MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan gymnastics program is not one to rebuild, but rather reload.
With just one senior and one junior competing in all 14 meets, the Chippewas were able to rely on a youthful lineup to claim their third-straight Mid-American Conference Championships crown and second-straight regular season title, finishing the 2012 season with a 20-11 record overall.
"Most recent memories are always the freshest in your mind, but this season certainly marks a pinnacle of my career," 28th-year head coach Jerry Reighard said. "The sheer joy that these young athletes brought to this program was so rewarding. They are going to look back, as I will, with great memories."
The Chippewas got off to a hot start by defeating their first seven opponents of the 2012 season, but were outscored by three of their next four opponents for an 8-3 record.
The biggest meet of the season marked a turnaround for the Maroon and Gold however as a then season-high 194.475 allowed them to defeat rival Kent State inside McGuirk Arena. A win at Northern Illinois clinched at least a share of the MAC regular season title, and a 195.525-193.925 victory over in-state foe Western Michigan in the team's final home meet of the season gave the Chippewas the title outright.
Individual titles in three of the four events, as well as the all-around, allowed the Chippewas to claim their third-straight and record 13th MAC Championships title in program history on March 24 at NIU's Convocation Center. Sophomore Meaghan McWhorter won the vault with a career-best 9.900, sophomore Taylor Noonan and senior Kristin Teubner shared the beam title by each scoring 9.825, Teubner claimed the floor with a career-best tying 9.925 and sophomore Brittany Petzold took the all-around with a 39.150.
"When Kristin landed her last tumbling pass at the MAC Championships, I knew we had clinched the championship," Reighard said. "To see her do that with the poise she had and the absolute warm look on her face when she landed will stick with me forever."
In addition to the results in the gym at the MAC Championships, Teubner was honored as the MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year and Reighard earned his ninth MAC Coach of the Year honor.
By outscoring each of their six MAC opponents at the MAC Championships, the Chippewas finished the season with a perfect 12-0 record in the conference, extending the streak of consecutive victories in league meets to 34.
The Chippewas' season-high 195.675 at the MAC Championships catapulted them to their fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance where they finished sixth with a score of 194.150. Freshman Halle Moraw was able to put a stamp on a tremendous first season in the Maroon and Gold, scoring a career-high 39.100 to finish seventh overall in the all-around competition.
The future looks bright for the Chippewas, who return eight key contributors from their 2012 roster next year, as they will seek to continue their MAC dominance and national prowess.
"This is a program that is not a maintenance program," Reighard said. "When you become a part of our program you can expect that you will get better and better every year. Our senior class was a testament to that and our student-athletes will continue to improve. We are not letting them look backwards, but making them look forward."