Rival Kent State tops CMU gymnastics on senior night

The McGuirk Arena crowd was full of energy for the annual matchup between the Central Michigan and Kent State gymnastics teams. 

After having to count multiple falls, CMU dropped the meet 195.325 to 194.550 to the Golden Flashes. It was CMU's third-lowest score of the season.

It was senior night for five Chippewa gymnasts, as Sunday was the final home meet of the 2016 season.

"Sometimes it's difficult to watch, but I need to take full responsibility for this," said Head Coach Jerry Reighard. "I've been driving this team very, very hard and I think it caught up with us tonight. We have to rethink what we do in practice for the next couple weeks, regroup and make a plan to get some of our athletes in a better competitive situation."

During first rotation, CMU kept the lead on vault scoring a 48.850 — their highest score of the night and second best vault score of the season. Central Michigan took the top three spots — freshman Kasey Janowicz placing first with a 9.85, followed by junior Rachel Carr placing second and sophomore Jodie Plescow taking third.

On the second rotation, CMU took a step back on the uneven bars, which is typically one of its best events. CMU's 48.5 on the bars was the team's lowest score on the event all season. They suffered two falls during two of the routines that led to a deduction of points.

"You can't just give away falls," Reighard said. "You're not going to be competitive and win meets in this conference when you're counting a fall on each event, and that's what we did tonight. You can't do that and survive."

Although placing a low team score, the Chippewas placed in the top three individually with senior Megan Lamphere notching her season-best score of 9.9, good enough for first place. Janowicz and sophomore Bryttany Kaplan followed in second and third.

"Kent State didn't open the door at all," Reighard said. "It was difficult to watch because obviously I kept hoping they would, but that didn't happen. They were a very competitive team and they came here and took care of business."

During third rotation, CMU scored a 48.650 on the balance beam. Individually, Janowicz placed second for the Chippewas with a 9.775.

CMU scored their third lowest score this season with a 48.550. Senior Taylor Bolender ended her senior night with a first-place routine, earning an event-high 9.9. Sophomore Macey Hilliker placing third with a 9.850.

"We tried to stay in our bubble as we competed and really try to focus on ourselves," Lamphere said. "I think one of the biggest things coming into these next three weeks is to come like looking at the coaches and say we're going to trust you, whatever it takes to the next level and move on from this meet."

The Chippewas (11-2, 3-1 MAC) travel to face Bowling Green for their second-to-last regular season conference matchup at 6 p.m. next Friday.