Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
CMU Seeks Fourth Straight Conference Crown at 2013 MAC Championships

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The 22nd-ranked Central Michigan gymnastics team will seeks its fourth consecutive conference title and the program’s 14th overall on Saturday when it competes at the 2013 MAC Championships. To be hosted by Western Michigan University, the annual event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at University Arena in Read Fieldhouse in Kalamazoo.

Fans can follow all of the action at the 2013 MAC Championships with live scoring and video. Instant updates will also be provided through the official Twitter account of the Chippewas gymnastics, @CMUGymnastics.

In last weekend’s regular season finale, CMU sent its three seniors out in style with a commanding 196.000-193.500 win over Eastern Michigan in McGuirk Arena. A phenomenal floor exercise set, which saw all six competitors score above a 9.850 or above, fueled the Senior Day victory. Senior Meaghan McWhorter captured a share of the vault title while freshman Taylor Bolender, senior Emily LaFontaine, and junior Brittany Petzold tied for first place in the floor exercise. Sophomores Kylie Fagan (uneven bars) and Taylor Noonan (balance beam) won titles outright. Petzold claimed her fifth all-around crown of the season, totaling a 39.300.

Based on last week’s results, CMU was able to further raise its regional qualifying score, which now stands at 195.810 but remains steady at No. 7 in the team regional rankings. CMU’s regional qualifying score is a mere .005 behind MAC foe Kent State (195.815).

Central Michigan enters the MAC Championships with momentum, having claimed wins against five of its last six opponents, including three conference foes. Within that span, the Chippewas scored above a 196.000 as a team twice and surpassed the 49.000 barrier in events 10 times, including five consecutive in the floor exercise.

As a team, CMU is ranked No. 1 in the MAC in the balance beam and the floor exercise and No. 2 in the vault and uneven bars. Individually, Central has three gymnastics ranked in the top 10 in every event, including freshman Kirsten Petzold and Noonan, who are tied for first in the vault and balance beam, respectively. Brittany Petzold owns the top spot in the all-around with a 39.085 RQS.

CMU will start the 2013 MAC Championships competing in the uneven bars. After a bye, the Chippewas will 

rotate to the balance beam and then move to the floor exercise. After a second bye, Central will finish the competition on the vault.

Three Chippewas return to the MAC Championships aiming to defend their 2012 conference titles. Brittany Petzold (all-around), Taylor Noonan (balance beam) and Meaghan McWhorter (vault) will each be seeking her second consecutive MAC crowns. A year ago, CMU won the title with a score of 195.675 while Kent State finished second (195.225) with Western Michigan placing third (195.000).

CMU leads the conference with 13 all-time titles, two more than rival Kent State. The two teams have combined to claim the last five MAC Championships and eight of the last 10. The Golden Flashes were selected as the favorite to win the MAC Championships in the MAC Coaches Preseason Poll in January, while the Chippewas were picked to finish third.

2013 Mid-American Conference Team Rankings (based on RQS)
Vault   Uneven Bars   Balance Beam   Floor Exercise   Total  
1. KSU, 49.100   1. KSU, 49.010   1. CMU, 48.850   1. CMU, 49.045   1. KSU, 195.815  
2. CMU, 49.015   2. CMU, 49.000   2. KSU, 48.820   2. KSU, 49.025   2. CMU, 195.810  
3. EMU, 48.895   3. WMU, 48.850   3. NIU, 48.455   3. BG, 48.995   3. EMU, 194.085
4. BG, 48.790   4. BSU, 48.545   4. BG, 48.395   4. EMU, 48.820   4. BG, 194.035  
5. BSU, 48.780   5. EMU, 48.475   5. EMU, 48.155   5. BSU, 48.790
  5. WMU, 193.980  
6. WMU, 48.725   6. NIU, 48.445   6. BSU, 48.150   6. NIU, 48.770   6. NIU, 193.860  
7. NIU, 48.540   7. BG, 48.410   7. WMU, 48.080   7. WMU, 48.625   7. BSU, 193.820  
2013 Mid-American Conference Individual Rankings (top 5 based on RQS)
Vault   Uneven Bars   Balance Beam   Floor Exercise   All-Around  
1. Kirsten Petzold, CMU, 9.850   1. Rachel Guida, KSU, 9.890
  1. Taylor Noonan, CMU, 9.875   1. Marie Case, KSU, 9.885   1. Brittany Petzold, CMU, 39.085
1. Whitnee Johnson, KSU, 9.850   2. Kylie Fagan, CMU, 9.870   1. Marie Case, KSU, 9.875   2. Katlin Isaacs, KSU, 9.860   2. Kayla Weber, WMU, 38.925  
1. Anna Willette, EMU, 9.850   2. Caroline O'Brien, WMU, 9.870   3. Halle Moraw, CMU, 9.835
  3. Denasiha Christian, BSU, 9.855
  3. Becca Druien, CMU, 38.895
4. Jamilah Ali, BG, 9.845
  4. Brittany Petzold, CMU, 9.840   4. Emily Heinz, CMU, 9.810   4. Alyssa Nocella, BG, 9.850
  4. Kim Gotlund, NIU, 38.770  
5. Jessica Buis, WMU, 9.840   5. Amanda Lievendag, BG, 9.820   5. Kayla Weber, WMU, 9.805   5. Halle Moraw, CMU, 9.845   5. Megan Harrington, BG, 38.720  
5. Chelsea Drooger, KSU, 9.840            5. Khadijah Hudson, EMU, 9.845