Gymnastics looking to keep unblemished MAC record

The Central Michigan gymnastics team will put its undefeated Mid-American Conference record to the test against Kent State 1 p.m. Saturday at McGuirk Arena.

Head coach Jerry Reighard is looking forward to having some of his former athletes back in town.

“We have our former alumni come back for a gathering,” Reighard said. “It’s just a good time for everyone, some come over to our house for a pregame meal. Then on Saturday they all sit in the club and cheer us on.”

The Chippewas (4-0 in the MAC) will have to overcome injury problems when they host Kent State (2-1).

Senior Samantha Piotrowski, sophomore Emily Heinz and a handful of freshmen have been lost for much of the season with injuries.

Reighard said he knows injuries are part of the sport, but admits that this many injuries are not common.

Sophomore Meaghan McWhorter, and freshman Rebecca Druien are overcoming serious injuries. They should return to competition this weekend baring any set backs.

“It’s not common, it’s a lot of injuries, we’re not used to that,” Reighard said. “Some of the injuries happened to freshmen athletes before they even got here. The bulk of injuries happen in practice, we fall a lot. We’re a contact sport, but we don’t wear pads.”

Senior Kristin Teubner is coming off her best meet of the season, scoring a 39.275 all-around score. That helped Teubner earn MAC gymnastic of the week honors.

Scoring a 196 as a team score is always the goal for CMU under Reighard. This year however, the team has fallen short, averaging scores in the 192 range.

Reighard is looking to pick up a few more points this weekend against the Golden Flashes.

“If everybody on the team improves by a half of tenth, that’s one point toward the team score,” Reighard said. “Our biggest obstacle is we haven’t had a meet, where we haven’t counted a fall. Last weekend we had two falls each in two events, there’s two points right there.”

Even with all the falls, Reighard said he is still confident with the team he has put together during all the injuries.

“I’m confident we have the personnel to do so,” Reighard said “But it’s going to take everyone’s best physical and mental effort.”

CMU is going through a tough stretch on the schedule. The team placed third in the Illinois/Michigan Challenge, and lost to Texas Woman’s University the week before.

Reighard is poised to stay undefeated in the MAC. He said it’s what matters to him the most.

“It’s paramount. That’s our number one goal,” Reighard said. “At the end of the season, the team with the best MAC record gets to choose what event they start on at the tournament.”