Jerry Reighard, heading into Chicago meet: 'We've got to get out there and walk the walk'

Gymnastics head coach Jerry Reighard said his team needs to show some grit to come out on top of Saturday’s quad meet.

No. 23 Central Michigan gymnastics team will head for Chicago to face host University of Illinois-Chicago, Illinois State and Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Despite the Michigan against Illinois pairing, all team scores will be counted separately, and the results of EMU and CMU will not count in the conference records. The winner of the quad will take home the Illinois-Michigan Challenge trophy for its state.

“Even though it’s not counting for our MAC record, we want to dominate (EMU), and if we do our gymnastics, we’ll dominate all three schools,” Reighard said. “There is a pride factor when facing a MAC opponent.”

The Chippewas fell to Ball State two weeks ago in the MAC opener and are looking to get back on track.

In last weekend’s quad meet in Minneapolis, CMU's score of 194.650 was not enough to propel the team to a win over No. 1 Michigan and No. 12 Minnesota, though it came out ahead of Iowa State.

The Chippewas struggled early in the meet, opening on the balance beam with some mistakes, and even a new team season-high in the floor exercise wasn’t enough to boost the Chippewas to the top.

“We left a lot on the table,” Reighard said. "I know we’re better than that and I know we’re more talented than that, but talking doesn’t say anything. We’ve got to get out there and walk the walk.”

Although the team suffered some setbacks on the beam, sophomore Taylor Noonan excelled in the event, placing second with a 9.850. Noonan also set a career-high in the floor exercise, scoring a 9.825, and recorded a personal best in the uneven bars with a 9.725.

EMU, ranked No. 33 in the nation, has lost the first two meets of the season, both against MAC opponents.

Two weeks ago, the Eagles fell to Western Michigan and, last weekend, to Bowling Green.

Illinois-Chicago defeated Illinois State last weekend in its first win of the 2013 season.

Illinois State opened the year with a 190.850-187.800 win over Lindenwood.

Reighard said his team needs to focus on hitting routines the first time.

"If we had a second opportunity to hit routine, I'm very confident we could," Reighard said. "We just need to stick everything"