Gymnastics clinches a share of MAC title with win at NIU

The Central Michigan gymnastics team (11-3, 5-0) continued its domination of the Mid-American Conference on Sunday against Northern Illinois.

The Chippewas clinched a share of the MAC title with their best score of the season, posting a 194.95. Northern Illinois finished the meet with a 193.925 in DeKalb, Ill.

Head coach Jerry Reighard was pleased with his team’s effort on the road and gives credit to the focus and preparation his team had coming into the meet. It’s something Reighard believes caught NIU off guard.

“I was really pleased with the purpose of the team,” Reighard said. “We came in here with a purpose to secure our regular season title, and we did that. It was a close meet. After the first rotation, we were ahead by only a couple tenths.”

CMU will try to win the title outright March 17 against Western Michigan.

Freshman Tori Garcia hasn’t gotten a lot of attention this year, as most of it has gone to team leaders Kristin Teubner and Brittany Petzold. Garcia, however, set the tone for the team after performing well on the vault.

Reighard and Garcia had worked on a new routine for vault the previous week.

“The highlight of the meet personally for me was Tori Garcia,” Reighard said. “She came through for us. She had been working on a new vault, and she scored a 9.8 on it today. That really inspired the team, it was great for her, but it was great for us to start off that well on our event.”

The pressure was on after the first three events were close. CMU needed a minimum of five 9.6s on beam.

CMU flourished with the pressure.

“Our team just tore it up,” Reighard said. “They were extremely focused and prepared. We went 49 even, that’s a 9.8 average, just a great day on beam. That was something that Northern wasn’t expecting, because we haven’t done that all year.”

The duo of Teubner and Petzold was at its best again against the Huskies. Teubner had an all-around score of 39.15, and Petzold had a score of 39.125.

Reighard has been proud of the way the duo has performed all season.

“They are an incredible one-two punch,” Reighard said. “They both looked stellar on all four events. It was really a great day for both of them.”

CMU has a week off before heading out West to compete in Washington. The team plans to rest for a couple days and work on getting everyone healthy.