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Gymnastics wins first MAC game against EMU

Amanda+Lievendag%2C+BG+gymnast%2C+performs+her+routine+during+the+Falcons%26%238217%3B+victory+against+Eastern+Michigan+on+Saturday+afternoon.

Amanda Lievendag, BG gymnast, performs her routine during the Falcons’ victory against Eastern Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

The BG gymnastics team earned its first win in nine outings Saturday, cruising past Mid-American Conference rival Eastern Michigan, 193.675-190.95 in Anderson Arena.

Freshman Jamilah Ali was the story of the night, winning the all-around and two individual events to lead the Falcons. Ali stepped in on the uneven bars after teammate Alex Porter injured her finger, requiring surgery earlier in the week.

Ali’s solid 9.65 set up the Falcons’ finest bars performance of the year, and she added winning scores of 9.85 on vault and 9.8 on balance beam to total a season-high 38.975 all-around score.

The Falcons celebrated their second meet in a row without counting a fall; and the team hit all but one of its 24 routines on its way to victory.

“Of course we would have liked to hit every routine so we could reach the fullest potential,” said coach Kerrie Beach. “But really the whole month of March has been good to us. We’ve been at a 193.5 or higher for every meet so far, and that really bodes well going into MAC Championships. I just feel like it will be our turn to have that perfect meet.”

The Falcons began on vault, opening with a score of 48.325. Ali stuck her vault to lead the way, as BG held a narrow lead against the Eagles after one event.

BG gained momentum on bars, as Eastern Michigan suffered a disastrous three falls on the vault. Megan Harrington, Ali and Lindsay Koch opened with three consecutive scores of 9.65, setting up Amanda Lievendag’s season-high 9.775 and Monica Eaton’s event-winning 9.8.

The Falcons moved to beam, where the team battled through a shaky performance and its only fall of the meet. Eaton and Harrington again hit solid efforts, and Ali closed the rotation with a dynamic routine that was nearly flawless aside from a step on the dismount.

“We certainly had some mistakes, even if we didn’t fall off the equipment,” Beach said. “I was proud that they fought together. They really didn’t let down.”

BG brought home the win on floor exercise—its highest-scoring event of the night. All five of the Falcons’ counting routines scored at least 9.7. Harrington (9.775) and Danielle Wishart (9.8) were the strongest contributors, sealing the team’s 48.725 finish.

While Saturday’s win came on Senior Day, BG’s only senior, Dawn Christman, was missing from action for the fourth consecutive week, nursing an injured ankle.

“I really wanted it to be a special night for Dawn Christman,” Beach said. “I told the girls before the meet today to do their routines for Dawn, and they really did. It’s just a fantastic feeling.”

Beach said she has been resting Christman in hopes that she can compete one final vault for the Falcons in the MAC Championship meet on Saturday.

“I just want everyone next weekend when we’re at the MAC Championships to just take one second and think a good thought as she runs down that runway,” Beach said. “She really deserves that.”

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