Gymnastics Weekend Preview

Updated 2/8/2013

Courtesy of MAC Sport Information Departments 

Ball State
Ball State's women's gymnastics team will return to Mid-American Conference action with its 2-0 record when the Cardinals compete at Eastern Michigan Saturday at 7 p.m.

Ball State has opened its league schedule with a win over Central Michigan, which entered the meet ranked 16th in the country, and a victory over Northern Illinois.
Eastern Michigan is 0-2 in MAC action after opening the year with losses to Western Michigan and Bowling Green.
The Cardinals, under the direction of head coach Nadalie Walsh, have defeated its last four straight opponents and own a 4-2 mark on the season after opening the year with losses at Florida and at Iowa.
Brittney Emmons is coming off a meet where she won the all-around and the bars in Ball State's wins over Penn and Centenary.
Ball State won each individual event in the meet with Brooke Evans and Nicole Allen tying for first on the vault.
Samantha Santos claimed the individual title on the beam and Denasiha Christian won the floor.

The Cardinals will return to Irving Gym Feb. 15, in its annual THINK PINK meet.  Ball State will compete against Western Michigan in a 7 p.m. meet. 

Bowling Green
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - The Bowling Green State University gymnastics team heads to St. Charles, Mo. Saturday to take on first-year program Lindenwood.  The Falcons are coming off a strong 193.825 performance against Kent State last week, but head coach Kerrie Beach says the team has set its sights on achieving a score of 195 or higher in the month of February.  

"We competed well last weekend and we are looking to build on that performance," Beach said.  "We did have to count one fall in our team score so our goals include hitting six-for-six in our lineups and not having to count a fall on Saturday.  I have expressed to our team that hitting a score of 195 in February is an excellent milestone.  We have the routines to do that, so this could be our weekend."
The Falcons posted season-high scores on balance beam and floor exercise in the 195.800-193.825 loss to Kent State, led by Alyssa Nocella's season-best 38.825 in the all-around.  The team hit five solid routines on every event but uneven bars, where the Falcons were forced to count their only fall.  
"The quality of gymnastics improved last weekend as well," Beach said.  "I expect that will continue to grow with more stuck landings and clean routines this weekend."
Bowling Green has yet to perform in a meet without counting a fall this year.  The team reached a season-high 194.025 on Jan. 26 in a win against Eastern Michigan - the first time the Falcons have scored above 194 since 2010.  The Falcons are 1-4 (1-2 MAC) on the season heading into the meet against Lindenwood.
The Lindenwood Lions are 1-7 on the year, coming off their best showing of the season in a loss to Texas Woman's University.  The Lions scored a season-best (and school record) 191.250 against TWU, with Emily Turik earning Gymnast of the Week honors in the Midwest Independent Conference.  
The meeting between the Falcons and the Lions is set to begin Saturday at 6 p.m. ET in Hyland Arena. 

Central Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – After three straight road meets, No. 21 Central Michigan returns to McGuirk Arena for the showcase home event of the 2013 season on Friday evening, as the gymnastics and wrestling programs come together for the second-ever Royal Rumble and Tumble. Scheduled for a 7 p.m. start, the gymnastics team will face Northern Illinois while the No. 12 wrestling squad battles Eastern Michigan in an extravaganza that features both teams competing simultaneously on the same floor. 

The Chippewas, which are ranked No. 6 in the Central region, are coming off their best overall performance of 2013, scoring a season high 195.875 to defeat Illinois State (194.100), Eastern Michigan (192.850) and host Illinois-Chicago (192.550) and capture the title at the Illinois-Michigan Challenge. CMU won every event as a team, posting season highs in the vault (49.275) and the floor exercise (48.975). Sophomore Kylie Fagan led CMU, claiming titles in the uneven bars and the balance beam to earn MAC Specialist of the Week honors. Freshman Kirsten Petzold headlined the Chippewas’ stellar vault effort, scoring a team season best and career high 9.900 to finish second.
After five weeks of competition, CMU is ranked highest nationally in the balance beam (No. 19). The Chippewas are also ranked No. 22 in the floor exercise, No. 29 in the vault, and No. 30 in the uneven bars. Individually, at the regional level, CMU has three gymnasts in the top 10: sophomore Taylor Noonan (No. 8, balance beam), Fagan (No. 9, uneven bars), and sophomore Halle Moraw (No. 10, floor exercise).
Northern Illinois is coming off a close home win over Southeast Missouri State, using a season high score of 192.875 to defeat the Redhawks (192.775). The Huskies have also notched home wins over Illinois State (192.175-195.050) and MAC foe Bowling Green (192.775-192.525) with their lone defeat coming two weeks ago at Ball State (192.475-192.075). NIU is ranked highest, as a team, in the floor exercise (No. 36). The Huskies are led by junior Megan Melendez, the 2012 MAC Co-Specialist of the Year, who has a team-high four title wins this season. 
CMU holds a commanding 37-8-1 all-time series record versus Northern Illinois. A year ago, the Chippewas downed the Huskies, 194.950-193.925, in a dual meet in DeKalb. 
Central Michigan returns to the road next weekend, traveling to northeast Ohio for a showdown with MAC preseason favorite No. 24 Kent State. The three-time defending conference champion Chippewas and the Golden Flashes will meet on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center in Kent. CMU defeated Kent State twice last season, head-to-head in a dual meet in Mount Pleasant (194.475-1

Eastern Michigan
YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Eastern Michigan University gymnastics team welcomes the Ball State University Cardinals to Bowen Field House for a Mid-American Conference tilt, Feb. 9. EMU (1-4, 0-2 MAC) will enter the meet looking for its first conference victory following a third place finish at the Michigan/Illinois Challenge, Feb. 2. The Cardinals (4-2, 2-0 MAC) look to remain undefeated in MAC play after winning a home tri-meet against  Centenary College and the University of Pennsylvania, Feb. 1.

EMU Head Coach Steve Wilce joined Eagle All-Access this week to talk about his team's performance at the Michigan/Illinois Challenge as well as the upcoming home meet against MAC foe Ball State University.
Michigan Reigns: Eastern and Central Michigan combined for a score of 388.725 to defeat the Illinois schools of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, 388.725-385.90 in the Michigan/Illinois Challenge, Feb. 2. The state of Michigan has now won two out of the three annual challenges between the two states. The Eagles finished third with their individual team score of 192.850. Central Michigan took first individually with a mark of 195.875. Illinois State scored 194.100 to take second, and UIC finished fourth with a 192.800.
A Mark to Remember: Sophomore Anna Willette led the Eagles in two events with a pair of third place finishes at the Michigan/Illinois Challenge, Feb. 2. On the vault, the Pylesville, Md. native recorded a career-high 9.875, the fifth best mark in school history. Willette also finished third on the bars with a score of 9.800.
Only a Freshman: Looking at the season statistics, it would be hard to believe that Khadijah Hudson has only competed in three career collegiate meets. The freshman has been a top-two performer for Eastern in each meet on the floor and vault. Hudson has posted a best 9.825 on the vault as well as scores of 9.800 on every floor exercise this season. The Hebron, Ky. native's accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as she earned MAC Specialist of the Week for the period ending, Jan. 20.
Scouting The Cardinals: The Eagles will look to break a three-meet skid against Ball State, a streak dating back to 2009 when the Green and White triumphed, 193.325-191.100, Feb. 15. The Cardinals sport a 2-0 record in MAC play with wins over Northern Illinois University and Central Michigan.
Last Time Against Ball State: Eastern Michigan fell to the Cardinals of Ball State, Feb. 17, 2012, in Irving Gym, 193.425-192.150.  Amanda Fuller led the Green and White on the vault finishing in first place, tallying a career high 9.800. Anna Willette followed closely behind, also recording a career high 9.775 to give her a second place tie. Miranda Jarvis and Willette earned a first place tie with two BSU Cardinals posting a 9.750 on the beam.
Alaska Bound!: Pack your bags and book your plane ticket because the Eagles will be making their longest road trip of the season, traveling nearly 4,000 miles (3,821 to be exact) to Anchorage, Alaska to take on the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves inside the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. EST.


Kent State
KENT, OHIO –The Kent State Gymnastics team (5-2; 2-0 MAC) will take part in Kent State University history Friday, February 8, in the Kent State's first ever Beauty and the Beast meet. The meet will feature both Kent State's gymnastic and wrestling teams in competition at the same time. Facing off against Rutgers University, the gymnasts will take part in their half of the nights activities starting at 7:00 p.m. In the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio.

Kent State is coming off of a strong win in Bowling Green, where they dominated the Mid-American Conference competitor by a score of 195.800-193.825. In the inter-conference match-up, junior Marie Case really shined for the Flashes and took home three of the five night's top honors, including all-around champion. Not only did the Flashes place a gymnasts on the top in each of the five categories but sweep second place in all four individual events as well. Case was also named MAC Gymnast of the Week for the second week in a row, which marks the first time in her career she has achieved the sole-title consecutively.

Northern Illinois
DeKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois gymnastics team faces one of its most daunting challenges of the season Friday night when the Huskies take on the No. 21 Central Michigan Chippewas at McGuirk Arena in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. as part of CMU's "Royal Rumble and Tumble" event beginning at 6 p.m. (CT).

Northern Illinois (3-1, 1-1 MAC) returns to Mid-American Conference competition against the Chippewas (6-4, 1-1 MAC), who have won the last three Mid-American Conference tournament titles. At the same time, the CMU wrestling team will be taking on Eastern Michigan.
NIU Head Coach Sam Morreale said the atmosphere should not be a distraction to his team.
"There's so much going on [at a meet like this], it's almost easier to focus in," Morreale said. "The cheering won't even necessarily be directed at the gymnasts so we won't be paying attention to what they are doing. There's going to be a lot of energy in the gym so the hope is to tap in to the energy and use it."
NIU will start the competition on uneven parallel bars, the event that has given the Huskies the most trouble this season as NIU averages just a 47.431 as a team.