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Shelby MacDonald
Courtesy: Casey Spring

Three Broncos Claim Individual Titles in Loss to Bowling Green

Courtesy: Kristin Keirns, associate director of athletic media relations
Release: 01/17/2014
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KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan gymnastics team fell to Bowling Green in the Broncos’ home-opener Friday evening, 192.825 to 191.450. The meet was the first Mid-American Conference dual for both teams.

Despite being edged by the Falcons, Western Michigan had individual first-place finishes in three of the four events. The Broncos also improved its overall team score from week one to week two by .775.

“Tonight was a very exciting atmosphere to be in,” said WMU head coach Penny Jernigan, in her first ever meet in University Arena. “There was a lot of enthusiasm in the stands and I thought we had a good turnout from our fans.

“Overall, we showed improvement as a team. We still need to get our difficulty up on vault and I thought we underachieved some on bars. We showed highlights on beam and were much better on floor than we were last week at Arkansas. There is still a lot of growth, but we are trending in the right direction.”

In her two events of the evening, sophomore Jessi Buis won the balance beam and was runner-up on vault. She tied a career-high with a 9.700 on beam and stuck a huge layout full for a 9.750 on vault in the first rotation.

Seniors Shelby MacDonald and Lauren Bledsoe turned in first place finishes as well. MacDonald won the uneven bars with a 9.775, while Bledsoe took the floor exercise with a 9.775.

“Jessi’s vault was absolutely beautiful, and on bars, Shelby had a light, beautiful, artistic routine,” Jernigan said. “Lauren came out and did the type of floor routine we know she is capable of doing.”

Freshman Audry Merritt also had a standout performance on floor, placing third with a 9.750. Merritt and classmate Jessie Peszek tied for fourth on bars, each scoring a 9.625.

Western Michigan’s rotation scores were 47.650 (V), 47.950 (UB), 47.450, (BB) and 48.375 (FX).

The Broncos return to University Arena next Friday to host defending MAC regular season champion Kent State at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
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