Gymnastics finishes third in MAC, seeks ninth straight NCAA Regional invite


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Senior all-around Caroline Fitzpatrick performs a balance beam routine on Mar. 5 at McGuirk Arena.


After finishing third in the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Central Michigan gymnastics team will find out Monday where it is headed for the April 1 NCAA Regionals.

Going into the meet, CMU was ranked 36th in the country — the last spot to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. 

Eastern Michigan won the MAC Championship, scoring a 196.5, Bowling Green finished second with a 196.4. The Chippewas posted a 196.1.

"Our performance helped us and we are in the NCAA regionals," head coach Jerry Reighard said. "It gives us two more weeks to get better."

Before the MAC Championship meet, CMU scored back-to-back 196's after falling by a tenth of a point to Bowling Green at home.

To qualify for the NCAA regionals, CMU must finish in the top 36 regional qualifying score. The regional qualifying score is calculated by averaging a team's second through fifth best scores during the season and only three can be home scores.

Here is a breakdown of how the Chippewas competed on all four events for the season:

Vault

Averaging 48.745 on the season, vault has been the Chippewas' second best event behind floor.

CMU scored a 48.975 in the MAC Championships, marking the seventh time it scored above its average on the season.

Central Michigan is ranked 26th in the country for vault with a regional qualifying score of 48.955. Freshman Denelle Pedrick led the Chippewas, averaging a 9.8 on the season and only scoring under 9.8 twice.

Uneven Bars

At the start of the season, struggled on the bars. Since the meet at Kent State on Feb. 19, CMU has scored more than a 49 in four straight meets. 

Bars was the worst event for CMU at the MAC Championships. The Chippewas posted a 48.625.

"It didn't go our way at all and that definitely cost us a couple of places in the standings for the MAC," Reighard said.

The Chippewas ranked 30th nationally with a regional qualifying score of 49. Sophomore Kasey Janowicz was CMU's top performer averaging a 9.788 on the season, scoring above a 9.8 seven times including a team best 9.875 in the MAC Championships.

“Hard work has turned bars around for us. We have worked extremely hard in practice,”  Reighard said.

Balance Beam

Balance beam improved in the last three meets of the season, scoring more than a 49. For the season, CMU averaged a 48.51.

CMU ranked 32nd in the country for beam with a regional qualifying score of 48.875. Leading the team on beam is junior Katy Clements, averaging a team best 9.793. Clements has only scored less than a 9.8 once this season.

“Beam is 100 percent mental, you can’t be tentative on it. We had some meets that we have done that,” Reighard said. “Beam has started to improve for us and our scores have shown it."

Floor Exercise

Floor routines have been the strength for the Chippewas all season, averaging a 49.035. In the MAC Championships, CMU posted the second highest score of the season with a 49.4.

CMU's regional qualifying score of 49.015 ranks them 36 in the country. Junior Macey Hilliker has averaged a 9.863 for the season and has only scored under a 9.8 once this season. 

"Macey has been a machine on floor and the routine she did was exactly like she did in practice. She is really concentrated on that event and did a great job," Reighard said.

Hilliker tied her career best at MAC Championships with a 9.95 to tie Bowling Green’s Kayla Rose. Hilliker earned CMU's only individual championship.

"Top to bottom, this (floor) group has the ability to go 9.9," Reighard said. "It's very comforting to know we have other people in the gym that we could actually put in the lineup. It's a really good place to be in.”



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