MAC Gymnastics Weekend Results

Updated 1/21/2013

Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments 

Ball State's gymnastics team managed a 194.500 to 194.175 victory over the nation's 16th-ranked Central Michigan Chippewas in its Mid-American Conference opener.
With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 1-2 on the season and 1-0 in MAC play, while CMU suffered its first loss of the year and fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The 194.500 team score ties for the 13th best mark in school history and is Ball State's best team score since the 2002 season.
"I am very proud of this team," head coach Nadalie Walsh says.  "This team has great chemistry and I can trust them and they trust each other.  We fought really hard through all four events and it came down to the final event in the meet.  It is a tremendous accomplishment to beat a nationally ranked team, and it is good to start 1-0 in the conference."
The Cardinals won the meet behind the first place finishes of Denasiha Christian on the vault and Brittney Emmons' first place showing on the floor.
Ball State opened the meet against the 16th ranked team in the country with a victory in the first rotation. The Cardinals tallied a 48.850 on the vault, while the Chippewas managed a 47.825 on the bars to give Ball State the early advantage.  Ball State's vault score is the fourth best mark in Ball State history.
On the vault, Christian led Ball State and placed first overall with a 9.85 mark.  Freshman Brooke Evans and Emmons tied for third with a pair of 9.75's.
On the bars, Ball State tallied a 48.700 to maintain a 97.550 to 96.600 lead through two events.  Angie Hosbach placed second with a 9.800, while Brooklyn Schumacher tied for third with a 9.775.
The Cardinals moved to the beam and registered a 48.075, while the Chippewas could only muster a 48.500 on the floor and Ball State led after three events 145.625 to 145.100.
On the beam, Leah Wilson finished third with a 9.825 to lead the Cardinals.
Ball State entered the final event with a slight advantage and was able to close the meet with a 48.875 on the floor, while CMU tallied a 49.075 on the beam.
Emmons won the vault with a 9.85, while Christian finished second with a 9.80.  Schumacher and Hosbach tied for fourth with a pair of 9.75 scores.
Ball State will host Northern Illinois in its annual Alumni Day Meet Friday at 7 p.m. in Irving Gym.
DeKalb, Ill. - The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team couldn't hold on to an early lead over Northern Illinois, suffering a loss in the Mid-American Conference opener, 192.775-192.525.  The score was still the highest of the season for Bowling Green.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the win tonight we were hoping to," said head coach Kerrie Beach.  "I thought the effort from the team was much more focused and I think our performance showed that if we had hit our skills, we certainly could've had a great opportunity to get our first MAC win.  We'll have to look for that next weekend at Eastern."
The Falcons started the meet on uneven bars, an event that gave them significant trouble at the last meet.  But for the second time this year, the Falcons hit six routines, led by event winner Amanda Lievendag's 9.75.  
Trailing the Huskies heading into vault, Bowling Green came alive in the second rotation, ignited by Megan Harrington's winning 9.85 for a nailed Yurchenko full.  Lievendag (9.825), Danielle Wishart (9.8), Sunny Marchand (9.775) and Alyssa Nocella (9.725) rounded out the Falcons' season-high 48.975 performance.
The Huskies came apart on bars with four misses, as the Falcons took a commanding 96.775-95.300 lead at the halfway point.
The Falcons then went to floor, where they suffered only one fall, but minor mistakes from Caroline Ellingboe (9.425), Katrina Carpenter (9.35) and Jamilah Ali (9.225) kept their score down at 47.500.  Nocella and Gina Locigno performed solid routines to earn matching scores of 9.75.
Meanwhile, the Huskies hit beam to tighten the meet back up, with the Falcons holding only a narrow lead, 144.275-144.100.
The pressure was too much for the Falcons on beam, as both Maria Salvia and Nocella came off the apparatus to seal the team's fate, as the Huskies performed well on floor in front of their home crowd.  The Falcons finished on beam with strong routines, as Harrington tied her career-high 9.8 and Ali won the beam title with a score of 9.825.
The Falcons fall to 0-3 (0-1 MAC) with the loss, but will get another opportunity at a conference win when they travel to take on Eastern Michigan next Saturday, Jan. 26
MUNCIE, Ind. – The 16th-ranked Central Michigan gymnastics team could not recover from a slow start in its MAC opener versus Ball State and a valiant rally attempt came up short, as the Chippewas fell to the Cardinals, 194.500-194.175, on Friday night in Muncie. The loss halted CMU’s streak of outscoring conference opponents at 34 consecutive meetings. 
A week after surpassing the 49.000 plateau in the uneven bars, Central Michigan struggled in the event in the first rotation. Sophomore Kylie Fagan placed first for the second straight week with a career high, scoring a 9.875, but CMU was forced to count two falls and posted a season low 47.825. 
“The way we started out definitely empowered Ball State,” said CMU head coach Jerry Reighard. “And that’s not where you want to be. At that point, we went from a team that did not have any falls in the opener, to not counting any falls, to putting ourselves in a position that we could not overcome.”
“We just started pressing after that. I thought we responded reasonably well. But the circumstances were such that (Ball State) had to help us and they didn’t.” 
In rotation two, the Chippewas bounced back to score a season high 48.775 in the vault. Senior Meaghan McWhorter led CMU with second place finish (9.825) while junior Emily Heinz and freshman Kirsten Petzold tied for third with scores of 9.775.
CMU’s struggles returned in rotation three on the floor exercise, as it recorded a season low score of 48.500 as a team. Competing for the first time in the event this season, Heinz led the Chippewas with a third place score of 9.775.
CMU finished strong, nearly completing the comeback with a stellar effort in the final rotation on the balance beam. The Chippewas breached the 49.000 mark in an event for the second time in two weeks, scoring a season best 49.075. Taylor Noonan took the title with a 9.925, a career high for the sophomore and tied for fifth highest score in CMU program history. Heinz again contributed a solid performance, placing third with a personal best score of 9.850. Sophomore Halle Moraw tied for third (9.825). 
Central Michigan will be on the road again next week when it travels to meet host No. 12 Minnesota, No. 2 Michigan, and Iowa State in a quad meet in Minneapolis at the Golden Gophers’ Sports Pavilion. The competition is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.
Eastern Michigan
KALAMAZOO, Mich. ( –  The Eastern Michigan University gymnastics team lost a heartbreaking meet by 0.500 of a point, 194.975-194.475, to Western Michigan University Sunday, Jan. 20, in the season opener for the Eagles at University Arena. The Eagles drop to 0-1 on the season while Western Michigan improves to 2-0.
Although EMU did not come away with a victory, it was the highest season-opening team score recorded in school history as well as the second highest score in a Mid-American Conference opener.
“I'm proud of our kids for competing extremely well for our first event of the season,” commented EMU Head Coach Steve Wilce. “Even though we did not get the win, this was a great score to start the season, and we will continue to get better as the season progresses.”
The Green and White edged the Broncos on the vault and the beam, 48.725-48.525, and ,48.650-48.600, respectively. However, Western Michigan won by a greater margin in both the floor exercise and on the uneven parallel bars, taking the floor, 48.975-48.625, and grasping the bars, 48.875-48.475.
Freshman Khadijah Hudson led the Eagles on the vault and the floor exercise, scoring a 9.800 in each event in her EMU debut.  Both scores were good enough for runner-up finishes in the respective events.
On the vault, Paulina Miller and Amanda Fuller recorded 9.750 while Kristina Kurkmillis scored 9.725 for the Eagles.
Anna Willette tallied a 9.750 on the bars to finish fourth and to lead Eastern, while Taylor Patterson recorded a 9.700 on the event.
The 9.825 mark of junior Kaylee Meyers on the beam was the highest recorded score on the afternoon for EMU, good enough for a second-place finish. Miller and team captain Brittany Cassar added tallies of 9.725 to tie for fourth-place.
Following Hudson on the floor were Miller and Fuller, who both scored 9.750.
WMU's Kayla Weber took the all-around title with a score of 39.300
Eastern Michigan will begin its home slate Saturday, Jan. 26, to take on MAC foe Bowling Green State University Falcons. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. inside Bowen Field House.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --Kent State had their best performance so far this season en route to taking second place at Penn State. With a team score of 195.450 the Golden Flashes defeated host Penn State (194.300) and Towson (192.175) while falling to No. 11 ranked Minnesota (195.525).
Leading the way for the Golden Flashes were sophomore Amiah Mims (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Marie Case (Erie, Pa.). Mims top score of the night was a 9.800 in the uneven bars, good for second overall in the event, while also earning the best mark in her career. Mims previously held a 9.675 best in the uneven bars. She also tied another personal record when the judges gave Mims a 9.750 on the balance beam. On the vault Mims was given a 9.750 while receiving a 9.775 on the floor excercise. She was able to shatter her previous all-around record of 38.100 when she took third place overal in the all-around with a 39.075; backed by a very consistent performance.
Case's best performance of the night came when she finished third overall on the balance beam with a score a 9.875. Case also managed to hang on to a top five finish in the floor exercise when she received a 9.825 from the judges, finishing fifth. Case rounded out her performance by posting a 9.675 in the uneven bars and a 9.650 on the vault. Her efforts placed her in fourth in the all-around with a total score of 39.025.
Senior Rachel Guida was the only Flash to take top honors in an event during the meet. She accomplished that on the uneven bars when she received a 9.875. That score resulted in a personal best for Guida, topping her previous best of 9.850, which was set during last season's Eastern Michigan meet. Guida also performed well on the vault, her only other event of the night, posting a 9.725.
Sophomore Kelsey Lawless (Lyndhurst, Ohio) earned a career best on the uneven bars with a score of 9.800. Junior Ashley Transue (Westerville, Ohio) earned a career best on the uneven bars with a score of 9.775. Freshman Katlin Isaacs (Mount Airy, N.C.) earned a 9.750 on the floor exercise in her first collegiate appearance. Freshman Nicolle Eastman (Burton, Mich.) broke two of her personal bests when she received a 9.725 on the balance beam and a 9.750 on the floor exercise. Sophomore Chelsea Drooger (Holland, Mich.) earned personal bests in the uneven bars with a 9.775 and also in the balance beam with a 9.725. Also earning a personal best was Senior Felicia Charles (North Miami, Fla.) when she earned a 9.700 in the vault.
Kent State will return home to start preparation for their first home meet of the season, Friday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. The meet will be against Western Michigan and George Washington and will take place at the M.A.C. Center.
Northern Illinois
DeKALB, Ill. – Trailing by nearly a point and a half after two rotations, Northern Illinois put together five strong routines on both balance beam and floor exercise to claim a 192.775-192.525 comeback victory over Bowling Green Saturday at Victor E. Court in its 2013 Mid-American Conference opener. 
NIU improved to 2-0 overall with its second straight narrow come-from-behind win, while Bowling Green fell to 0-3 and 0-1 in the MAC. 
“It was another meet where we had to dig down deep to get the win,” said NIU Head Coach Sam Morreale. “I’m extremely proud of everyone. I feel really good about what we can do in the future.  The MAC is a close, tight conference so I think most of our meets this year are going to be won or lost down the stretch.”
Northern Illinois started well on vault as the Huskies tallied a season-best 48.675 total, led by freshman Jaelyn Olsen (Bethany, Okla./Putnam City West HS) who recorded a 9.800 to tie for third place on the event.  Senior Natalie Sutter (Barberton, Ohio/Coventry HS) added a 9.750 while both Amanda Stepp (Lapeer, Mich./Lapeer East HS) and Kim Gotlund (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township HS) scored 9.725.  
NIU led 48.675-47.800 after the first event, but that lead would be short-lived as the Huskies struggled on uneven parallel bars with Sutter’s 9.700 the only bright spot.  Northern Illinois’ 46.625 total on bars put NIU 1.475 points behind Bowling Green halfway through the meet.  
“Moving forward, we’re not going to win a meet going 46.625 on bars,” Morreale said.  “We gave away some points on bars, but we got better on the other three [events].”  
Northern Illinois’ beam team spurred the Huskies’ comeback.  Beginning with Stepp’s 9.750, every gymnast NIU sent up on beam hit her routine, topped by junior Natasha Jufko (Spring Hill, Fla./Pasco Hernando HS), who tied for first with a 9.825.  Junior Megan Melendez (Stafford, Va./North Stafford HS) added a 9.800 to close out the event; NIU’s 48.800 beam score tied for the 10th-best in school history.  Bowling Green, meanwhile, scored just 47.500 on floor and Northern Illinois trailed by just .175 heading to the final event.   
“We talked about it after bars and said we were going to restart the meet and start on beam, and the beam group did an outstanding job of coming out and rocking,” Morreale said.  “It was hit after hit after hit after hit.  That’s the hardest thing coming off an event where you struggle. That put us back in the meet.”  
On floor exercise, arguably the Huskies’ strongest event, NIU’s first five gymnasts all hit, with senior Marisa Liptak (Kendall Park, N.J./South Brunswick HS) leading the way with a meet-best 9.850 score and Stepp earning her third 9.750 of the day.  Sophomore Shelby Davis’ (Wichita, Kans./Heights HS) routine also scored a 9.750 for her career high.  The Huskies’ 48.675 total topped BG’s 48.250 on balance beam by .425, giving Northern Illinois the .250-point victory.  
“Hopefully down the road we can finish a meet instead of hoping the other team falls off,” Morreale said.  “I have to give credit to the beam line-up, starting with Amanda who kind of stopped the bleeding with a big hit.  Jaelyn [Olsen] has been banged up all week, but she came out and did arguably did one of our best vaults in a long time. Natalie went 38.5 in her second all-around and Kim had three strong events.”
Northern Illinois goes on the road for the first time this season on Friday, Jan. 25 when the Huskies take on Ball State in Muncie at 6 p.m. (CT).  
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Bronco freshman Kayla Weber took first in three of four events and broke the school all-around record, leading Western Michigan to a 194.975 to 194.475 victory over Eastern Michigan in the first Mid-American Conference meet of the season.
Weber had a first-place score of 9.825 on both the uneven bars and floor exercise won the balance beam with a 9.850. She finished runner-up on vault with a 9.800. Her scores added up to an all-around total of 39.300, breaking the program record of 39.225, set by Jennifer Sturgis against Michigan State in 2007.
"It is really kind of crazy that Kayla broke the school record in just her second college meet," said WMU head coach Dave Kuzara. "Its really exciting. The one thing about Kayla is that she has really latched onto every philosophy that we have. College gymnastics is a team sport, and she really likes that aspect of it. She isn't thinking about her individual performance, she is really doing it for the team, and that kind of gets her out of her own head."
Weber made an impression last week at Michigan State in her first career outing, where she also won the all-around title with a 39.150. That score helped earn her the recognition of MAC Gymnast of the Week, as well as ranked her 20th in the nation in the GymInfo poll. Her all-around total against Eastern Michigan will likely move her up the rankings when they are released Monday.
Western Michigan led throughout the meet against the Eagles, but Eastern Michigan had higher scores on both vault and balance beam. The Broncos got started with a 48.525 on vault and posted a 48.875 on bars. The team then went 48.600 on beam and finished strong with a 48.975 on floor. EMU scored a 48.725 on vault, 48.475 on bars, 48.650 on beam and 48.625 on floor.
WMU senior Lauren Bledsoe recorded the top score on vault with a 9.850. Jessi Buis tied Weber in second with a 9.800. Caroline O'Brien and Shelby MacDonald tied for runner-up on bars with a 9.800, and went three-four on beam, registering a 9.750 and 9.725, respectively. Bledsoe and Michelle Adams shared second place on floor with a 9.800.
"This was a really big meet for us," Kuzara said. "Eastern Michigan was well-prepared and well-coached. It was one of the best Eastern team's I have seen in a long time. The difference with our team now is we are four years into the program and are senior-driven. We didn't flinch at all."
The Broncos (2-0, 1-0 MAC) travel to MAC preseason favorite Kent State for their next meet, Jan. 25. WMU was picked to finish second in the conference behind the Flashes.