By Morgan Landes | @morgan_landes34
Color Commentator for Ball State Gymnastics
Member of Ball State Sports Link
Gymnastics is one of the hardest sports to grasp, but one of the best to be involved in.
Not very many people understand how hard a gymnast works day in and day out. Hard work pays off for those who work toward their goals, especially in a sport like gymnastics.
Every pass, trick and routine can be better than it is now and the unwanted knee and elbow bends can be fixed. That is when the consistency within a team falls into place.
However, none of this can happen without the hard work from the coaches and gymnasts every day.
Sunday, the Ball State Gymnastics team will participate in a tri-meet alongside the Eastern Michigan Eagles and the Illinois State Redbirds.
The tri-meet is throwing a twist in the plan for all three teams because the rotations are all switched around. However, all three of the head coaches seem to think their team will be perfectly fine in the tri-meet. With each team having several excellent gymnasts competing, Sunday’s meet on ESPN 3 will be an exciting one.
Starting with Ball State, Denasiha Christian, a senior from Roanoke City, Virginia, is the one to watch.
Described as “powerful and a huge leader on the team,” by Ball State’s head coach, Joanna Saleem, Christian will have several eyes focusing on her throughout the meet.
Christian has been on several All-MAC teams and has competed extremely well on floor with a career-high of 9.950. She will be the team’s anchor on vault, balance beam and floor because she has so much energy and power to knock out a great routine.
Eastern Michigan’s Kendall Valentin, another second team All-MAC gymnast, will be competing all-around Sunday.
Eastern Michigan’s head coach, Jay Santos, describes Valentin as “a strong leader with great execution and presence.”
Valentin has been a large contributor for her team as the Eastern Michigan Eagles have ranked in the Top 20 for the past two weeks now.
Valentin knows she is taking on a large workload for her team by competing all-around in several different meets this season, but has accepted the challenge and is ready to compete.
Another thing to keep a close eye on during this tri-meet is the sister match-up between Ball State’s, Sarah Ebeyer and Eastern Michigan’s, Kimberly Ebeyer.
Kimberly is a senior for the Eagles and is looking to end her season with a bang. She will be competing on the balance beam and floor for Eastern Michigan.
Sarah Ebeyer is only a junior for the Cardinals and is looking to improve and continue to compete next season. Sarah will be competing on vault, balance beam and floor. Keep a close eye on those two competing against one another and trying to top each other’s scores on beam and floor.
Lastly, Illinois State is bringing great things to the table as well. Meredith LaRoche, competing all-around for the Redbirds as a freshman, will be another gymnast to keep an eye out for.
Bob Conkling, the Redbirds head coach says “LaRoche is the most powerful gymnast on our team by far.”
LaRoche will be anchoring vault and floor for Illinois State, so she can try and end those two events with a great final routine.
The meet, produced by Ball State Sports Link, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on ESPN 3.