Jan. 13, 2005
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Cleveland - Central Michigan has been selected to repeat as Mid-American Conference gymnastics regular-season champions, the league announced with its preseason coaches poll. In addition, the MAC's seven head coaches have picked both CMU and Kent State to win this year's conference tournament.
Last season, Central Michigan (15-3, 6-0 MAC) won the regular-season crown and the MAC Championship. The Chippewas return nine letterwinners, including All-MAC first team selections Sara Burtinsky (Sr., AA), Stephanie Langley (Jr., AA), Kara Reighard (Sr., AA) and All-MAC second team selection Jules Passy (So., AA).
Kent State (11-2, 5-1) is picked to finish second in the preseason poll. The Golden Flashes returns seven letterwinners, among those All-MAC first team selection Earline Feugill (Sr., V-BB-FX) and second team All-MAC selection April Zentko (Sr., V-BB-FX). Kent State finished second at the 2004 MAC Championship.
Coming in third in the preseason poll is Eastern Michigan, which returns 2004 Freshman of the Year Rebecca Fuss. The Eagles finished third at the 2004 MAC Championship and posted records of 4-11 overall and 2-4 in the MAC.
Bowling Green (5-8, 3-3) is predicted to finish fourth. Leading the way for the Falcons will be the three returning seniors Kristin DiPietro, Kari Elste and Breanne Metzger.
Finishing fifth in the poll is Northern Illinois. The Huskies will look for leadership from second team All-MAC senior Kristina Campos and junior Ashlee Williams. Northern Illinois recorded a 2004 record of 7-9 overall and 2-4 in the MAC and finished fifth at the conference championship.
Western Michigan (5-12, 2-4) is tabbed sixth in the conference and return 13 letterwinners.
Rounding out the poll is Ball State (4-9, 1-5), which returns 10 letterwinners, including first team All-MAC selection Jenna Tarkington (So., AA).
The 2005 MAC Gymnastics Championship will be Friday, March 25 in DeKalb, Ill.
1. Central Michigan
2. Kent State
3. Eastern Michigan
4. Bowling Green
5. Northern Illinois
6. Western Michigan
7. Ball State
Central Michigan and Kent State