Gymnastics heads to Tuscaloosa for NCAA Regional Tournament

CMU gymnast competes on March 24 at McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan gymnastics was selected as the sixth team to compete in 2018 South Central Regional Championship at 4 p.m. April 7 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Chippewas have advanced to 10-straight regional championships. They will compete alongside host No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Michigan, No. 18 Georgia, Missouri and Illinois.

"Tuscaloosa is a great venue," said head coach Jerry Reighard. "It'll be an exciting audience, and we are excited to be there." 

Mid-American Conference competitor Kent State earned a berth to the NCAA Regional Championships in Columbus, Ohio. Individuals from five other MAC teams also made the NCAA Championships.

Record-breaking season

CMU finished as the 2018 MAC Regular Season Champion with a conference-best 5-1 record.

The Chippewas hosted the 2018 Mid-American Conference Championship over the weekend in McGuirk Arena and won their 16th MAC Championship under Reighard. 

They finished with a 197.025 score – their third best score in program history.

CMU finished this season with a regional qualifying score of 195.750. This landed the team the No. 36 spot in the NCAA – the last rank to qualify for the tournament.

Olympic order

In the regional round, the Chippewas will compete in Olympic order, meaning they will first compete on the vault, then the uneven bars, balance beam and the floor. 

“Olympic order is the envy of every gymnastics team,” Reighard said. “We were just at MAC Championships and we competed in that order, so the comfort level is there. You spend a lot of time rehearsing if you don’t have that order and we don’t have to, which gives us more time to prepare for the important things.”

Olympic order is the same order the Chippewas compete in when performing in McGuirk Arena. 

Last NCAA Appearance

Going into last year’s regional championship in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Chippewas sat at No. 28 in the NCAA with an RQS of 195.765. 

CMU competed alongside Utah, Denver, California-Berkely, Auburn and Arkansas. Both the Utes and Pioneers advanced to the semifinals, finishing with top two scores of 197.15 and 197.05, respectively. CMU finished sixth with a 195.675 score.

Senior Katy Clements and sophomore Denelle Pedrick both qualified as event specialists following the results. Clements competed on the balance beam and Pedrick competed on the vault.

Both Clements and Pedrick became the first Chippewas to compete in the NCAA Championship since 2014.

Pedrick earned a score of 9.8375 on the vault. It was good enough for her to place No. 29 in the NCAA, out of a possible 86 spots.

Clements posted a 9.8625 score on the balance beam. She placed No. 33 in the NCAA, out of 87 possible spots.

Advancing in the tournament

In order to make it to the NCAA semifinals this year, CMU needs to place as one of the top two teams in its regional meet. 

Two sessions take place for the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics National Championship semifinals on April 20. The Super Six competition takes place April 21.