Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
CMU Breaks 196.000 in MAC Win Over Bowling Green
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan gymnastics team attained one of its major season goals on Saturday afternoon, breaking the 196.000 barrier in a commanding 196.125-194.500 defeat of Bowling Green in McGuirk Arena. The win was the Chippewas second straight in MAC competition, after having soundly dispatched rival Western Michigan last weekend in Kalamazoo.

“This is an exceptional day for CMU gymnastics,” said head coach Jerry Reighard. “I told the team that they just became a part of CMU gymnastics history. We have been trying to reach this threshold the last three years. It's just a great feeling and it’s a great accomplishment for these young women.”

CMU won all four events as a team, setting season highs in the uneven bars (49.175) and the floor exercise (49.150), and scored above a 49.000 in three events for the second consecutive week. Individually, Central was just as dominant. Not only did it secure the top spot in every event but two Chippewas tied for first place in three of the four events.

Brittany Petzold demonstrated the form that made her the 2012 MAC all-around champion, totaling a 39.400, to claim the crown. The junior tied for first in the vault (9.875), the uneven bars (9.875), and the floor exercise (9.850).

“As far as I am concerned, she just reclaimed the Mid-American Conference all-around championship,” Reighard said. “That is the highest score posted to date by an all-arounder. It wasn’t easy. She doesn’t get to do the numbers she is accustomed to and that’s been a real adjustment for her. But a great day for her in every event.”

Other event winners were junior Emily Heinz (vault and balance beam), sophomore Kylie Fagan (uneven bars), and sophomore Taylor Noonan (balance beam).

CMU started the meet strong, recording a 49.250 in the vault, the team’s highest event score of the day. Sophomore Tori Garcia ignited the Chippewas for the event and the meet, leading off with a 9.800, her second highest score ever in the vault. Central would go on to take the top five spots in the event and fashion an early 

lead. Vault scores for Heinz (9.875), Petzold (9.875), and Druien (9.825) either established or equaled career highs.

The momentum built in rotation one carried over into the uneven bars, where CMU one again claimed the top five places. Following Petzold and Fagan in the standings were sophomore Becca Druien (9.850), senior Emily LaFontaine (9.800), and Noonan (9.775).

After Petzold got CMU off to a hot start in the balance beam, scoring a 9.800, two falls temporarily halted the tide. But the Chippewas resoundingly responded and salvaged a 48.550 in the event thanks to terrific performances from sophomore Halle Moraw (9.850), Noonan (9.900), and Heinz (9.900).

With a 196.000 team total still within striking distance, CMU needed a stellar performance in the floor exercise to reach it and it got just that. In support of the superb effort of Petzold, Heinz and Druien each earned personal best scores of 9.825 to tie LaFontaine and Moraw for third place.

Making the day all the more special, CMU’s impressive performance came in front of a group of distinguished alumni who had returned to Mount Pleasant to celebrate the 10- and 20-year anniversaries of the 1993 and 2003 MAC Championship teams.

The Chippewas will finish out their two-meet home stand on Thursday, March 7 when they take on Alaska Anchorage in a non-conference dual meet scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. After only a three-day respite, CMU will be back in action on Sunday, March 10 when it faces host No. 23 Maryland and Yale in a tri-meet in College Park. The competition at the Terrapins’ Comcast Center is set to begin at 5 p.m.