Despite leading through the first two events, Ball State Gymnastics finished in seventh at the Mid-American Conference Championships.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead by scoring a 49.150 in the floor exercise. Seniors Sydney Finke and Kaitlyn Menzione both notched a 9.850 to lead Ball State’s floor efforts. All five of the counting scores rang in at 9.800 or above. This was the third-highest floor score on the day only behind Northern Illinois with a 49.300 and Kent State with a 49.175.
“We came in and start off really strong on the floor,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “We are pretty strong on the floor and to be able to come out and have a solid performance is great.”
After a short break during rotation two, the Cardinals flew over to the vault. As a team, the Cardinals scored a 48.925 on the vault. This was led by freshman Marissa Nychyk who tallied a 9.850. This scored placed Nychyk in third overall in the event.
The Cardinals took another break before tackling both the bars and the beam back-to-back. The team struggled through the bars as it recorded a score of 47.650. Junior Maddie MacDonald recorded the high score for the Cardinals at 9.725. Freshman Sandra Elsadek and graduate student Jordyn Penny both helped Ball State close out the tournament with individual scores of 9.775 on the beam, leading to a team score of 47.775.
MAC Championships final results:
Northern Illinois- 195.975
Central Michigan- 195.550
Eastern Michigan- 195.250
Kent State- 194.775
Bowling Green- 194.250
Western Michigan- 193.750
Ball State- 193.500
“We started out very strong with a lot of fire and a lot of passion, and we had a few hiccups that got to us,” Finke said. “If we would have stayed strong, we would have had a better meet.”
The Cardinals finished the day with a total team score of 193.500. With home-floor advantage, Northern Illinois is the 2019 gymnastics MAC champions. The Huskies finished with a team score of 195.975.
“We talked a lot about [the crowd] from the beginning of the week on how to really stay focused on themselves,” Saleem said. “I am really looking forward to seeing how our underclassmen do with this event next year because it is great experience.”
As the MAC Championship marking the end of the season, Finke’s legacy carried from her first match as a freshman, to the mats of the MAC Championship.
“Coming in as a freshman, you don’t really know what is going on and you are kind of spinning around in the craziness,” Finke said. “Coming out as a senior today and leaving it all on the floor is how I left my legacy.”
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