No. 21 gymnastics comes up 0.1 short of sixth straight MAC Championship


Colorado senior Taylor Noonan performs a leap on the balance beam during the Chippewas gymnastics meet Feb. 15 at Western Michigan University. Noonan scored a 9.9 on beam in Saturday's MAC Championships and earned a share of the individual title on beam.

No. 21 Central Michigan University gymnastics had its second-highest score of the year, but failed to secure its sixth consecutive Mid-American Conference title, losing to host Kent State Saturday 196.375-196-275. 

Both the Golden Flashes and the Chippewas excelled on floor, with Kent State scoring a 49.325 and CMU earning a 49.35.

Despite the heartbreak, the Chippewas still receive a Regional Championship bid.

Head Coach Jerry Reighard set his sights on a 196.4 before the meet, which is exactly the score that was needed to win the title.

“There are a lot of very positive things about this team and I am not going to dwell on this one day,” Reighard said. “But I will tell you that I would not trade this team for anybody. 

"Number one we’re the only MAC team to make it to the NCAA Tournament so we accomplished goal number one, we accomplished goal number two, which was to win the regular season and we came a heartbeat away from accomplishing goal three.”

CMU had four 9.9’s in the championship, all of which were high enough to claim a share of the individual championships. 

Senior Halle Moraw scored 9.9's on vault and floor, junior Taylor Bolender scored a 9.9 on floor and senior Taylor Noonan had her 9.9 on the balance beam.

“The spirit of our entire program has always sat on the shoulders of our seniors,” Reighard said. “I really have to congratulate our seniors, our super six never gave up and they fought until the end. We were pushing every event.” 

“A great finish to the year," Reighard said. "We are not finished and that is the exciting thing."

Senior Halle Moraw was awarded the Senior MAC Gymnast of the Year and MAC Gymnast of the Year. 

“Not what I was hoping for, definitely frustrating but to be MAC Gymnast of the Year and MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year is an honor and I couldn't be more thankful,” Moraw said. “To win vault and floor is even more a dream, but it sucks not having the team (title).” 

The 196.275 is the 11th best overall score in program history and the 49.15 on vault was the ninth highest in program history.

“It really sucks that we lost as a team but we still have more meets this season," Bolender said. "Which is really encouraging and we can go to regionals and show everyone what we are made of. It’s exciting that I won but not as exciting that we didn't win as a team.”

The Regional Championships are Saturday, April 4 and the location will be revealed next weekend. The possible locations for the maroon and gold are: Iowa State, Auburn, University of California Berkley, Ohio State, West Virginia University and Oklahoma University.