Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
CMU Welcomes Bowling Green to McGuirk for Saturday Dual
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan gymnastics team will open a two-meet home stand on Saturday when it hosts MAC foe Bowling Green in McGuirk Arena for a 2 p.m. dual.

Last weekend, CMU claimed a key conference win by soundly defeating rival Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, 195.875-193.250. The Chippewas topped the 49.000 threshold in three events (vault, uneven bars, and balance beam) for the first time this season, won all four events as a team, and set a season high in the floor exercise (49.000). Individually, senior Meaghan McWhorter (vault) and sophomore Taylor Noonan (balance beam) captured titles outright while junior Emily LaFontaine and sophomore Kylie Fagan shared first place in the uneven bars. Junior Brittany Petzold took the all-around, totaling a 39.075 to equal her season best score.

After eight weeks of competition, CMU remains ranked No. 7 in the Central Region and has a 195.120 regional qualifying average. Nationally, as a team, the Chippewas are ranked highest in the uneven bars, positioned at No. 22. Individually, Fagan owns the nation’s No. 24 ranking in the uneven bars and Noonan is at No. 27 in the balance beam. Fagan has won five titles in the bars this season while Noonan has recorded five top three finishes on the beam.

Bowling Green, which is ranked No. 12 in the Central Region, is coming off a historic effort last week. In defeating Eastern Michigan and Ball State in a home tri-meet, their third and fourth victory of the season, the Falcons posted their highest team score since 2005, a 194.525. BGSU also recorded season-best scores in the balance beam and floor exercise and won all four events individually and the all-around. The Falcons, which have a regional qualifying average of 193.305, have scored highest in the vault this season, averaging a 48.569. Key performers for Bowling Green are Jamilah Ali, Amanda Lievendag, Alyssa Nocella, and Megan Harrington.

CMU owns a 41-14 record in the all-time series with Bowling Green, including the last four regular season meetings. A year ago, the Chippewas downed the Falcons, 193.050-191.500, in the regular season and at the MAC Championships.

Highlighting the day off the competition floor, the 1993 and 2003 gymnastics squads will return to celebrate their 10- and 20-year reunions and will be honored prior to and during the meet.

The 1993 Chippewas went undefeated 
in conference during the regular season and captured the MAC Championship. Four gymnasts earned All-MAC honors, Christa Cowden, Terri Tubbs, Naomi Grahn, and Kim Holmes, with Cowden claiming the conference title in the uneven bars.

The 2003 team won the MAC regular season and postseason titles and had the best finish in program history at the NCAA Regional Championships, placing second. CMU swept the individual titles at the MAC Championships with Kara Reighard winning three (all-around, vault, and floor exercise) and Michelle Orloski (floor exercise), Katie Teft (uneven bars), and Bethany Couturier (balance beam) each earning one. Reighard, Teft, and Sarah Dame advanced to the NCAA Championships as individuals. The 2003 Chippewas own the highest score in CMU history in the floor exercise (49.625) and uneven bars (49.550) and hold second place in the CMU record book for highest team score (197.425).

Also, on Saturday, all gymnastics campers will be welcomed back to the CMU campus for the MAC clash. Following the meet, sophomore Preslee Harrald and freshmen Megan Lamphere and Taylor Bolender will be available for autographs in the concourse.

The Chippewas will finish out their 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.