Noonan to return as gymnastics head to Utah

Senior Halle Moraw performs her routine during the gymnastics meet against Bowling Green University in McGuirk Arena, Feb. 22.

The Central Michigan University gymnastics team continues its search for another team score above 196 and a bid into the NCAA Top 25.

Following a loss at the hands of UC Davis last week, the Chippewas have another multi-team meet at 9 p.m. Friday at Brigham Young University.

CMU has struggled in multi-team meets this season, but have managed one victory over Mid-American Conference rival No. 24 Eastern Michigan University in January.

Both Utah State and BYU have been very consistent this year hitting high 194s and low 195s consistently.

The Aggies hit 195 in their last meet. USU features a lethal beam team, something CMU has struggled with, especially in a multi-team action.

During a mid-January victory, Utah State scored a 49.275 on beam. Every gymnast scored higher than a 9.8 that day. The Chippewas have yet to score more than 49.075 during a beam rotation all season.

UTU senior Sarah Landes is a standout in all-around. With a career high of 39.35, she can make or break a meet for the Aggies.

BYU has a superstar in the making with freshman Jill Van Mierlo. Van Mierlo is scoring over 39.325s on all around, a tenth of a point shy of No. 10 in CMU's record book. 

The Cougars only have two first place finishes this season, but  have seen top-level competition this season. Most recently, BYU fell to Boise State, scoring a 194.75, which would have still beat the Chippewas two full point drop in their last defeat.

“I think we have had a really good week in the gym, we scored a 196 with coaches judging, which is really good,” CMU senior Halle Moraw said. “We are regrouped, refocused and ready to go.”

CMU has struggled to stay consistent all season. A 196.125 two weeks ago and a 194.15 in their most recent meet, the Chippewas are in need of one more 196-plus score to land themselves in the NCAA's esteemed Top 25.

“I can tell you for sure that the difficulty of our balance beam routines compared to certainty anyone in our conference or anyone ranked near us, it’s not even close," said Head Coach Jerry Reighard. "That’s why we took three people to NCAA Nationals on beam last year." 

Noonan returns

For the first time since January, senior Taylor Noonan will be back in action for the Chippewas. The previous No. 1 in the MAC beam specialist has been sidelined for most of the season due to a dislocated kneecap. She will bring a much-needed level of experience back to the maroon and gold squad.