No. 23 gymnastics moves back into Top 25, jumps rival Kent State
A win against Ball State on Sunday was enough to propel gymnastics into the Top 25 nationally for the second time this season.
This came on the back of a 195.8 team score. While Central Michigan has won the Mid-American Conference title the past four years, they haven't scored a 195.8 or higher in January in any of those seasons.
“I think it’s of huge significance for us,” said senior Brittany Petzold. “It just shows all the hard work in practice has paid off. It shows all the other teams out there that we’re a Top-25 team.”
The Chippewas have a 194.75 average score for the season, moving up from where they were last week, at 194.4.
“Top 25 is extremely important to us," said head coach Jerry Reighard. "It sends a message to our competitors but it also sends the message to our officials. They get on the web. They know what we’ve done. When they approach a team that has that caliber, they’re less fearful of giving the scores because they say, ‘well, they’ve earned them before.’"
The Chippewas also jumped past Rutgers and Kent State – two teams they will face later in the season.
“We were really excited about (passing Kent State in the rankings) because they’re our biggest rivals in the MAC,” said sophomore Kirsten Petzold. “So to be ahead of them is good.”
Both Petzold sisters said the team’s goal is to make it into the top 12 in the standings.
“We would love to be in the top 12,” Brittany said. “The top 12 go to nationals, so that’s been one of our goals for a very long time. I think we can get that.”
Auburn University currently holds the No. 12 spot in the country with a 195.983 average, with its highest score of the season being a 196.850. CMU would have to score in the high 196s and low 197s to reach the top 12.
“Top 12 is going to be very difficult at this point in the season," Reighard said.“My goal realistically is to get in to the teens. If we can make that jump, now we can talk about the top 12."
The Chippewas have scored above a 196.5 three times in program history, with the record being 197.525 in the 2004 MAC Championships.
The team was able to break the 196 threshold twice in 2013 – a mark the Chippewas nearly broke Sunday against Ball State.
This score is what Reighard sets as the standard every week.
“We knew what we needed to do on floor to crack the 196,” Reighard said. “I actually thought the performances were there to earn the scores that we needed.”
If the Chippewas are able to score a 196 or higher in this weekend's quad meet, they will have an average of at least 195, which would have been good enough for No. 20 in this weekend's rankings.
“I think we’re really getting back to the CMU gymnastics that we’ve had in the past,” Reighard said. “This team is starting to believe and that’s a big part of the battle.”
CMU’s next meet will be against Eastern Michigan, Illinois State and Illinois-Chicago at 2 p.m. Saturday at McGuirk Arena.