Ball State gymnastics," Walsh said. "I couldn't ask for anything more."Other than Rodriguez, however, the Cardinals saw some struggles Saturday. Emmons finished in 17th in the all-around with a 37.4 — her season-low.Her score was severely hampered by a stumble on the bars in her second rotation. She was able to manage to stay on the lower bar, but her score suffered nonetheless. She was given a 9.0 on her routine, essentially knocking her out of the all-around competition.After the bars, Emmons had another fall, this time on the second trick of her beam routine, to score an 8.85. It was her lowest score on the bars and beam this season."I can't really say a specific thing [that caused the falls]," Emmons said. "I went out there and just did my best, and that was just a little bit short of what I wanted. … Sometimes the cards don't fall the right way."Emmons rebounded at the end of the meet on her strongest event, the floor exercise. She scored a 9.85, which was good for 13th place. She also scored a 9.7 on the vault – 35th place – in her first event."I had a really good start and finish," Emmons said. "It was a little rough in the middle."She said she felt more comfortable with the floor and vault — events that she competed in for the 2009 Central Regionals — than the middle events. Emmons said competing in the all-around at regionals will give her experience to put toward next year and the 2011 regionals.Falling proved to be contagious for Ball State on Saturday. Freshman Tiffany Brodbeck fell in the middle of her floor routine – her first fall on the floor this season – and scored a 9.125."To be honest, words can't explain [what happened]," Brodbeck said. "I haven't fallen on that skill in six years. And it just seemed to happen today."Saturday's meet started at approximately 6 p.m., but Brodbeck didn't perform her one routine until shortly after 8 p.m."The waiting was terrible. The waiting was so long," she said.By contrast, Rodriguez's day was over by 7 p.m. She spent the rest of the meet providing some senior leadership to her underclassmen teammates."[After their falls], I told them they didn't need to worry, because they going to be here next year," Rodriguez said. "I'm positive and confident of that."Brodbeck said the fall was disappointing, but she's going put the mistake behind her and look forward to next year."At least I know what to expect now," she said.Walsh said the experience of competing as individuals is much different than what they were used to through the season."They had to come without their team," she said. "They had to learn how to just be here for themselves. They didn't have anybody else to put their energy into."No. 1 University of Alabama and No. 12 University of Nebraska advanced to the NCAA National Championships with team scores of 197.4 and 195.875, respectively. The Crimson Tide swept every individual title, including sophomore Geralen Stack-Eaton taking the all-around.Senior Sarah Schmidt, of No. 13 University of Illinois, and senior Nicole Curler, of Michigan State University, qualified for nationals in the all-around.No. 24 Central Michigan University finished in fourth place and put two on the podium: senior Katie Simon (fifth place in the all-around) and freshman Britney Taylor (fourth place on bars). Simon finished 0.05 behind Curler to miss the bid to nationals.One unique aspect of Saturday's meet was that Ball State was paired with other schools for its rotations. Emmons spent her day with Illinois and Rodriguez and Brodbeck competed alongside Michigan State.The Big Ten schools offered cheers of encouragement to the Cardinal gymnasts as they competed, which Emmons said she appreciated."It's really cool to be able to have a team, even if it's not your own, have another team that's there to support you," she said. "It's no fun when no one's cheering for you."Although the rest of the Ball State squad wasn't on the sidelines with the trio, they were in the stands Saturday night, cheering on their fellow Cardinals."That says I have a team who wants to all be here next year," Walsh said.And when do Walsh and the team start thinking about 2011?
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three Ball State University gymnasts ended their season today at the NCAA Central Regionals, as each represented the school in individual competition.
Rotations have been released for Saturday's NCAA Central Regionals.
Three Ball State University gymnasts have two days left to prepare for the No. 1 team in the country.
The Ball State University gymnastics team is taking advantage of the extra week of preparation before it competes in the NCAA Central Regionals on April 10."That is the weekend to be the superstar," graduate assistant coach Will Stokley said.Brittney Emmons (all-around), Bibiana Rodriguez (uneven bars), Tiffany Brodbeck (floor exercise) and alternate Katelyn Busacker (bars) will represent their Cardinal teammates in Lexington, Ky. They have eight more days to get ready.Although the stakes may be higher – a national berth is at stake – Stokley said the team is trying to treat practice like they have all season."We're trying to keep it as close to a normal practice schedule as we can without putting too much wear and tear on them," he said.The opportunity to have more one-on-one work with the gymnasts should be beneficial in getting them ready for next weekend."There's definitely more room in the gym," Stokley said with a laugh. "But the more eyes we get on the girls, the better."Rodriguez said the extra attention is helpful, but she also knows what skills she needs to work on and when she's not quite perfect."It's something you can tell when you're doing it by yourself," she said. "But it helps to have a coach there."Stokley said the key aspects the team is working on are clean landings on the floor and making sure they are getting vertical handstands on the bars."The biggest goal is to go out there and hit our routines," he said.Emmons said she has been working on tighter, cleaner lines to compete with some of the top gymnasts in the nation.Rodriguez said the extra week and greater focus on one event has given her the chance to work on the basics. She said the gymnasts are trying to make sure they are having effective, not exhausting, practices.Emmons said the goal for regionals is to "treat it no differently than anything else." Even if the odds are against her, she said she knows nationals is within her reach."My goal is to go out there and do what I know how to do," she said. "I can hang with all of these big schools."Rodriguez said that the team can get too worked up over the regionals meet."It's just another meet," she said. "It's not really anything different than we've done all year."One benefit has been a more relaxed atmosphere in practice. With only four gymnasts competing for time on the different apparatuses, Emmons said there is more time for each gymnast to get the practice time she needs.The team is also looking back at past performances to know what skills need improvement, Emmons said."We sat down and watched the video from the MAC [Championships], to find out what we need to work on," she said.One gymnast who hasn't had the regional experience yet is freshman Brodbeck. Emmons said she has given Brodbeck some advice on dealing with the new environment, but thinks she will be just fine."[Brodbeck's] a pretty good freshman in dealing with the stress," Emmons said.Rodriguez said that the experience of being in regionals in 2009 will help to get rid of some of the nerves she felt last season.Although the team had a pretty good idea of their qualifying status before the announcement, Emmons said she was happy to hear she had qualified for regionals in the all-around."It was definitely very exciting," the sophomore said. "People tell you, ‘Oh yeah, you're going,' but you're never definitely sure until you get the official word."
Ball State University will send three gymnasts plus an alternate to the NCAA Central Regionals, as announced by the NCAA Monday afternoon.Sophomore Brittney Emmons (all-around), senior Bibiana Rodriguez (uneven bars) and freshman Tiffany Brodbeck (floor exercise) will represent the Cardinals in the April 10 meet. Junior Katelyn Busacker will be Rodriguez's alternate on the bars."I was pretty confident they were all going to make it," coach Nadalie Walsh said. "But getting the confirmation is really exciting."The gymnasts were given Monday off after Saturday's Mid-American Conference Championships where Ball State finished in fifth place. Walsh said she made sure to be the first person to call each gymnast to congratulate her.Walsh said the four gymnasts will continue to work on cleaning up the skills they have worked on all season. She said the focus would be on those minor details that can be the difference between a good and great score."We're going to keep doing what we've been doing," Walsh said.Although none of the Cardinals will be favored to move on from regionals, Walsh said she thinks the payoff of qualifying for nationals is within Ball State's reach."In order to achieve something, you have to think about it," Walsh said. "They need to go there and be confident."The MAC will send two teams and 12 individuals to the postseason. Kent State University will go to the Southeast Regional in Morgantown, W.V., and Central Michigan University will be at the Central Regional in Lexington, Ky.On the individual level, Ball State has the most gymnasts from the MAC. Bowling Green State University and Eastern Michigan University will send three each and Western Michigan University will send two. Northern Illinois University will also have two representatives at a different site.This is the second-straight year for Rodriguez and Emmons to advance to the regional competition. Walsh said they should be ready for the atmosphere after competing at the University of Florida this year and the University of Kentucky, where this year's regionals are held, last season."The more common it is, the better," Walsh said. "These girls know how to do their routines. It doesn't matter if it's for one, 100 or even 10,000 people. They will be prepared."For all intents and purposes, the Cardinal gymnasts will be individual competitors at regionals, but Walsh said the team will continue to have a group mindset and they will use one another as support in a hostile environment.Busacker will prepare for regionals as if she was going to compete, Walsh said, although there is no intention for that to happen, as to do so she would replace Rodriguez on the bars. It's the second time she has been the back-up for regionals; she was the balance beam alternate in 2009.Ball State has sent gymnasts to regionals for consecutive years. Before 2009, no Cardinals had qualified for the postseason competition since 2003.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Coach Nadalie Walsh emphasized that she thought the Ball State University gymnastics team was a top-three squad in the conference.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — After the Mid-American Conference Championships on Saturday, Ball State University gymnastics coach Nadalie Walsh said it was "looking good" for her team to send three gymnasts to the NCAA Central Regionals.The coach and the trio — Bibiana Rodriguez, Brittney Emmons and Tiffany Brodbeck — will find out if Walsh's prognosis was correct today when the regional fields are announced.The top 36 teams nationally qualify for regionals, including MAC schools Central Michigan University (No. 24) and Kent State University (No. 28). Those teams and their respective regional sites will be announced at 2 p.m.Individual qualifiers — top scorers not on a qualifying team — in each region will be announced later in the day. All information will be available on the NCAA Web site at ncaa.org.Five gymnasts qualify for the all-around, along with one specialist in each event. Alternates for each event and the all-around will also be announced.Based on GymInfo data released Sunday night, Emmons, who was named to the All-MAC Second Team on Saturday, should make it in the all-around as the No. 3 gymnast in the Central Region not yet qualified. Rodriguez (bars) and Brodbeck (floor exercise) should be announced as specialist qualifiers and junior Katelyn Busacker should be named as the bars alternate. Busacker will just miss out being the beam alternate as well.The Central Regionals competition will be held April 10 in Lexington, Ky.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Ball State University gymnastics team finished in fifth place in today's Mid-American Conference Championships.Ball State was led by senior Bibiana Rodriguez, sophomore Brittney Emmons and redshirt freshman Julie Cotter. Rodriguez finished in second place on the uneven bars with a 9.8. Rodriguez was the defending MAC champion in the event.Cotter and Emmons each had a fifth-place finish today. Cotter's was on the bars (9.75) and Emmons' was in the all-around (38.85).Emmons had two top-10 finishes in individual events: ninth on the vault (9.775) and 10th on the floor exercise (9.8).Close finishes have been a theme for the Cardinals this season. Ball State scored a 193.1 finishing 0.1 behind fourth-place Northern Illinois University.Central Michigan won the meet with a score of 195.6. It is the 11th conference championship for the Chippewas.Central Michigan upended regular-season champions Kent State University, who had two falls on the balance beam and finished in second with a 195.025.The Chippewas and the Golden Flashes almost swept the individual awards. Including ties, Central Michigan had seven individual titles and Kent State had three. Bowling Green State University and Western Michigan University each finished with one.Ball State led the championships after the first rotation. The Cardinals put up a 48.25 on the floor in their first event.In the preseason, Ball State was picked to finish last in the conference.The Cardinals will now await the results of other conference championship meets this weekend before finding out if any individuals will qualify the NCAA Central Regionals on April 10.For more on today's meet, check out Sunday's online edition of The Ball State Daily News.Final Team Results1 Central Michigan 195.62 Kent State 195.0253 Eastern Michigan 193.6254 Northern Illinois 193.25 Ball State 193.16 Western Michigan 192.8757 Bowling Green 191.85
As the Ball State University gymnastics team prepares to compete in today's Mid-American Conference championships starting at 2 p.m., here are 10 factors that will make or break the Cardinals', as well as the other teams, chances: