Freshmen seek to score 9.8s against New Hampshire

Gymnastics is looking to start Mid-American Conference competition with a 2-0 record when it meets the University of New Hampshire at 7 p.m. today in McGuirk Arena.

CMU is confident moving forward after a victory in its home opener against Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Now, the Chippewas set their sights on taking care of their last meet before the MAC season begins.

"We have been home and away with New Hampshire about half a dozen times, so we feel very comfortable going out for a very competitive meet," said head coach Jerry Reighard.

The Wildcats scored just 0.125 fewer points than CMU in their last meet against Rutgers.

But, the Chippewas hope their depth will give them a distinct advantage over UNH.

"We have the same freshmen competing on Friday as our last meet," Reighard said. "We said our ultimate goal for the freshmen is to receive a 9.8, and this is the only year that goal is realistic."

The freshmen ready to compete again today are Megan Lamphere, Kirsten Petzold and Taylor Bolender. Each freshman has scored a 9.7 or above in their events this season.

Once again competing in this meet is sophomore Halle Moraw, who was named MAC Specialist of the Week, after scoring a 9.850 in both beam and floor.

"Halle is a very gifted athlete and has a passion for what she does," Reighard said. "That sets her apart. It's a great feat going into her second meet as a sophomore."

CMU was predicted to finish third in the conference, behind rivals Kent State and Western Michigan, after three consecutive MAC championships. But Reighard believes otherwise.

"We are absolutely first place," Reighard said. "I am shocked you can win three-straight and be predicted third. We control our own destiny, and, right now, our expectation is championships."

The Chippewas are hoping to draw more attention from students while banking on the popularity of the sports growth following the 2012 London Olympics.

"Whenever we have  someone new attend a meet their reaction is always 'wow, I am going to every meet'," Reighard said. "The most popular Olympic event is gymnastics, and we are not far from Olympic caliber. We follow a collegiate model and an exciting, loud atmosphere; the louder and better the reception is, the better the athletes' performance"