Central Michigan Nips Kent State for 2004 MAC Gymnastics Championship Title

Updated 3/19/2004

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March 19, 2004

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - It came down to the last event at the MAC Gymnastics Championship in Mount Pleasant, Mich., at Central Michigan University on Friday, but the hosting Chippewas clinched the title with five 9.9-plus performances on the floor exercise for a meet-record overall score of 197.525 and their second consecutive championship title.

Regular-season champion Central Michigan started off on the vault, smashing the MAC Championships team vaulting record with a total mark of 49.450. Junior Kara Reighard led the Chippewas past the previous record of 49.275, set by CMU in 2003, when she tabbed a season-best 9.95 on the event. Reighard shared first-place vault honors with Ball State's Jenna Tarkington.

After four rotations, CMU and Kent State had both only competed in two events, but they had begun to separate themselves from the rest of the seven-team field. The race between the two teams was tight though, with CMU holding the edge, 98.650 - 98.400. But the Golden Flashes were not done as they tallied a team mark of 49.525 on the floor exercise behind Earline Feugill's 9.95 routine. Feugill also helped KSU break the championship meet team record on balance beam as the Golden Flashes posted a total score of 49.350. The previous mark was 49.075, set in 2001 by Eastern Michigan and 2003 by Kent State.

Following the sixth rotation with three events under both teams' belts, the margin between the two teams had shrunk even further with KSU trailing the Chippewas by only five one-hundredths of a point. The Golden Flashes wrapped up the meet on the vault and tallied 48.925, while Central Michigan headed to the floor and posted 49.550 behind Stephanie Langley's 9.95 performance.

Central Michigan's Sara Burtinsky shattered the MAC Championship record for balance beam when she tallied a 9.975 after being awarded a 10.0 by one judge. Burtinksy took first-place honors on the beam, bars (9.925) and all-around (39.500).

At the conclusion of the meet, MAC coaches selected Central Michigan's Jerry Reighard as Coach of the Year. In addition, the league announced its All-MAC selections during the awards presentation.

First-Team All-MAC
Jenna Tarkington, BSU
Sara Burtinsky, CMU
Stephanie Langley, CMU
Kara Reighard, CMU
Earline Feugill, KSU

Second-Team All-MAC
Melissa Popovich, BGSU
Jules Passy, CMU
Leah Hashimoto, EMU
Jessie James, KSU
April Zentko, KSU
Kristina Campos, NIU

The teams, in order of finish, and their scores are listed below.

1. Central Michigan - 197.525
2. Kent State - 196.850
3. Eastern Michigan - 195.550
4. Bowling Green - 194.650
5. Northern Illinois - 194.600
6. Western Michigan - 194.025
7. Ball State - 193.525

The top three finishers and their scores in each event are listed below.

Vault
1. Jenna Tarkington, BSU - 9.95
1. Kara Reighard, CMU - 9.95
3. Kelly Kramer, NIU - 9.925
3. Karen Harper, WMU - 9.925

Uneven Bars
1. Sara Burtinsky, CMU - 9.925
2. Melissa Popovich, BGSU - 9.9
3. Jules Passy, CMU - 9.875
3. Morgan Wiland, KSU - 9.875

Balance Beam
1. Sara Burtinsky, CMU - 9.975*
2. Kara Reighard, CMU - 9.925
2. Earline Feugill, KSU - 9.925

Floor Exercise
1. Stephanie Langley, CMU - 9.95
1. Earline Feugill, KSU - 9.95
3. Leah Hashimoto, EMU - 9.925
3. Jessie James, KSU - 9.925

All-Around
1. Sara Burtinsky, CMU - 39.550
2. Jules Passy, CMU - 39.500
3. Melissa Popovich, BGSU - 39.450
3. Jessie James, KSU - 39.450

* MAC Championship meet record

Complete results are available at www.cmuchippewas.com.