Brittany Petzold, competing in the all-around for the first time this season, entered McGuirk Arena Friday night with a mixture of nerves and confidence.
The junior, last year’s all-around Mid-American Conference champion, had only been competing in one or two events for the No. 21 Central Michigan gymnastics team after having shoulder surgery last summer.
In CMU’s 194.8 to 194.025 victory against Northern Illinois, Petzold posted a 39.075 to help lead her team to another MAC win.
“I was so excited to do all-around,” Petzold said. “I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to do all-around because it all depends on how my shoulder feels, but it felt really good to be back out there.”
Head coach Jerry Reighard said the team was very fortunate to have Petzold back in the lineup as an all-around competitor.
“She just makes a difference in the competitive nature,” Reighard said. “When she’s in the battle every event, she’s more engaged and the team is more engaged around her.”
With a score of 9.825, Petzold claimed the top spot in vault for her team and tied for first overall in the event.
She put up a 9.700 on the beam, a 9.750 on the bars and finished the night with a 9.800 with her floor routine.
Overall, Petzold said she was pleased with her performance but will continue to strive for higher scores.
Last year, Petzold recorded an all-around high score of 39.300.
“I need to clean up a couple of things and get all the nerves out of me,” Petzold said. “I’m glad I got it out of the way, and I think next week will be a lot better.”
Also largely contributing to the team’s win on Friday was sophomore Becca Druien, CMU’s second all-around competitor.
Druien scored a career-high in all-around, posting a 39.050 and breaking the 39-barrier she’s worked toward for so long.
“To hit every event and come above 39 felt really good,” Druien said.
Reighard said nobody in his gym outworks Druien, and it was rewarding to see her efforts pay off.
“She had this fire, and the number is the result,” Reighard said. “She did a great job and will continue to do that.”
Petzold, Druien and the rest of the Chippewas will be back in action at 7 p.m. Friday at MAC-rival Kent State.