Broncos Total Second Best Score in Program History, Defeat Bowling Green
Western Michigan's overall total was the second highest in the program's 37 seasons, only behind a 195.575 recorded at Kent State in 2004. It also goes down as the highest score in the MAC this season. It was the second top-10 score WMU has posted this year, and the third in the last two seasons. WMU tallied a 194.575 last week at Northern Illinois, which was good enough for sixth place at the time, and a 194.975 at Kent State last year (currently ranks third).
"The 195.300 is a score that will help us improve our rankings," said third-year head coach Dave Kuzara. "While I am pleased with hitting all 24 routines, we have plenty of detail work to do."
Western Michigan entered Sunday's meet with a team season average of 192.892, ranking 35th in the nation. The top 36 teams at the end of the regular season advance to an NCAA regional. WMU was one off from making the school's first ever regional last year, finishing 37th.
The Broncos led start to finish against Bowling Green, starting the day off tying its fifth-best ever score on vault with a 48.775, while the Falcons went 47.500 on the uneven bars. Bowling Green made up some ground in the second and third rotations, posting a 49.025 on vault and a 48.650 the floor exercise, while WMU went 48.950 on bars and 48.525 on balance beam. Western Michigan sealed the win with a team season-high 49.050 on floor in the fourth rotation. Bowling Green meanwhile had a 47.625 on beam. The Falcons fell to 1-6 overall with the loss and 0-2 in the MAC.
Individually, Western Michigan set or tied 11 personal bests. Three of those were on bars, as WMU swept the top six spots. Caroline O'Brien, Kristen Seidowski and Cepeda Carter finished 1-2-3 with career highs of 9.850, 9.825 and 9.800, respectively.
The Broncos set four career highs on floor, placing five of the top six finishers. Freshman Michelle Adams claimed her first individual title with a 9.850, and teammates Carter, Stacy Kramer, Lauren Bledsoe and Taylor Zondervan finished in a four-way tie for second, all flashing a 9.800. It was a career-high for Adams, Carter and Kramer, while tying a career-high for Bledsoe.
Zondervan was the team's lone all-arounder and had all four of her scores counts towards the team total. She won the all-around with a career-high 38.950. In addition to finishing second on floor, she placed third on beam (9.700), fourth on bars (9.750) and ninth on vault (9.700). It was just her second time competing as an alla-rounder this season.
Western Michigan wore red, white and blue leotards and camouflage warm-up tops as part of Military Appreciation Day. Members of WMU's ROTC presented the colors and helped as flashers during the meet.
"The team would like to thank the ROTC for their support," Kuzara added.
Western Michigan returns to University Arena next Sunday, Feb. 5, hosting non-conference opponent Illinois-Chicago at 2 p.m.