MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Coming off its top performance of the season, No. 23 Central Michigan gymnastics hosts the Illinois/Michigan Invite on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. in McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas welcome in Eastern Michigan, Illinois State and UIC for this annual event.
"I thought last week we finally showed what type of team we can be and it is important that we follow that up with another strong performance this weekend," CMU head coach Jerry Reighard said. "We ahve been too uneven this season week-to-week and if we want to stay in the national picture, we have to be great every meet. Quad meets always present a challange because there is so much going on at one time."
Last season, Eastern and Central Michigan travelled to Chicago to compete against UIC and Illinois State. The Chippewas controlled the meet, finishing ahead of all three teams with a final score of 195.875. Illinois State finished second (194.100), followed by Eastern Michigan (192.850) and UIC (192.800).
Eastern Michigan gymnastics was been predicted to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference this season under head coach Steve Wilce. The Eagles return 15 gymnasts, including All-Mid-American Conference honorees Khadijah Hudson and Anna Willette. EMU is 0-4 this season and 0-2 in MAC, falling to Kent State and Bowling Green. This meet does not actually count as CMU's conference meet versus the Eagles as that will occur next Friday, Feb. 7, at Eastern Michigan.
Illinois State welcomes back several key performers along with a strong freshman class for this year’s season. ISU finished second in last year’s Midwest Independent Conference under head coach Bob Conkling. The Redbirds return Sami King, the 2013 MIC all-around champion and two-time NCAA regional competitor. Illinois State is 1-3 this year with a victory at Penn.
UIC returns nine gymnasts and brings in five newcomers this season. Peter and Mary Jansson, who are beginning their 24th season with UIC, coach the Flames. Last season UIC finished first in the Midwest Independent Conference, just ahead of ISU. The Flames hold 12 MIC titles and have nine NCAA Regional appearances. UIC is 1-4 this season with a victory over Lindenwood at home last weekend.
Next week Central Michigan travels to Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green for CMU’s first road meets of the season.
Central Michigan Notes:
- Last week, Central Michigan gymnastics dominated their Mid-American Conference season opener against Ball State. CMU had an individual score a 9.900 or higher on every event, winning all four events in route to a victory over the Cardinals. Central Michigan finished with a 195.800, the highest team score in the MAC this season, while Ball State posted a 192.350.
- Against Ball State, Kirsten Petzold earned a first place on vault with a 9.925, a career-high. Kylie Fagan scored a 9.900 on bars, capping off the second rotation with another 9.900 score or higher for the Chippewas. On beam, senior Emily Heinz scored a 9.925 earning her a first place finish on the event. The fourth event landed sophomore Taylor Bolender a first place finish on floor with a 9.900.
- For the third-straight week, the CMU had a student-athlete honored by the MAC as Kirsten Petzold was named the Co-Specialist of the Week. Petzold set the tone for Central Michigan’s victory over Ball State with a career-best 9.925 on vault to win the event and followed that up with another career best, this time on floor with a 9.825. Her performance helped CMU post the MAC’s best team score this season with a 195.800. Her score on vault is the best in the conference this season. Petzold joins teammates Emily Heinz and Halle Moraw as MAC honorees this season. Heinz was named the Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 14 while Moraw was selected Co-Specialist of the Week last week.