Gymnastics named regular season MAC Champions with senior night win


Senior all-around gymnast Macey Hilliker embraces senior all-around gymnast Katy Clements during Central Michigan University Gymnastics' final home meet of the 2018 season at McGuirk Arena on March 15.

Central Michigan gymnastics was crowned the regular season Mid-American Conference Champions after a 196.175-195.125 victory over Ball State on senior night March 15.

CMU finishes the regular season at 8-8 and 5-1 in the MAC. The Chippewas are the favorite to win the MAC Conference Championship March 24. 

In each rotation, the Chippewas scored higher than the Cardinals with scores of 49 or more coming on three out of four events (vault, bars, beam).

On vault, the Chippewas matched a season high of 49 for the second time – the last coming against Kent State Feb. 18.  Freshman Nora Fettinger and junior Gianna Plaska both set season-high’s on the vault with 9.75 scores. 

CMU finished with a 49.175 on uneven bars in the second rotation, landing them their second-highest score on bars this season. Plaska landed a 9.9 on the apparatus, matching her season high for a third time.

After two rotations, the Chippewas found themselves up by .275 points and not slowing down.

The Chippewas doubled their score separation from the Cardinals after the third rotation finished, giving them a .550 lead, 147.2-146.65. Senior Katy Clements landed a 9.925 on beam, matching her season high for the fourth time.

CMU continued to stretch the gap between itself and the Cardinals after the final rotation finished — winning by 1.05 points.

The seniors for the Chippewas, including Clements and Brytanny Kaplan, said “there is still work to be done."

“We’ve talked all season about competing with our brain and feeling it with our heart,” Kaplan said. “As we move on to compete in however many games we have left, we’re going to compete with all of our passion, letting it show on the floor, and leaving it all on the table.”

Head coach Jerry Reighard agreed with Kaplan about the team's effort.

“If you don’t put it on the table, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” he said. “I’ve been emphasizing this to the entire team. You have to go all out, you can’t hold anything back. Seldom does anything go right when you don’t.”

The seniors want to leave a legacy of hard work and strong leadership as they end their collegiate careers. 

“We want people to look at us and say ‘they worked hard,'” Clements said. “They gave their heart and soul to the program and did it the best they could.”

CMU hosts the MAC Championships at 2 p.m. March 24 at McGuirk Arena.