Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Central Michigan maintained its reign at the pinnacle of MAC gymnastics on Saturday afternoon, winning a share of its fourth consecutive conference crown at the 2013 MAC Championships. The Chippewas scored a 194.800 to tie host Western Michigan for the title.
“Four in-a-row is an incredible feeling,” said CMU head coach Jerry Reighard. “It’s a real testament to the young ladies who have been in the gym every single day. It’s really an answer to a prayer. My entire team, my coaching staff, and our crowd were really instrumental in helping us to get to this point.”
“The young ladies who are seniors on this team have given everything to this program and I couldn’t be happier for them. They have persevered through so many things. To not turn out with four in-a-row would have been devastating for them.”
In the end, a strong collective performance in one event would prove to be the difference to CMU’s title hopes.
Sitting in third place with two events completed, Central rotated to the floor exercise needing an epic effort to keep pace. The Chippewas put together something special, scoring a season high 49.350, led by their line-up anchor, Halle Moraw. The sophomore’s routine was tremendous and her reward was great, as she scored a career high 9.950 to claim her first conference title.
But the lead-up was just about as good as the finish for CMU. Each member of the floor exercise line-up scored at least a 9.800. Brittany Petzold recorded a career high, receiving a 9.900 while senior Emily LaFontaine, who earned a perfect 10.000 from one of the judges, finished with a 9.825. Freshman Taylor Bolender led off the event with a 9.850.
CMU dug itself an early hole, coming out slowly on the uneven bars in the first rotation. The Chippewas were forced to count a fall, scoring a 48.000, its lowest total in the event since January 18 at Ball State. Sophomore Kylie Fagan highlighted CMU’s effort, scoring a team-high 9.825, which was good enough for third place overall.
After a bye, Central Michigan rotated to the balance beam. After early struggles, Brittany Petzold scored a 9.750 to get the Chippewas heading in the right direction. From there, CMU strung together three consecutive 9.800s, earned by Halle Moraw, Taylor Noonan, and Emily Heinz to boost its final team score to a 48.600.
Following its stellar effort in the floor exercise and a bye, CMU moved to its final event, the vault. Four Chippewas, Meaghan McWhorter, Brittany Petzold, Tori Garcia, and Becca Druien, each scored a 9.775, leading them to a team score of 48.825.
Junior Brittany Petzold, who was named MAC Co-Gymnast of the Year following the meet, fell just short of defending her 2012 all-around title, finishing just .050 out of first place with a 39.200.
Kent State, which lead for much of the meet before faltering in the final rotation on balance beam, finished in third (194.775) and was followed by Northern Illinois (194.050), Bowling Green (193.750), Eastern Michigan (193.675), and Ball State (192.500) in the standings.
Entering the MAC Championships with the nation’s No. 22 ranked regional qualifying score (195.810), CMU will now await its NCAA Regional destination. The field of 36 teams, 30 all-around and 24 individual event competitors will be announced during a selection show on Monday, March 25. Regional competition will be held on Saturday, April 6, at the following sites: Tuscaloosa, Ala., Gainesville, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, Norman, Okla., Corvallis, Ore., and Morgantown, W. Va.
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- The Western Michigan gymnastics program captured its fourth Mid-American Conference championship in school history Saturday, sharing the 2013 title with Central Michigan.
Both the Broncos and Chippewas totaled a 194.800 to finish as co-champions, ahead of regular season winner Kent State, with a 194.775.
Northern Illinois (194.050) took fourth, followed by Bowling Green (193.750) in fifth. Eastern Michigan (193.675) and Ball State (192.500) rounded out the field.
The end of the meet came down to the wire, as Central Michigan sat the seventh rotation with a bye, already owning a 194.800, while Western Michigan performed on the uneven bars and Kent State went up on balance beam. The Broncos scored a 48.725 to pull even with CMU, while Kent State watched its title hopes fade away with falls on beam.
Western Michigan freshman Jessi Buis took home an individual title on vault, tying for first with Bowling Green’s Jamilah Ali. Buis’ score of 9.875 went down as a career high. She joins her mother, WMU Athletic Hall of Famer Bonnie (Boggianio) Buis as a MAC champion. Bonnie won the floor exercise on the 1987 WMU MAC championship team.
Jessi becomes the fourth vault champion in school history, joining Jennifer Sturgis (2006), Natalie Leach (1992) and Jackie Klein (1987).
Senior Caroline O’Brien closed out her career in Brown & Gold with a runner-up finish on the uneven bars, scoring a 9.850. Also reaching the podium for bars was junior Shelby MacDonald, placing fifth with a 9.800.
Kayla Weber was this year’s recipient of the conference’s Freshman of the Year Award and was recognized as First Team All-MAC. She becomes just the second Bronco to earn the Freshman of the Year honor, joining Andrea Ruhe, who won the award in 1998.
Weber competed as an all-arounder and placed sixth with a 38.575. She and junior Lauren Bledsoe had the team’s best total on floor, tying for eighth with a 9.850. O’Brien turned in WMU’s highest score on beam, tying for 13th with a 9.725.
The host of this year’s meet, Western Michigan has now won a title each of the last two times it has hosted the MAC Championships. The Broncos add the 2013 trophy along to their hardware from the 2006, 1987 and 1986 seasons.
The team’s total of 194.800 is the second best ever at the MAC Championships, second only to the 195.000 scored at last year’s meet in DeKalb, Ill. It the sixth-best score overall in program history.
1.Western Michigan 194.800
1.Central Michigan 194.800
3.Kent State 194.775
4.Northern Illinois 194. 050
5.Bowling Green 193.750
6.Eastern Michigan 193.675
7. Ball State 192.500
2013 MAC Gymnastics Awards
Freshman of the Year – Kayla Weber, Western Michigan
Specialist of the Year – Rachel Guida, Kent State
Senior Gymnast of the Year – Brittney Emmons, Ball State
Co-Gymnast of the Year – Brittany Petzold, Central Michigan and Marie Case, Kent State
Coach of the Year – Kerrie Beach, Bowling Green
Jamilah Ali, Bowling Green
Alyssa Nocella, Bowling Green
Hallow Moraw, Central Michigan
Marie Case, Kent State
Rachel Guida, Kent State
Jessi Buis, Western Michigan