MAC Announces Gymnast and Specialist of the Week

Updated 1/28/2014

Gymnast of the Week

Alyssa Nocella, Bowling Green, Sophomore

Sophomore Alyssa Nocella had a career-best 39.150 score in the all-around, leading Bowling Green to its second-highest team score since 2005 in a 194.600-192.525 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday to improve to 2-0 in the MAC. Nocella scored at least 9.725 on all four apparatuses, posting a 9.800 on the balance beam and concluding with a 9.850 on the floor exercise. She also tied her career-best with a 9.775 on vault as the Falcons recorded the MAC’s highest team score of the weekend.


Co-Specialist of the Week

Shelby MacDonald, Western Michigan, Senior

Shelby MacDonald won the bars competition for Western Michigan for the second straight week, placing first against No. 22 Kent State Friday with a 9.800. She also finished first last week against Bowling Green with a 9.775. In her other competition of the night, MacDonald led WMU with a team-high 9.700 on the balance beam, where she placed fourth. Both scores were season highs for the senior gymnast.


Kristen Petzold, Central Michigan, Sophomore

Petzold set the tone for Central Michigan’s victory over Ball State with a career-best 9.925 on vault to win the event and followed that up with another career best, this time on floor with a 9.825. Her performance helped CMU post the MAC’s best team score this season with a 195.800. Her score on vault is the best in the conference this season.


Other Nominees

Denasiha Christian, Ball State, Sophomore

Denasiha Christian won the floor exercise at the Cardinals meet at Northern Illinois plus tied for fifth on the vault. In Ball State’s second meet of the weekend at Central Michigan, Christian helped the Cardinals to their highest team score of the season with a 192.350. At CMU, Christian tied for third on the vault and placed third on the floor


Megan Valentini, Bowling Green, Senior

Megan Valentini tied her career-best with a 9.775 on the balance beam and added a 9.725 on the floor as Bowling Green posted its second-highest team score since 2005 in a 194.600-192.525 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday to improve to 2-0 in MAC play. Valentini’s score on the balance beam helped the Falcons post their best team score (48.750) on the apparatus in the seven-year tenure of head coach Kerrie Turner and also pushed the team to the highest overall team score in the MAC on the weekend.


Paulina Miller, Eastern Michigan, Junior

EMU junior Paulina Miller paced the Eagles in the floor exercise in a dual against Bowling Green, Jan. 25. She recorded a season-high 9.725 for fourth place in the event. Also, Miller improved her score on vault, receiving a season-best 9.600 from the judges.


Jaelyn Olsen, Northern Illinois, Sophomore

Sophomore Jaelyn Olsen won both of her events Friday in NIU’s victory over Ball State at the Convocation Center. Olsen claimed the vault title with a 9.775 to win that event and recorded her personal best balance beam score with a 9.700 to take that event. Her effort helped NIU to its top beam score of the 2014 season.


Taylor Bolender, Central Michigan, Sophomore

Bolender posted three career highs to help Central Michigan defeat Ball State while also posting the top score in the MAC this season with a 195.800. Bolender scored a 9.900 to take first on floor, a 9.850 on bars, which was good for second, and led off beam with a solid 9.700 for a top five finish. Her score on floor matches the second-best mark in the MAC this season while she also posted the third-best bars score this season.


Anna Willette, Eastern Michigan, Junior

Eastern Michigan junior Anna Willette recorded season-high in two of her three events at Bowling Green, Jan. 25. She led the Eagles on beam with a season-high 9.775 for third place while also taking fifth on vault with a 9.700, also a season best. Willette also competed on bars, tallying a 9.600.


Marie Case, Kent State, Senior

Senior Marie Case led Kent State Gymnastics to a 194.025-192.100 win over Western Michigan on Friday, January 24 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Case came away with first in the all around with a score of 39.150 as she took first in the balance beam (9.850) and tied for first in the floor exercise (9.850). Case tied for fourth on the vault (9.725) and finished sixth in the uneven parallel bars (9.725).


Kim Gotlund, Northern Illinois, Senior

NIU senior Kim Gotlund recorded a season-best all-around score of 38.600 in NIU’s 192.050-188.825 victory over Ball State Friday night in the Huskies’ home opener. Gotlund recorded four top three finishes in her five events, winning the all-around and taking second on both the floor exercise and balance beam in a tightly-judged meet. Gotlund’s 9.675 was a season-high on beam for the senior and she had the Huskies’ best score with a 9.700 on floor. She scored a 9.675 on bars to tie for third and added a 9.550 on vault.


Audry Merritt, Western Michigan, Freshman

Freshman Audry Merritt competed in three events this week for Western Michigan. Merritt tied for first on the floor exercise against No. 22 Kent State, scoring a team season-high 9.850. Merritt also finished runner-up on the uneven bars, showing a 9.775. In her third event, Merritt totaled a 9.625 on the vault, which was WMU’s third highest in the event. Her bars and floor scores were both personal bests.