Gymnastics Travels to Ball State For Friday Showdown
Western Michigan is 4-3, 1-1 in the MAC this season and was predicted to finish second in the conference preseason rankings. The Broncos look to get back on track after finishing third against No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 26 West Virginia and William & Mary in a quad-meet two weeks ago. The Broncos posted a 192.475 team score in that meet and are currently ranked No. 37 in the nation with a 193.769 season average. Fortunately the Broncos have experience on their side with seven seniors and returning 14 members from last year's squad.
Ball State has hit the ground running, winning five straight meets and posting a 3-0 MAC record, after dropping its first two meets of the year at Florida and Iowa. The Cardinals were predicted to finish sixth in the preseason MAC poll. Ball State is coming off a 194.075 to 193.975 over Eastern Michigan, Feb. 9, and also have recorded league wins over Northern Illinois and Central Michigan. The 194.075 score that the Cardinals put up against EMU was the 24th best mark in school history. Ball State enters this weekend's matchup against the Broncos with a 193.088 season average, ranking 47th in the country.
LAST YEAR VS. BALL STATE
The Broncos took care of the Cardinals, 194.225 to 191.600, last year in Kalamazoo. Western Michigan started off the meet with a school record 49.175 on vault, shattering the previous record of 48.875. Taylor Zondervan and Lauren Bledsoe tied for the second best individual vault score in program history with a 9.900. Bledsoe would again tally a career high with a 9.900 on floor exercise, tying WMU's third-highest score ever.
GOING FOR FOUR IN A ROW
Western Michigan has defeated Ball State in the last three regular season meetings. The last time the two squared off in Muncie on March 11, 2011, WMU came away with a 194.025 to 192.575 victory. The Cardinals' last win over the Brown & Gold was in their home arena on Feb. 22, 2009, edging WMU 190.975 to 189.800.
WMU NATIONAL RANKINGS
Caroline O'Brien, Uneven Bar T-17 (9.850)
Team Vault, #44 (48.550)
Team Uneven Bars, #25 (48.731)
Team Balance Beam, #45 (48.063)
Team Floor Exercise, #45 (48.425)
BALL STATE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Team Vault, #48 (48.679)
Team Uneven Bars, #48 (48.175)
Team Balance Beam, #55 (47.742)
Team Floor Exercise, #42 (48.492)
Ball State will be hosting its annual "THINK PINK MEET" against the Broncos.
WMU HOSTS 2013 MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
Western Michigan is the host of the 2013 MAC Championships, Saturday, March 23. It will be WMU's first time hosting since 2006, which is also the last team championship for Western Michigan. The championship meet rotates year-to-year between the seven conference schools that carry gymnastics.
WMU has two regular-season home meets left this season, Sunday, Feb. 24, against Central Michigan and Sunday, March 10, against Northern Illinois. It will be Girl Scout Day during the CMU meet and Autism Awareness/Senior Day for NIU.