Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Jerry Reighard has been there, done that.
And he likes the journey, the result – and the pressure.
Reighard’s Central Michigan gymnastics team was picked to finish atop the Mid-American Conference in both the regular-season standings and the season-ending league championships which this season are scheduled for the friendly confines of McGuirk Arena.
The poll of league coaches was released today.
“We have a really exciting team this year,” said Reighard, who is in his 34th year in charge of the program. “We have a very, very hungry team. I think this is really going to inspire them to know that other people look at them and their talent and know that they’re a team that can meet what our expectations are.
“The poll doesn’t bring any added press to me or the team. In fact, it is inspiring to know that their talent is being recognized by others in the conference.”
The Chippewas finished third in the MAC regular-season standings and at the MAC Championships in 2017. The Chippewas’ last regular-season league title came in 2015 and their last first-place finish at the MAC Championships came in 2014.
CMU has won 15 titles at the MAC Championships under Reighard, and the Chippewas have finished atop the regular-season standings seven times in the 15 years that the league has recognized a dual champ.
CMU opens the 2018 season on Jan. 6 at home with a nonconference dual against Illinois State.
“Our team is preparing for this championship season maybe as none other,” Reighard said. “We’ve never had a class leave Central Michigan since I’ve been coaching without at least one championship. The expectations are always the same, the program really doesn’t change, and each one of our athletes chose CMU because of those expectations.”