Gymnastics breaks school record in season opener
After placing the highest score in any season opening match in program history, the Central Michigan gymnastics team topped Illinois State in its season opener at McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas defeated the Redbirds 196.375-191.600, winning all four events on Jan. 6. The Chippewas held at least a .500 lead in each event, showcasing their confidence and skill on the beam and floor.
The Redbirds stared the competition on the bars while the Chippewas ran the vault. CMU led 48.975 to 47.075 after the first rotation thanks to sophomore Denelle Pedrick’s 9.875 score and senior captain Katy Clement’s 9.800.
After the second rotation CMU led Illinois State 97.950 to 95.125. Both teams swapped events for the second rotation, where senior captain Bryttany Kaplan led the team on the bars with a 9.850.
The third rotation saw ISU compete in floor exercises while CMU competed on the balance beam. The Chippewas were starting to pull away, leading 146.975 to 143.975 entering the last rotation. The judges took note of the Chippewas' enthusiastic personality on the beam and rewarded them with a 49.025.
For the final rotation CMU owned the floor exercises with a 49.400 score and winning the competition over the Redbirds. Senior Macey Hilliker displayed her talent as she had the best individual score of the day with a 9.925.
The seniors weren’t surprised by the team’s scores. Clement and Kaplan both emphasized they aren’t content with a 196.375 and want to aim higher.
“Back in August we (senior captains) talked to the team and really set a fire in everyone and today is where the results show,” Clement said.
“The scores were exactly as we had been judging in the gym and it was exciting to see but it wasn’t a surprise to us as this team has the talent, all we have to do is believe in ourselves.” Kaplan said.
Head coach Jerry Reighard said a 197.000 score is now the goal for the team.
“To reach a 197.000 score each gymnast will have to improve their scores by about half of a tenth of a point,” Reighard said. “This team is ready to turn 9.700 scores into 9.800 scores and 9.800 scores into 9.900 scores.
“There’s nothing like making history. Very few people in the entire world get to make history, but this is one of those moments.”
The Chippewas travel to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m on Jan. 13.