Gymnastics heads into Saturday's MAC Championship with confidence
The Central Michigan gymnastics team (12-3, 4-2 MAC) will compete in the Mid-American Conference Championships at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana.
"I'm really excited," said Head Coach Jerry Reighard. "I think that we have a really strong lineup, stronger than we've had most season. We got some people that are back and looking really good."
It will be Reighard's 30th MAC Championship as head coach for CMU. His teams have won 15 MAC titles in the past 29 years.
Reighard's 15 championships is is the most of any coach in the MAC since the conference began sponsoring the sport back in 1981.
Central Michigan's dominance of the year-end championship has been more apparent in recent history. Of Reighard's 15 championships, five have come since 2010. The Chippewas have not lost consecutive MAC titles since 2009.
While the Chippewas have been done well consistently in the team competition, a CMU gymnast has not won the all-around championship since Brittany Petzold in 2012. Freshman Kasey Janowicz's best score of a 39.4 would have won all-around in nine of the past 10 championships.
The reigning MAC regular season champions lost their title to Kent State (10-4, 6-0 MAC) this year, but they look to clinch the championship from the Golden Flashes before looking ahead to NCAA Regionals.
"We're working on our mental readiness," said senior Megan Lamphere. "Our physical readiness is there and has been, it's just bringing out our best all together on that day."
CMU finished the 2016 regular season ranked third out of seven teams in the MAC behind Kent State and Eastern Michigan, both teams Central Michigan lost to during the regular season.
Last year, the Chippewas placed second behind Kent State at the MAC Championships, scoring a 196.275. At the time, they were ranked 21st nationally. They went onto the NCAA Regional at Ohio State and finished third out of six teams with a 195.925.
The Chippewas are ranked 35th nationally, right on the border of not making into the NCAA Regionals, with the top 36 teams moving on.
"We're right on the bubble and that's not really comfortable," Reighard said. "If you're going to make it into the tournament, we control our own destiny this week."
The Chippewas highest team score of the season was a 196.125 against Western Michigan. Kent State's season high is also 196.125, while Eastern Michigan's season best was a 196.6.
"You have to stay in your own bubble and that's what makes a successful team on that day," Lamphere said.
Regional Qualifying Scores for Mid-American Conference teams
1. Eastern Michigan: 195.875 (24th in the country)
2. Kent State: 195.445 (30th in country)
3. Central Michigan: 195.345 (35th in country)
4. Bowling Green: 195.290 (37th in country)
5. Western Michigan: 194.865 (41st in country)
6. Ball State: 194.635 (45th in country)
7. Northern Illinois: 194.630 (46th in country)
Highest scores of 2016 of MAC
1. Eastern Michigan: 196.6
2. Bowling Green: 196.5
3. Kent State: 196.125
3. Central Michigan: 196.125
5. Western Michigan: 195.95
6. Northern Illinois: 195.475
7. Ball State: 195.25