Gymnastics hosts Northern Illinois, standards remain high


Illinois senior Tori Garcia finishes a tumbling pass during her floor routine Jan. 17, 2015 at McGuirk arena. 

A determined Central Michigan University gymnastics team hosts Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois University at 7 p.m. today.

Ranked second in the MAC, the Chippewas will look to improve on their overall team score of 194, after a loss to Eastern Michigan University last week.

CMU was forced to watch EMU accept first place in the Michigan-Illinois Challenge, two weeks after defeating the Eagles at McGuirk Arena.

Returning to Mount Pleasant comes at an ideal time for the Chippewas, their coach said.

“It is going to be good for us. The transition of a championship format is all in all good,” Head Coach Jerry Reighard said. “It is a good perspective on how to prepare mentally.”

In their last meet, the Chippewas started on beam and ended on bars, an order they were unfamiliar with.

On Friday, CMU will be in a regular dual meet rotation starting on vault and ending on floor.

The five-time reigning MAC champions said they expect to score a 196 or better at every event.

“It’s about staying (together) as a team,” sophomore Caroline Fitzpatrick said. “As a unit, hitting the routines we know we can hit.”

NIU struggled through the first half of the season, yet are directly behind the Chippewas in the MAC standings at 3-1 (1-1 MAC).

The Huskies have not broken the 194 mark while CMU has hit as high as 196.175 earlier this season.

NIU’s senior Amanda Stepp could be the difference-maker for the Huskies. Stepp has proven herself scoring a 9.8 or higher in her vault and floor routine. She has also improved on the balanace beam as the year has progressed. Stepp’s 9.825 on vault and 9.85 on floor lead NIU to its first MAC victory against Kent State earlier this season.

“We need to come in with a positive attitude,” CMU senior Halle Moraw said. “Come in, work hard, and not let the same thing happen.”