Gymnastics team to open season with intrasquad event tonight

The Central Michigan gymnastics team will show their skills at McGuirk Arena tonight, along with a few other tricks kept up their sleeves.

The team is hosting the “Tumble Craze”  – an intrasquad exhibition event free and open to the public, beginning at 7 p.m. to introduce the 2013 gymnastics team and interact with fans.

Head coach Jerry Reighard will be at the microphone of the hour-long event to educate fans on how NCAA gymnastics is scored, explaining and identifying technical skills performed by the three-time defending MAC champions.

“It should be really educational for the community. Honestly, I think a drawback to sport is the downtime when the judges are calculating scores,” Reighard said. “This will be non-stop action with big flips, twisting, releasing on the bars; all the stuff people love to see and with no downtime.”

The team will also be interacting with fans, inviting anyone who wants to come down on the floor after the meet to dance the Cupid Shuffle and Gangnam Style with them.

Junior Meaghan McWhorter said she’s anxious to get back into McGuirk Arena and unveil to the fans what the team has been working on.

“I seriously love being in McGuirk," she said. "Even just going to other sporting events gets me excited to be heading back. You just have that energy, that excitement of the home crowd. It’s amazing to show we’ve been working hard.”

Reighard said the exhibition benefits the team by putting them in the arena in a competitive setting.

It’s important to remember what it feels like to have eyes watching them, he said.

“It helps us become more accustomed to being in a performance mode, rather than a practice one,” he said.

The team will be debuting new routines and tricks, Reighard said. Individual MAC champions McWhorter, sophomore Taylor Noonan and junior Brittany Petzold have set the stage for the level the team is going to have to follow this year.

Fans should be on the lookout for senior Emily LaFontaine’s spectacular bar routine, Reighard said.

LaFontaine said she is eager to get back in the arena and in front of a crowd.

“I’m so excited to get out there,” LaFontaine said. “Having that audience to get in front of just gets the adrenaline going.”