March 24, 2005
DeKALB, Ill. - The Mid-American Conference announced its 2005 Senior Gymnast of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Specialist of the Year, Gymnast of the Year and Coach of the Year at the 2005 MAC Gymnastics banquet in DeKalb, Ill., site of the MAC Gymnastics Championship. Voting was conducted among the league's seven head coaches.
Central Michigan's Sara Burtinsky is this year's MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year. A three-time MAC Gymnast or Co-Gymnast of the week in 2005. Is tied for first in the MAC conference (9.950) and ranked 12th nationally on the uneven bars with a season average is a 9.885. She has competed in the all-around in all 12 meets; placed 1st in 5 of the meets. Her average all-around score is 39.22 which places her 3rd in the Region. Is 1 of 6 CMU gymnasts to ever qualify for NCAA National Championships. Burtinsky career highs are vault 9.900, bars 9.950, balance beam 9.950, floor 9.900 and all-around 39.60.
Eastern Michigan's Jolene Worley was honored as Freshman of the Year. The gymnast from Orlando, Florida has competed in the all-around in all 11 meets this season, Worley tallied a personal-best 39.025 in the all-around competition vs. Western Michigan. Has a season best score of 9.700 on the vault, 9.800 on the bars, 9.775 on the beam, 9.875 on the floor and 39.025 in the all-around. Worley bar score, floor score and all-around score rank in the top-10 in EMU history.
Receiving the league's Specialist of the Year award was Kent State's Erika Linnersten. The senior from Cincinnati, Ohio has won seven beam titles and three bars titles. Is currently 11th in the nation on beam with a 9.895 RQS. On the MAC's top performance list, she ranks first on beam with a 9.950, is tied for second on bars with a 9.900 and is tied for 11th on vault with a 9.800. Was selected the MAC Co-Specialist of the Week Feb. 15. Was named the Kent State Athlete of the Week Jan. 30. Also was selected the Kent State Blue & Gold Athletic Fund Female Athlete of the Month for the month of February. Has 21 top-three finishes to date, including 10 on beam, seven on bars and four on vault. Has record at least a 9.750 on beam in all 12 meets this season.
The league's Gymnast of the Year honor goes to Central Michigan's Kara Reighard. Reighard is currently ranked in a tie for 10th nationally in floor exercise. She has been named MAC Gymnast or Co-Gymnast of the Week four times this season. Has recorded the top all-around score in the MAC with a 39.450 and posted a perfect 10.000 in floor exercise to win the prestigious State of Michigan Classic meet. Ranks in the top four in the MAC in every event - first in floor, second on balance beam, third on bars and fourth on vault. Has won the all-around in six of 10 meets, and has season-highs of 9.825 (vault), 9.875 (bars), 9.9 (beam) and 10.0 (floor). Reighard has served as a team captain this season, helping push CMU to a current ranking of 13th in the nation and a top three in the region. Has led the Chippewa's to a third straight undefeated MAC regular- season title. Received the Bill Boyden Award given to one CMU student annually for combining academic and athletic excellence with leadership and community service. Reighard is a five-time MAC champion and a former NCAA qualifier on the beam. Career highs are vault 9.950, bars 9.900, balance beam 9.950, floor 9.950 and all-around 39.650.
Jerry Reighard was voted 2005 Coach of the Year, leading Central Michigan to its third straight undefeated MAC regular-season championship 6-0 MAC 12-5 overall.
The 2005 Mid-American Conference Gymnastics Championship kicks off on Friday, March 25, at 6:05 p.m. at NIU's Convocation Center