Central Michigan gymnastics was picked to finished second behind Kent State in the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches poll released Friday.
The Chippewas have won the MAC Championship four consecutive years and are set to have another strong year, leaving head coach Jerry Reighard unconcerned with their placement in the poll.
“I know that we’re number one,” Reighard said. “They don’t know what we have, but they’re going to find out very soon.”
Both Kent State and CMU received votes in December’s National Preseason Poll, but neither received enough votes to be in the top 25.
Reighard said he was unsure as to why Kent State was ranked higher than CMU, especially with the Chippewas collecting the previous four MAC titles, but he has a theory.
“We’ve won 22 championships here over the years. No one really wants us to win anymore, so maybe that was it,” Reighard said. “Kent State is a good program. We’ll just have to wait and see when we actually compete against each other.”
Kent State handed CMU one of its two losses in MAC play in 2013, defeating the Chippewas in a tight 196.050-194.900 decision that had Central Michigan within .025 points with one rotation remaining. The Chippewas will have their chance for revenge, hosting the Golden Flashes on Feb. 16 in McGuirk Arena.
“That’s been the showdown for the conference regular season championship for 30 years,” Reighard said. “We’re going to compete the way we’re going to compete whether someone thinks we’re number one or not. I think it’ll all come out by March.”
Bowling Green was picked third, followed by Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Ball State.
The Chippewas will compete in their first meet of the season at 1 p.m. on Sunday against Wisconsin-Eau Claire at McGuirk Arena.
“The last four years that we’ve won (the MAC Championship), we’ve never been picked first,” Reighard said. “Maybe (being ranked second) is a good thing for us.”