BG gymnastics returns MAC competition

Reporter and Reporter

The BG gymnastics team returns to Mid-American Conference competition Friday, meeting Ball State in Muncie, Ind.

The matchup is the first of three upcoming MAC meets, closing out the regular season for the Falcons. BG is currently 0-3 in the MAC, dropping meets to Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.

BG posted its highest road score of the year last weekend at Missouri, falling to the No. 17 Tigers 196.25-193.825. Coach Kerrie Beach is intent on picking up some wins in the final weeks of competition.

“We want to try and get some wins here so we can get a good draw for the MAC Championships,” she said. “We need to go in fighting and feeling like we need to hit every routine to pull the win off. I feel positive that we can do it.”

The Falcons rested senior Dawn Christman last week, after an ankle injury limited her abilities in training. Beach says she plans to hold Christman out of competition for another week to be safe.

“We’re hoping to get her ankle feeling really strong for the end of season,” Beach said. “Obviously we want her back for the team’s results, but also for her personally. It’s her senior year, and we want her to be able to finish on her own terms.”

Difficulties on balance beam have kept the Falcons from surpassing the 194 mark on multiple occasions this year. Most recently, BG went 48.025 against Missouri, with falls from Megan Valentini and Gina Locigno.

With Christman out of action, some new faces could be appearing on beam at Ball State, as the team tries to find its most stable lineup.

“We did a lineup on Tuesday, and we’re looking at a few people,” Beach said. “We may stick with Monica Eaton. Dana Herr did quite well, and Maria Salvia’s looking quite good as well, so we’ve got a few options there.”

Beach says the upcoming spring recess will be beneficial for the team, as they’ll be able to increase training with less distraction. At such a crucial time in the season, she feels the opportunity to do extra detail work and team building will help better prepare the team for MAC Championships at the end of March.

Ball State is currently the lowest-ranked team in the MAC, but their season high score is a competitive 193.425. Last weekend, the Cardinals faltered at Western Michigan, losing 194.225-191.6. Consistency will be the key for both teams’ success.

“Anytime you go into someone else’s arena you’ve got to be mentally prepared for some adjustments,” Beach said.

“At this point, it’s all about confidence. They need to walk in with no doubt that they‘re going to hit their routines. That’s what we’ll be focusing on doing under any pressure situation possible.”