MOUNT PLEASANT -
For the second straight season, the No. 24 Central Michigan gymnastics team has punched its ticket to the NCAA Regional Championships.
The 24th-ranked Chippewas will compete as the No. 5 seed in the Lexington Regional, hosted by the University of Kentucky on April 10. The event begins at 6 p.m. ET.
Joining CMU, in the competition are No. 1 Alabama, No. 12 Nebraska, No. 13 Illinois, No. 20 Kentucky and Michigan State.
"I think this is going to be a really good regional competition for us," head coach Jerry Reighard said. "I feel we can do very well against the teams that we're competing with. We've competed against seeded teams all year long and done well against them. We're going in with the idea that we can put on a great performance and qualify for nationals."
Central finished the regular season with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 195.365, the 24th-best figure in the country. CMU posted an 18-2 overall record and won its first Mid-American Conference title since 2004 with a score of 195.600 at Bowling Green, Ohio, on Saturday.
This is the seventh time CMU has qualified as a team for the regional championships. The Chippewas took fourth at the Northeast Regional Championships last season. The top two teams in each regional championship advance to the NCAA National Championships, which are held April 22-24 in Gainesville, Fla.
Central's highest regional finish came in 2003, where it tied Auburn for second place at the NCAA Central Regional.