Courtesy: Courtesy Photo
Junior Brittany Petzold performs in the floor exercise at the NCAA Regional in Columbus. CMU placed sixth with a score of 194.925.
Chippewas’ 2013 Season Comes to an End at NCAA Regional
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Central Michigan gymnastics team’s 2013 campaign drew to a close on Saturday evening, as the Chippewas placed sixth at the NCAA Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio, scoring a 194.925.

LSU and UCLA claimed the top two places in the standings to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Los Angeles with scores of 197.725 and 196.950, while Arizona finished third (196.100), followed by host Ohio State (196.050) in fourth and North Carolina State (195.275) in fifth.

“I am really proud of our team; I think they competed their hearts out,” said CMU head coach Jerry Reighard. “It certainly wasn’t the ending that we wanted, but I have to commend several of our athletes for doing a great job.”

“This is a tough meet. The top two teams that qualified in, qualified out to nationals. But we did this with 14 of our 20 scores coming from freshmen and sophomores, so that is exciting for us.”

Central Michigan opened the competition on the uneven bars, scoring a 48.650. Junior Brittany Petzold earned the highest score for the Chippewas, scoring a 9.800, which was good enough for a tie for sixth place. Senior Emily LaFontaine and sophomore Taylor Noonan each recorded 9.700s.

Rotating to the balance beam, CMU was forced to count a fall, totaling a 48.350. Highlighting the line-up was Noonan, who posted a team-high 9.875 to tie for fifth place. Junior Emily Heinz and sophomore Halle Moraw contributed scores of 9.800 and 9.775, respectively.

After a bye, CMU continued its hot streak in the floor exercise, scoring above the 49.000 mark for the seventh straight meet with a 49.100. Moraw, the 2013 MAC champion in the event, and Heinz tied for 10th place with scores of 9.850 to lead the Chippewas. Freshman Taylor Bolender led off the line-up with a score of 9.825.

CMU finished the regional competition in the vault, scoring a 48.825. Senior Meaghan McWhorter, competing for the final time in the Maroon and Gold, headlined the set for the Chippewas, scoring a 9.825. Brittany Petzold also had a solid effort, earning a 9.800.

Petzold placed eighth in the all-around with a score of 39.100. 

The competition brought an end to the careers of seniors Emily LaFontaine, Meaghan McWhorter, and Kari Dieffenderfer. LaFontaine flourished in her senior season, emerging as a cornerstone competitor in the CMU uneven bars and floor exercise line-ups. McWhorter etched her name in the CMU program history books in 2012 when she won the MAC vault championship with a career high score of 9.900 and earned First Team All-MAC honors. Dieffenderfer was unable to compete this season due to injury but her leadership as a team captain was invaluable.