Feb. 20, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University gymnastics team (6-3, 4-1 MAC) posted school records in three of four events Sunday afternoon (Feb. 20), helping to lead the squad to a narrow victory over Ball State, 194.350-194.250, in Mid-American Conference action at University Arena.
Ball State entered the meet ranked 21st in the nation and sported a perfect 12-0 record. The Broncos' team total of 194.350 surpassed the previous program-best of 193.000 set at the MAC Championships in 1997.
"It was a total team effort today," head coach Terry Casperson said. "We hit in all four events and put together the kind of meet we knew we were capable of."
Western Michigan got off to a quick start by breaking the program's vault record in the first event. Senior Lori Gerhardt paced the squad with a team season and personal-best effort of 9.800. The Broncos' total of 48.425 surpassed the two-week old mark (48.125) set at the Michigan Classic on Feb. 6.
Junior Andrea Ruhe broke her own school record in the uneven bars, recording a mark of 9.850, giving WMU two school records in two events of action. Gerhardt was right behind at 9.825, which was also a career best.
Although WMU fell short of the school record in the balance beam, which was also set earlier this season, the squad's effort of 48.675 kept the team right behind the Cardinals heading into the final rotation.
Sara Trudeau and Rachel Smith both rose to the occasion by posting scores of 9.85 in the floor exercise and Jennifer Gleissner was right behind at 9.80 helping to secure the come-from-behind win. Trudeau and Smith matched the school record set by Gerhardt in 1999.
The story of the afternoon for the Broncos was the effort of Gerhardt. In her final season of competition, the Warren, Mich., native responded on Senior Day with career bests in three of the four events. She claimed the all-around title with yet another school record (39.050).
"Our team loves to compete at home," Casperson said. "We had a good week of practice and used our experience in big meets and dual situations from earlier in the season to remain focused."
As a team, Western Michigan managed to either tie or set 12 personal bests in the victory over the Cardinals.
Just past the midway point of the 2000 campaign, the Broncos have now recorded new school standards in all four events as a team and the overall squad point total. All of the individual Bronco records have either been tied of broken this season, with the exception of the vault.
Media contact: Scott Kuykendall; 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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