Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Sophomore Taylor Noonan finished off a balance beam routine. Noonan recorded the highest score of the meet, a 9.900, to win the balance beam title and help CMU defeat Alaska Anchorage.
CMU Tops Alaska Anchorage for Third Straight Win

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Unfazed by a short prep week, the Central Michigan gymnastics team used a consistent performance to down visiting Alaska Anchorage, 195.725-191.775, on Thursday night in McGuirk Arena. The win was CMU’s third consecutive, after handling MAC’s foes Western Michigan and Bowling Green the previous two weeks.

"It was definitely a fast turnaround; something I don’t think we are very used to. I was very concerned about exactly how and who was going to come to the gym tonight. In warm-ups, I thought we were a little lazy and lethargic," said CMU head coach Jerry Reighard.

"We had a good meeting. I said 'in two hours, you can determine what’s going to happen here.'  I thought it was really good meet for us. As far as our RQS goes, and this is the reason why I say it was a good meet for us, we replace a 194.000 score and put a 195.000 score in there. So, that’s going to help us nationally."

The Chippewas were solid across the board in the non-conference clash, highlighted by a 49.075 in the floor exercise, marking the second straight week they topped the 49.000 benchmark in the event. CMU won all four events as a team, taking the top five spots in the standings of three.

Individually, junior Brittany Petzold was terrific for the second consecutive week, winning the uneven bars and earning a share of the floor exercise title, tying teammate Halle Moraw, en route to capturing the all-around crown with a 39.125. For Petzold, the all-around title is her third straight and fourth in five tries. Sophomore Taylor Noonan used a stellar score of 9.900 to win the balance beam and freshman Kirsten Petzold claimed her second vault title of the season (9.875).

In the first rotation, CMU started strong, just falling short of 49.000 by posting a 48.950. Following Kirsten Petzold’s winning vault, senior Meaghan McWhorter finished second with a score of 9.800. Junior Emily Heinz (9.775), sophomore Tori Garcia (9.750), and Brittany Petzold (9.750) completed the sweep of the top of the standings for Central.

CMU expanded its lead in the second rotation with a solid overall performance in the uneven bars.  Behind Brittany Petzold’s winning effort, sophomores Becca Druien and Kylie Fagan tied for second (9.825) with senior Emily LaFontaine (9.725) placing fourth and freshman Taylor Bolender claiming fifth (9.700).

Rotating to the balance beam, Noonan stole the show with her second score of 9.900 or more of the season in the event. Moraw and Heinz also contributed key routines, as the duo tied for third with 9.750s.

CMU’s floor exercise performance wasn’t enough to push it over the 196.000 barrier but it was enough to 

claim the top six places in the standings and put the finishing touches on the victory. LaFontaine scored above a 9.800 (9.825) in the event for the fifth straight meet to earn third place while Noonan and Heinz tied for fourth with 9.775s.

CMU faces another quick turnaround, as the Chippewas will be back in action on Sunday when they travel to face host No. 24 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.