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The winner of a head-to-head matchup between Central Michigan's Brittany Petzold and Kent State's Marie Case has decided the winning team in five of the last six gymnastics meetings.
Competing against each other in all-around six times in their careers, the seniors will be a key matchup Sunday. With each gymnast potentially accounting for 20 percent of their team’s total score, Case versus Petzold is a rivalry within the rivalry.
"(Petzold and Case) are the two horses that are going to run the race,” Reighard said.
In some sports, a brief lapse in concentration can lead to giving up a score, a turnover or a wild pitch.
In gymnastics, distractions usually lead to a face full of mat.
For the first time this season, No. 19 Central Michigan gymnastics trailed its opponent. To make matters worse, CMU was beginning the vault, arguably the team’s worst event.
Chippewas head coach Jerry Reighard mixed up the lineup, putting juniors Halle Moraw and Tori Garcia on vault.
“Bowling Green put us in a situation for the first time where we were behind,” Reighard said.
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In their first meet since earning a Top-25 recognition, the N0. 19 Central Michigan gymnastics team defeated Mid-American Conference rival Eastern Michigan 195.925-194.6, Friday.
It was CMU gymnastics' first road trip of the season and first time playing out of Olympic Order, but the Chippewas still defeated the Eagles who recorded one of their highest scores in program history.
The Chippewas were .075 points away from hitting the milestone 196 mark for the second consecutive meet.
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The No. 19 Chippewas have their first away meet of 2014 after a five meet home stretch to open the season.
CMU is traveling to Ypsilanti to take on EMU Friday night at 7 p.m.
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Even the crowd was on-board with gymnastics head coach Jerry Reighard’s goal of scoring a 196. A fan at McGuirk Arena on Saturday boasted a sign saying “196 or bust,” and Central Michigan didn’t disappoint.
CMU and Eastern Michigan took the top two spots in the Michigan-Illinois Challenge, with a 196.6 and 194.8 respectively, claiming the victory for Michigan.
CMU’s score was the fourth-highest in program history and the second-highest during the regular season.
“That’s what CMU gymnastics is all about,” Reighard said.
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Gymnastics started their Mid-American Conference schedule successfully on Sunday, scoring a 195.8 to top Ball State during the Flip for a Cure meet at McGuirk Arena.
After an early season upset from the Cardinals last season, the Chippewas were determined to keep their undefeated season alive.
“I had revenge,” said senior Emily Heinz.
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No. 22 gymnastics defeated William and Mary in Friday’s Royal Rumble and Tumble 193.950-188.700 at McGuirk arena.
Central Michigan recorded a win, although the score was the lowest for the team this season.
“193.95 breaks my heart to be honest with you,” said head coach Jerry Reighard.
This season, gymnastics will feature many underclassmen who will have to prove their mettle to earn a spot on the starting roster among veterans.
More than half of the athletes on roster are underclassmen, but only one freshman has been in competition so far this year alongside upperclassmen who are looking to add a fifth consecutive Mid-American Conference Championship banner to McGuirk Arena.
Freshman Kirstin Stambaugh has been on vault and bars for the Chippewas in competition thus far. She has already been making large improvements, going from an 8.85 on bars and a 9.6 on vault against Wisconsin-Eau Claire to a 9.675 on bars and 9.65 on vault against Maryland.
“I’m really happy that they trust me and put me in," Stambaugh said.
Last week, gymnastics was the unranked underdog taking on a ranked opponent, but against William and Mary, the roles will reverse with the Chippewas rising to a No.
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[wzslider autoplay="true" interval="5000" height="600" transition="'slide'" info="true" lightbox="true"] (EDITOR'S NOTE: In the January 13th issue of CM-Life, senior Emily Heinz was improperly spelled Hines.
Gymnastics slipped past 24th ranked Maryland on Friday, picking up a 194.8-192.05 victory at McGuirk Arena.
After scoring 194.45 in last week’s season opener against Wisconsin-Eau Claire, head coach Jerry Reighard predicted the team would need to score 195 to beat Maryland this week.