Plaksa looks to continue strong season heading into regionals

Being an all-around gymnast demands a lot of a person, but Gianna Plaksa has been able to meet those demands for the Central Michigan gymnastics team. 

Plaksa has had a long love affair with gymnastics which dates back 15 years to when her affection for the sport began in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. 

The sophomore gymnast said the love affair revolves around her ability to do something not everyone can do. 

“I love going out there and performing for the crowd,” Plaksa said. “I love going out there and doing flips and participating all while keeping a smile on my face.”

Plaksa has stepped her game up this season as she has gone from a one event specialist last year to an all-around participant in her sophomore campaign.

Plaksa's average score across all four events is a 9.750 out of 10 with the lowest score being a 38.275 and the highest being a 39.000. Plaksa accomplished the 39.000 threshold twice this season, once against Eastern Michigan and again against Ball State.

“This season is a lot different than last season,” Plaksa said. “I mostly participated on floor last season because it was my best event. It’s a lot more fun this year. I get to give more to the team and I really like that part of it."

Giving more to the team helped the Chippewas when they needed it most this season. With fellow sophomore and all-around participant Kasey Janowicz recovering from injury for most of the year, Plaksa was forced to fill her shoes. 

“Gianna has done great for us in the all-around category,” said head coach Jerry Reighard. “It takes a lot for someone to step up and take over for the former (Mid-American Conference) Freshman of the Year.”

Reighard also said Plaksa's improvements have come in more than one area. 

“Not only has Gianna improved as a gymnast, but her positive attitude towards everything is very uplifting and it helped the team get through some tough times this season," he said. 

This improved attitude has led to a better performance out of Plaksa and the team as a whole.

“I have a few events I would like to improve on, especially vault and beam, but I hope to keep competing all-around and compete well at regionals,” Plaksa said.

The Chippewas will compete in the NCAA Regionals Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas. CMU will move on to the NCAA Semifianls if it finishes in the top two at the regionals.