Numerous MAC Gymnasts Compete at NCAA Regionals

Updated 4/3/2011

Stories courtesy of MAC Media Relations Departments

Central Michigan
No. 25 Central Michigan wrapped up its season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday night.

The Chippewas posted a 195.075 to finish sixth. Alabama won the event with a 197.275 while Illinois (195.925) was second, giving both a spot at the NCAA National Championships. Penn State (195.850) took third, Auburn (195.600) was fourth and Kentucky (195.175) finished fifth.

"We had a great season and even though tonight's results are a little disappointing, this team fought hard the whole meet just like it has all season," CMU head coach Jerry Reighard . "This turned out to be one of the best regionals I have ever been a part of and the fact that no team counted a fall shows the level of competition at this meet. "

"We just had too many small mistakes and those mistakes ended up costing us a chance to advance to nationals. All that separated Illinois and us was a couple of tenths per events, which is an extra step or bobble here and there. Again, we have had a great season and I am very proud of everything this team has accomplished."

The Chippewas were led by all-arounders Andrea de la Garza and Britney Taylor . De la Garza posted an all-around score of 39.150 and was CMU's top scorer on bars (9.800) and floor (9.800). Taylor tallied a season-best 39.025 in the all-around and had CMU's top score on vault (9.825). De la Garza took eighth in the all-around while Taylor was 12th.

Central Michigan began the meet on bars and posted a 48.575. De la Garza led CMU with a 9.800, which was good for 10th overall, while Alyssa Wilson had a 9.725. Next for the Chippewas was beam with the squad scoring a 48.825 on the event. Kristin Teubner had CMU's top score with a 9.800, finishing 12th overall, with Emily Heinz and de la Garza both tallying a 9.775.

Central Michigan recorded a 48.775 on floor, its third event. De la Garza again led the Chippewas and took 10th overall, posting a 9.800. Next for CMU were Heinz and Taylor, both with a 9.775. The Chippewas wrapped up the meet with a 48.900 on vault. Taylor posted CMU's best finish, taking seventh with a 9.825. Meaghan McWhorter , Teubner and de la Garza tied for CMU's second-best score with a 9.775.

The Chippewas finish the year at 23-6 after going 12-0 in Mid-American Conference action. CMU won both the conference championships and the MAC regular season title for the first time since 2004. This is also the first time that the Chippewas qualified for regionals in three-straight seasons.

Ball State
Ball State sent two gymnasts -- Nicole Allen and Brittney Emmons -- to the NCAA Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 2. 

Allen and Emmons each competed as individuals in the all-around competition.

Allen placed 21st on the vault with a 9.75, 28th on the bars with a 9.725, 41st on the beam with a 9.050 and 21st on the floor with a 9.775.  Allen finished 19th overall in the all-around with a score of 38.300.

Emmons was 15th in the all-around competition with a 38.775.  She placed 28th on the vault with a 9.725, 35th on the bars with a 9.675, 35th on the beam with a 9.650 and 31st on the floor with a 9.725.

Ball State fourth-year head coach Nadalie Walsh led the Cardinals to a fourth place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships, which marked the best placing for the team since the 2007 season.  In addition, Ball State posted a 3-3 MAC record, which marked the most league victories since the 2002 season.  Ball State managed a team score of 194.500 in a meet at Kent State, which was the 11th best score in school history.

Allen and Emmons led the Cardinals this season.  Allen is coming off her MAC Championships performance where she led Ball State and tied for the individual title on the vault with a career high 9.900 and on the floor with a 9.875, which tied her career best mark.  Allen's two victories marks the first time a Ball State gymnast has accomplished that feat since Laura Szczepanski won the bars and the beam in 2000. 

Allen placed sixth in the all-around with a career high 38.950 mark, while Brittney Emmons tied for seventh in the all-around with a 38.900.  Emmons finished third on the vault with a 9.850, tied for eighth on the balance beam with a 9.725 and tied for 15th on the floor with a 9.775. 

Bowling Green
Dawn Christman and Kasey Fillmore, two members of the Bowling Green State University gymnastics team, competed at the NCAA Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday night (Apr. 2). The Regional meet was hosted by the University of Alabama.

Christman competed on the floor exercise where she scored a 9.050.

Fillmore scored a  37.325 in the all-around, posting a 9.600 on bars, a 9.700 on beam, an 8.600 on floor and a 9.425 on vault.

Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan University gymnast Nikole Viltz (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.-Carmel) wrapped up her senior season Saturday night, April 2, at the Tuscaloosa Regional at Coleman Coliseum.

Host Alabama took the top spot recording an impressive 197.275, followed by Illinois who posted a 195.925. Penn State took third tallying a 195.850 with Auburn earning fourth place honors recording a 195.600. Rounding out the lineup was Kentucky and Central Michigan posting a 195.175 and 195.075, respectively.

Viltz competed on the vault with the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the first rotation posting a 9.675 for her performance.

This is her second trip to an NCAA regional, as she competed on the balance beam last year.

Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois senior Holly Reichard wrapped up her stellar collegiate gymnastics career Saturday with her third NCAA Regional appearance as an all-around competitor.

Up until a misstep on balance beam during her final routine, Reichard was having the type of day that has typified her career. The Palatine native, who rotated with the Washington Huskies throughout the competition, opened the day with a 9.625 on floor exercise and then scored a 9.700 on vault on one of her best vaults of 2011. Reichard's set on uneven parallel bars, her next event, was even better as she tallied a 9.775 to tie for her second best bars score of the season.

"Holly had a really good day going until [that mis-step on beam]," said NIU Head Coach Mark Sontag. "She looked great all day long, but was one foot off on her roundoff which is almost the last skill on her last routine. She went out today and put up some great scores and it was just so unfortunate to have the miss on the beam, which has been such a strong event for her throughout her career."

Reichard finished with a score of 9.050 on beam and an all-around total of 38.150. She became just the fourth Huskie women's gymnast all-time to make three NCAA Regional appearances.

"It's extremely hard to even make it to the NCAAs three times, let alone in our region which is so difficult and features so many quality gymnasts," Sontag said. "For her to make it three years is a tribute to her hard work and consistency. She has consistently put up big numbers. The fact she made this meet shows she has had a really successful, strong year. Her performance continued today and it was just unfortunate she had a small slip at the end."

With the conclusion of Reichard's career after 162 routines, Sontag reflected on what the senior has meant to the Huskies over the last four years and what he will miss.

"I'm gonna miss everything - her vault, bars, beam and floor," Sontag joked, before adding "I'll miss her leadership and not having her in the gym every day. She is the type of student-athlete that we want representing this program and Northern Illinois University. She is definitely the type and caliber of athlete that we are getting into the program now. She has set the course for us in taking it to the next level going forward."

As a team, Northern Illinois completed an injury-plagued 2011 season at the Mid-American Conference Championships on March 19. In all, the Huskies lose five seniors off the 2011 team but return eight letterwinners and 14 gymnasts next season.

Western Michigan
Senior Kristine Garbarino, sophomore Caroline O'Brien and freshman Kelsey Turnquist competed Saturday, April 2, at the NCAA Regional held by the University of Alabama at Coleman Coliseum. All three were at-large representatives, qualifying with scores from the 2011 season.

Garbarino was competing in the all-around for the third straight year, and placed 20th in her final trip with a 38.125. Garbarino had solid scores on the uneven bars (9.750, 21st) and floor (9.700, 34th), but struggled on vault (9.575) and balance beam (9.100).

Making her first ever trip to a regional and competing on bars, O'Brien had the Broncos' highest individual finish, placing 18th with a 9.775. Turnquist scored a 9.575 to finish 36th on beam.

Western Michigan just missed out on regional qualification as a team, finishing the season ranked No. 37. The top 36 teams in the nation were divided into each of the six regions, as well as  five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist.