The high ceilings of Ball State’s Worthen Arena can’t break her focus.
In fact, she’s relaxed. Watching the other girls perform puts her at ease.
Staring at the gleaming competition floor, Seymour’s Alyssa Goen knows its almost her time under the spotlight — the moment she’s waited on for exactly one year.
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Fans, packed together in the arena’s stands, remain quiet for the next performance.
She turns away and mentally prepares herself for the floor routine after glancing toward coach Angie Mellencamp.
The two exchange confident smiles before Goen steps onto her four-cornered playground.
For the second-consecutive year Goen will compete in the floor routine at the gymnastics state meet Saturday afternoon.
Last weekend at Columbus East’s regional, Goen claimed the sixth and final spot to advance in the individual event.
Goen scored 9.45 at regional, just .025 points above the seventh place spot.
“It was really, really tough,” Goen said of the regional meet. “Down to the last second was nail biting. We were looking at everybody’s scores trying to see if I made it. It was nerve-racking. It is one of the hardest regionals in the state; you know it’s going to be tough (to advance).”
At regional Goen implemented a full front into her routine, something she hadn’t done in sectional.
“We put in the front full in order to just add a little more difficulty to the routine,” Mellencamp said. “Her passes were pretty unique as far as not a lot of girls are doing salto salto in their passout, at all, in our regional. Her landings, which we worked on a lot last week, were just cleaning up. We really didn’t change a lot of the routine other than adding the front full.”
At last year’s state meet, Goen scored 9.1. Goen said that she felt it was her best performance, even though the score wasn’t her career-highest.
Switching from high school gymnasiums to Ball State is an adjustment all gymnasts must make.
Goen will have a practice opportunity today to prepare for the grand stage.
“Even to be able to have the Friday night practice is nice,” Mellencamp said. “Going from high school gymnasiums to this college arena where the ceiling is so much higher up it actually changes the dynamics on the floor. Your surroundings are completely different: It changes the spacial awareness a little bit.”
The week before regional was all about cleaning up Goen’s routines. This week, Mellencamp has implemented cardio workouts into Goen’s practices to excel the aesthetics of the routine.
“We focused a lot this week a lot on cardio to just make the routine flow more so it doesn’t look like she’s working for her skills and make it look cleaner overall,” the coach said.
At state, there will be four judges compared to the normal two. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the middle two are averaged for the gymnasts final tally.
Prior to the performances, a baseline is set by a high school gymnast so the judges have a baseline to score by. All four judges will discuss the baseline and be on the same page from that point on for consistency sake.
With her eye at the grand award, Goen plans on putting her best performance of the season at the final meet of the year.
Tomorrow’s state gymnastics meet
Site: Worthen Arena, Ball State University, 1699 W. Bethel Avenue, Muncie.
Time: Opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m. ET; Competition at 1 pm ET.
Parking: Ball State charges a $5 all-day parking fee in the Worthen Arena lots. It’s $10 for vehicles that take up more than one parking space.