LIVE BLOG: No. 40 Ball State at No. 56 Eastern Michigan

Don’t let the national rankings fool you—all seven MAC teams fit between today’s competitors at No. 40 and No. 56, making it an incredibly tight conference. The Cardinals currently lead the group of seven, with the Eagles looking to improve from seventh to close out their weekend in Ypsilanti. Both teams are entering the second meet of their weekends, coming off of season best team scores: 193.575 for Eastern Michigan, and a program record 196.550 for Ball State.

Eyes will be on Suki Pfister, a key specialist for today’s conference match up and the perennial MAC vault favorite, who’s now broken into Ball State’s floor lineup and holds a program record for the event. Ella Chemotti will look to play an equally important specialist role for the Eagles, notching a team-best 9.925 on beam earlier in the weekend. This afternoon’s all-around battle will also likely have four names in the running: Ball State’s Victoria Henry and Hannah Ruthberg, and Eastern Michigan’s Raisa Boris and Molly Parris.

Today’s meet will be broadcasted on ESPN+, with scoring available here.

Rotation One: Eastern Michigan VT, Ball State UB

Rios (EMU): crashes her Y tuck full, didn’t get the block she needed. 8.150.

Sumner (BSU): no major issues or form deductions to start the rotation, going after big handstands. a tad late on her blind full before the double tuck but sticks the dismount cold. 9.700.

Lewis (EMU): Long wait before she gets the go ahead. Plenty of distance on her Y full, but takes a step out of the directional lines and bobbles off the entire mat while absorbing the landing.

Middleton (BSU): Leg separation on the Maloney and bail, feed didn’t show the beginning. Finishes her blind full right in handstand, and small hop on the double tuck. 9.650.

Parris (EMU): Gets Eastern Michigan back on track with a Y full, legs glued together and only a small hop backwards. 9.650.

Evans (BSU): Loads of height on her hecht mount, and Jaeger to bail combo. Attacks her blind full but pulls a tad close on her double tuck. I know we’re two routines in, but Ball State is showing us now what we weren’t able to watch on Friday. 9.825.

Fisher (EMU): Small ankle cross on her Y full, and drifts onto the line in a small hop to the side. Most controlled landing of the four so far. 9.725.

Henry (BSU): Fluid Maloney to Pak combination, minimal leg separation. Small hop forwards out of her blind half to double front. 9.875

Boris (EMU): Y full on tuck with foot form throughout, and a hop sideways out. 9.750.

Ruthberg (BSU): Short first handstand, and takes a scary fall out of her Ray. Gets up with no issues, and back on the bar. NAILS her Ray to bail combo and isn’t handstand shy at all going into her giants and tuck full in. 9.350.

Chemotti (EMU): Y layout today, likely looking to add the full later in the season. 9.525.

Teter (BSU):  Blind full to a SKY HIGH Tkatchev and bail. A tad short on her handstand going into her blind half double front half out, but happy to end the rotation with a hit. 9.825.

Pfister (BSU): Exhibition today, opens with her legs glued on a Maloney bail combo. Absolutely cranks her giants, and sticks her double layout.

AFTER ONE: Ball State 48.875, Eastern Michigan 47.950

Some landing troubles kept the Eagles from cracking the 48 benchmark on vault, but they’ll no doubt want to graduate their core vaulters from the 9.500-9.700 scores earned today. Similarly, Ball State will look to push five scores into the 9.800’s to be comfortable in the 49’s.

Rotation Two: Ball State VT, Eastern Michigan UB

(BSU): feed only showed vault in time for her celebration. 9.775.

Parris (EMU): Eastern’s signature Hecht mount, and a massive toe blind half to Geinger. Wastes no time checking off the low bar before going back up for her double layout, but takes a large hop back. 9.675.

Teter (BSU): Hops forwards out of her FHS front pike, loads of amplitude but keeps it under control. 9.675.

Lowe (EMU): Another Hecht mount! Hits her first handstands, and blind half to piked Jaeger. Keeps her legs glued on her Pak. Hits her last handstand and takes a small hop on her double front. 9.800.

Middleton (BSU): Travels a tad to the side, strange block but keeps her Y full landed gracefully. Without the lines we’d be none the wiser. 9.700.

Jankowski (EMU): Third Hecht mount in a row, into a blind half – low straddle Jaeger – bail combo. Sticks her blind full to double tuck, and out comes the stick hat! 9.800.

Pfister (BSU): Tiny shuffle on her FHS front pike half, but launches it into the 200’s seats before coming back to the ground. 9.800.

McCullough (EMU): Hecht #4! Missed the middle of the routine with some feed troubles, but her double front dismount was stunning. 9.825.

Ruthberg (BSU): Keeps her Y full right down the center of the mat with a college stick, no form issues in the air. 9.825.

Boris (EMU): Hecht #5, a huge Jaeger to bail combination and then the feed cut again. Came back just in time for her stuck tucked full in. 9.875.

Henry (BSU): Y1.5, steps to salute as fast as possible. 9.825.

Crossen (EMU): First kip mount of the rotation, does a bail right off the top and then comes back to the high bar for her Tkatchev between the bars. Sticks her double layout and the hat comes out again! 9.875.

Vargo (BSU): Exhibitions a Y full, low block and lands with her chest down but it should factor into future Ball State lineups.

AFTER TWO: Ball State 97.800, Eastern Michigan 97.125

A 49+ bars effort from Eastern Michigan combined with landing hops from Ball State have started to close the gap between the two teams. Expect lots of the 9.875’s from bars and 9.825’s from vault to grow into 9.900 and over as we progress through the season.

Rotation Three: Eastern Michigan BB, Ball State FX

Stuckey (EMU): Connects her bhs loso to a split jump, and then gest her toes up to the rafters on her straddle half in her jump series. Handstand into a gainer full to finish, and sticks it cold. The hat is out for their super graceful leadoff! 9.700.

Ruthberg (BSU): Opens with a front tuck through to double tuck, and goes OOB on the lunge. Super dialed into her dance, and then avenges her first pass with a double pike with yards to spare in bounds. Switch ring to switch half with no issues. Closes with a fhs rudi to straddle jump and gets the amplitude there that was maybe missing from her leap pass. 9.650.

Bergin (EMU): Small check on her full turn, and then bhs loso with EASE. Checks on her split jump to sheep jump. Forward gainer full off the end, a tad piked but sticks it cold and the hat makes another appearance. 9.675.

Waldo (BSU): Opens with a punch front double full and lunges sideways out of it. Swich ring to switch side with loads of extension. Front full front lay front tuck is sturdy, and then some choreo into a standing back tuck to fill the requirement. Clean rudi to finish. 9.775.

Parris (EMU): Delay before her routine. Opens with a switch to switch side, and takes a check on the second. Bhs loso as if it’s on the floor, and carries it through to the finger flick a la Peng Peng Lee. Checks again on a side aerial, but reigns it in for her college-stuck dismount. 9.625.

Middleton (BSU): Strange hop out of her front layout to rudi that looks like half of an L-hop? Taking her time for eye contact in the choreography. Huge double pike that goes on but not over the line as her second and final pass. 9.625.

Boris (EMU): Wagon Wheel starts to play, and she nails her triple series. Beat jump to split half, a tad short on the latter. Great landing on her roundoff 1.5, and the hat is back again. 9.800.

Henry (BSU): Front tuck through to double back like she’s putting on a clinic. Almost immediately into a front layout front full, and then the clinic quickly shifts into her Michael Jackson dance moves to echo the music. 9.875.

Crossen (EMU): Checks on her bhs loso, but fights to stay on. Calming presence on her dance, as if the check wasn’t there. Clean front toss and then the feed cuts out again! Back in time for her stuck cartwheel gainer full. The stick hat is having itself a day. 9.600.

Pfister (BSU): Open double tuck looking casual as ever, and then launches her switch side, Popa, and wolf full — might take a deduction on the wolf full’s height, but only because the Popa was so high. Front combo pass gets loads of height too, as does her double pike to close it out. 9.850.

Chemotti (EMU): No nonsense on her front aerial to bhs loso. Her switch split jump to split jump are both high as always, and then she sticks her roundoff 1.5. This hat might need its own NIL rights soon. 9.825.

Teter (BSU): Her front layout front full goes right into her dance. You wouldn’t know she’s at an away meet! Small shuffle on her double tuck. Dances out again from her third pass, and still has energy to run for high fives. 9.850.

Jankowski (EMU): Exhibitioning today. Very clean front toss to bhs, clever to exhibition it until the connection speed is consistent. Front toss to scale will score well. A tad short on her jumps, and then nearly sticks her front tuck full dismount.

AFTER THREE: Ball State 146.800, Eastern Michigan 145.750. 

An even 49.000 on floor helped Ball State re-establish a lead over one point, but fending off the likes of Chemotti and Boris on beam was no small feat. Eastern Michigan is now only five hit floor routines from a new season best team score, and Ball State is positioned well to get their second consecutive 196 if they can replicate Friday’s beam rotation. It’s shaping up to be a great momentum-building meet for both teams.

Rotation Four: Ball State BB, Eastern Michigan FX

Henry (BSU): Small check on her switch leap to straddle 3/4, but rocks her bhs loso. Small wobble again in her choreo, and then a gainer front toss! Slightly underrotated bhs 1.5 dismount. 9.750.

Parris (EMU): Can’t even hear the music over her teammates cheering, amazing energy. Low landing on her rudi but dances out like it didn’t happen. Low landing again on her double pike. Initially at 9.475, raised to 9.575.

Evans (BSU): Bhs loso to open is solid, and then takes a small check on her full turn. May or may not get connection for her aerial to beat jump. Sticks her roundoff 1.5. 9.600.

Chemotti (EMU): Opens with a massive double pike, and having a ton of fun with her choreo. Punch rudi finishes chest up, but rebounds sideways. Jumps all get loads of height, but will take for her chest being down on the wolf full at the end. Closes with a roundoff 1.5 to front tuck, which was likely supposed to be a layout. 9.600.

Ruthberg (BSU): Starts with a fun straddle back mount. Super calm bhs loso bhs series. Connects her two switch leaps to a pike jump! Wastes no time and finishes with a cartwheel gainer full, and makes sure we know she stuck it. 9.750.

Stuckey (EMU): Time for a self choreographed routine! It was initially a three pass, and has been reworked to be two passes now. Her leaps are out of this world high! First pass is a roundoff 1.5 layout, will take a leg sparation in that pass. Shuffles backwards OOB on her double pike, and then continutes to dance out like it didnt happen. 9.550.

Sumner (BSU): Aerial bhs series to start. Huge extension on her switch leap and split jump. Sticks her roundoff 1.5 cold, and just like Ruthberg makes sure we saw it. 9.800.

McCullough (EMU): Starts with a amssive front layout to front double full, lunges forwards and from my angle we can’t see if it went out. Great extension on her switch ring and tour jete full. Gets her backwards requirement out of the way sandwiched into the choreo. Finishes with a front layout to rudi and looks uncomfortable with the landing. 9.425.

Volpe (BSU): Side aerial looks calm as ever, as does her bhs bhs loso. Sneaks around her beat jump to split full combination. Fights to hold the stick on her gainer full, and in exchange for the stick has to put her chest down. 9.725.

Crossen (EMU): Sturdy front layout front full to start. Feed shows cheering instead of her leaps, cuts back in time to show it ending with a straddle half Shushunova. That simply doesn’t work unless the jump before is twisted perfectly. Bounds OOB on her double tuck, and then gets into a straddle jump combination with her ending choreo. 9.650.

Waldo (BSU): Front aerial to fhs series, great work keeping her leg up inbetween the two. No checks whatsoever in the routine’s interior. Front toss looks easy. Finishes with a punch tucked rudi, small hop forwards. 9.825.

Boris (EMU): Opens with a clean double pike. It’s another cheering over the music routine! Roundoff 1.5 to punch front right into the dance. Switch half to split full could’ve been a tad more extended. Finishes with a strong double tuck. 9.850.

Pfister (BSU): Exhibitioning today, and as I type that the feed cuts. Back for her bhs loso that could fit right into the top six. Checks her aerial and stays on. Connects her two switch leaps to a straddle 1/4, and then takes a small hop on her gainer full. Suddenly she’s in the conversation as a MAC all arounder, not just the vault specialist we were treated to last year.

FINAL: Ball State 195.650, Eastern Michigan 193.975

A successful second meet of the weekend for both teams! Vault aside, if we look at the top scores on each event both teams are putting up strong numbers. The difference in today’s meet lay in depth, with the Cardinals ultimately notching more 9.600+ scores today. Ball State retained their energy from Friday’s hat trick of program records, and even improved on their floor score from that night. Eastern Michigan put up their top score so far of the season. Victoria Henry pulled off her second all around win of the weekend, and can definitely improve from the 39.300 range in the weeks to come.

Ball State will host Fisk, Pittsburgh and SEMO in a quad meet in one week’s time on Sunday the 31st, while Eastern Michigan will get their next scoring opportunity alongside Iowa State and Towson at West Virginia later that afternoon.

Both teams were spotted this afternoon wearing Flip for Scott apparel, and the commentators note that over $1,300 has been raised for Ball State coach Scott Wilson’s treatment.

VT Winner: Ruthberg, Henry (9.825)

UB Winner: Boris, Crossen (9.875)

BB Winner: Chemotti, Waldo (9.825)

FX Winner: Henry (9.875)

AA Winner: Henry (39.325)

READ THIS NEXT: How to Watch College Gymnastics in 2023

Live Blog by Peri Goodman

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