Pedrick, Clements to represent CMU gymnastics at NCAA Championships
After finishing sixth in the NCAA Regional Championships on April 1 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the season is over for all but two athletes on the Central Michigan gymnastics team.
Junior Katy Clements and freshman Denelle Pedrick will compete at the NCAA Championships on Friday in St. Louis.
Clements exceeded expectations at regionals on the balance beam, tying for first place with a 9.9. Pedrick tied her career high on vault, also posting a 9.9, to share the top spot.
“We get go represent the best school in the nation,” Clements said. “We are incredibly blessed to be going (to nationals). It is such an honor and we would not have done it without our coaches and teammates.”
The Gainsville, Georgia, native proved to be a true captain by leading by example this season.
Clements’ performance was good enough to be named Mid-American Conference Gymnast of the Week twice. She was named to the All-MAC Second Team for the second consecutive year.
"It’s an honor,” Clements said. “You don't know you’re being nominated and when you have the opportunity to get that honor it makes you proud of where you came from and what you have done.”
Clements' top event was balance beam. During the season, Clements scored above a 9.8 in all but one meet and set a new career high this season with a 9.925 against rival Kent State — a meet that was decided by a tenth of a point.
"Beam is definitely my favorite event,” Clements said. “It’s four inches and how many people can flip on four inches? I think it’s the daring aspect of it. I get to do skills (on beam) that people learn on floor.”
Clements competed for the first time on floor this season and the way she performed as if she was on floor her entire career at CMU.
For the season, Clements averaged a 9.818 on the floor event and scored higher than a 9.8 in seven meets, including five 9.9 or higher performances.
"Training for nationals is almost the exact way but there is only two of us now" Clements said. "We just have to continue our techniques we have used all season."
Pedrick has noticed that preparation for nationals is very different.
"These practices are very different because usually everyone is in here and cheering you on, but right now it is just us two and the coaches," Pedrick said. "The practices are a lot faster because I am only focusing on one event not working to improve on all four."
Coming into this season, Pedrick said she was a wild card, not knowing what her role on the team would be.
The Saskatchewan, Canada native started the season as an all-around participant. She posted a career high for the all-around competition against Western Michigan earlier in the season, scoring a 39.050 out of a possible 40.
Though Pedrick made it to nationals on the vault, Pedrick said she prefers the floor routine.
"My favorite event is by far the floor routine," she said. "I like to perform and dance and smile. I have been described as a fast athlete and that helps on floor."
Pedrick and Clements will represent the Chippewas at nationals at 7 p.m on Friday, April 14. The meet can be streamed on the NCAA website.