Gymnastics marched by Eastern Michigan on Senior Day Saturday with a team goal of 196 against Eastern Michigan as a final gift for the senior’s last meet.
“Today was an outstanding day for our entire team; I couldn’t be more thrilled for our team and our seniors,” said head coach Jerry Reighard. “ They had such a great day of competition at their last at McGuirk.”
CMU started shaky on the vault but fought back and achieved its goal by a nearly impeccable floor rotation and a near season-high 49.1 on bars.
Freshman Taylor Boleneder had a strong meet, leading off two events and scoring a 9.85 and a 9.875 to help ease the Chippewas to victory.
“I have the greatest respect for Taylor; she has given us exactly what we thought she would deliver,” Reighard said. “She is a very, very accomplished collegiate gymnast now, and she does it with ease.”
Junior Brittany Petzold performed great in the all-around, scoring her second-highest score yet with a 39.3.
“She (Brittany Petzold) knows how to compete; from my manage point, I can see the whole four inches (beam),” Reighard said. “Most athletes would not have saved what she saved.”
This victory for CMU means more than most, not only because of senior day and the senior’s last performances at McGuirk Arena, but because a win before the Mid-American Conference championship next week brings confidence to the team.
“This is a real confidence booster for us, the excitement versus the alternative is very, very important,” Reighard said.
Moving into the final event, CMU and EMU were nearly a point away from each other, making it anyone’s meet to win. After the final event, the Chippewas finished nearly three points ahead of the Eagles. The floor rotation took the score to the team goal of 196. All six gymnasts scored a 9.85 or higher to score a season-high overall score of 49.325.
“It was nice to see them get on what I call the momentum train,” Reighard said. “When we went to floor, it was the first time that I’ve felt confident enough to let my assistant coach do all of the talking and instruction before their routines. We feel really good about floor and where we are at.”
The meet was an emotional one as the seniors watched a video of their last meet of their journey through their four years, with CMU gymnastics following their final meet at McGuirk Arena. They were announced to the crowd, accompanied by their parents. They were treated to flowers and a plaque for their accomplishments by coach Reighard.
The Chippewas get ready for their ultimate test of the Mid-American Conference championship on Saturday in Kalamazoo. CMU is looking to make it a four-peat and give the seniors a perfect career in the conference.