Gymnastics / Sports

Petzold’s vault earns her MAC Co-Specialist of the Week honors

Shelby Township senior Brittany Petzold does a Split Jump on the beam in McGuirk Arena Jan. 26.  (Katy Kildee | Staff Photographer)

Shelby Township senior Brittany Petzold does a split jump on the beam in McGuirk Arena Jan. 26. (Katy Kildee | Staff Photographer)

Two weeks ago it was senior Emily Heinz.

Last week it was junior Halle Moraw.

This week, sophomore Kirsten Petzold was the Chippewa honored with a Mid-American Conference award, being name the co-specialist of the week.

“It is very exciting,” Petzold said. “I have never gotten it before, so it was very exciting to get it for the first time. There were three other people that went 9.9, so I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Kirsten Petzold scored a 9.925 on vault Sunday in CMU’s victory over Ball State, setting a personal record and tying her for sixth all-time in CMU vault history.

“I definitely think that there’s a real underlying talent that we haven’t seen yet,” said head coach Jerry Reighard.

The award is even more impressive, considering Reighard said vaulting is his team’s biggest weakness.

“Vaulting is a very strange event,” Reighard said. “Everything that a gymnast does their whole life, they take off their feet and they land on their feet. In vaulting, you take off their hands and you’re actually doing a half more flip and then you’ve got to land on your feet.”

The Chippewas struggled right out of the gate on vault Sunday, but were redeemed by the pair of Petzolds.

“If you can imagine that you have to run full speed and do a cartwheel and not hurt yourself, that’s really what your approach is,” Reighard said. “If you had to run full speed at any type of an obstacle and at that top velocity, leap over that. It happens so fast. You have to be pretty fearless to do that. Then cap it all off with doing a somersault, a flip initiating off your hands. I definitely would put (Kirsten Petzold) in that fearless category.”

Senior Brittany Petzold, who did not compete in vault two weeks ago due to injury, put up a 9.825 right before Kirsten’s run. Kirsten said she wasn’t paying attention to the scores of those in front of her.

“When I’m vaulting, I don’t really look at (the other scores), I just stay within myself and do what I have to do,” Kirsten said. “It was my first time being anchor this season, so I just wanted to prove myself, and I did.

Brittany wasn’t surprised by her younger sister’s success.

“I was really proud of her,” Brittany said. “She did very well, she practiced so hard in the gym. I wasn’t really surprised at all. Her vaults are so good and I knew that she could do it if she had the height and landing.”

Being the younger sister of a two-time MAC Individual Champion and reigning MAC Gymnast of the year has helped Kirsten.

“She’s taught me so much,” she said. “Especially how hard-working she is. She keeps me going, too.”

Brittany wasn’t bitter about being outdone by her younger sister in vaulting Sunday, but rather excited.

“She wants me to do the best that I can do and I want her to do the best that she can do,” Brittany said. “Of course there’s always competitiveness, but it’s not bad.”

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