Courtesy: James Gibowski
CMU gymnastics will host the 2012 "Tumble Craze" on Friday night (7 p.m.) in McGuirk
Gymnastics to Host Tumble Craze on Friday Night in McGuirk
MOUNT PLEASANT – Central Michigan gymnastics fans will have a chance to get their first glimpse of the 2013 Chippewas on Friday night when the three-time defending MAC champions host an interactive intrasquad exhibition, the “Tumble Craze.” The event, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at McGuirk Arena, is free and open to the public.

The centerpiece of the event will be the Chippewas enjoying their first opportunity to compete in front of a crowd. Members of the team will perform routines in the four events (vault, balance beam, uneven bars, and floor exercise) for fans while CMU head coach Jerry Reighard explains the skills involved and how they are judged during an NCAA competition.

“This Friday is an important date for us,” said Reighard. “We find that the community and the student body enjoy seeing gymnastics but don't necessarily love the judging part of it. So, this is an opportunity for fans to just enjoy the purity of the sport.”

“(The event) is a building block for us as a team because we’ve been stuck in our gym. No one sees us; it’s just the same old thing. So, it is good in two respects. One, it gets us into a new venue and the look is different, the feel is different, and that is what we need to become accustomed to. The second part is that eyes do funny things to gymnasts. When eyes are on them, they will either rise to that occasion or they melt and we gave to help them learn to rise.”

The “Tumble Craze” will also feature a fun, interactive component. Kids in attendance will be invited down the floor several times throughout the event to take part in various dances with the team. A Zumba instructor will also lead all fans that wish to participate in a short dance session. An informal autograph session, during which team pictures and schedules will be handed out, will conclude the evening’s activities.

Reighard, who has amassed 429 wins over 28 seasons at the helm of the Chippewa gymnastics program, returns for 2013 three First Team All-MAC performers from last season’s conference title-winning squad in senior Meaghan McWhorter, junior Brittany Petzold, and sophomore Taylor Noonan.

CMU will open the 2013 season in McGuirk Arena versus Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Saturday, Jan. 5, hosting the Blugolds in a 2 p.m. dual meet.