Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
CMU Displays Poise in Key Victory Over Rival Western Michigan
KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Central Michigan gymnastics team answered the bell on Sunday afternoon, tying its season high team score of 195.875 to soundly defeat archrival Western Michigan (193.250) in Kalamazoo and gain a key MAC victory. 

“I am really proud of the team,” said CMU head coach Jerry Reighard. “We had just a different composure today. We were more relaxed, even in warm-ups. I think what happened at Kent State really helped us mature. I think today’s effort stemmed from a combination of both of those things.”

For the first time this season, the Chippewas topped the 49.000 plateau in three events (vault, uneven bars, and balance beam). CMU 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.

CMU started strong, scoring a 49.025 in the uneven bars. For Fagan, the title win was her fifth of the season in the event while the pair’s identical score of 9.850 was a career high for LaFontaine.

In the second rotation, senior McWhorter stepped to the forefront to headline the CMU vault line-up. Her score of 9.900 tied her career high, set in 2012 at the MAC Championships, and also matched the team season best established by freshman Kirsten Petzold at the Illinois-Michigan Challenge. Petzold finished a close second, earning a 9.875 while her sister, Brittany, finished in fourth with score of 9.800.

The third rotation featured CMU in the floor exercise. While a Central competitor did not win the event, the Chippewas claimed the next five spots in the standings. LaFontaine was CMU’s highest scorer (9.850) and was followed in succession by junior Emily Heinz and sophomore Becca Druien, who each recorded a 9.800, and Brittany Petzold and sophomore Halle Moraw (9.775).

CMU sewed up the team’s second MAC victory of the season on the balance beam, totaling a 48.750. Noonan secured her second beam title of the season by scoring a 9.875 while Moraw took second (9.825), her third top three finish of 2012 in the event.

The road-tested Chippewas will return home next weekend to the familiar confines of McGuirk Arena, hosting Bowling Green in a dual meet scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. Highlighting the day off the competition 
floor, the 1993 and 2003 gymnastics squads will return to celebrate their 10- and 20-year reunions. Also, 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.