Gymnastics comes one spot short of National Championship berth

Senior Tori Garcia performs her routine during the gymnastic meet against Bowling Green University in McGuirk Arena, Feb. 22.

No. 21 Central Michigan University gymnastics fell short of its dream of a NCAA National Championship bid, finishing third behind No. 7 University of California Los Angeles and No. 6 University of Michigan Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Despite losing, the Chippewas competed well in most events, especially floor. CMU started off on floor with a 49.25 highlighted by another 9.9 from senior Halle Moraw.

“Overall, (this was) not the outcome we wanted, but we had a great season and I am proud of all the girls and everything we accomplished,” said senior Tori Garcia.

Head Coach Jerry Reighard’s goal for each event was a 49.25, which the team only hit on its first event.

Following floor, CMU headed to vault where they scored a 49.075, highlighted by Junior Karlee Teet’s 9.85. Although the score wasn't what was hoped for, it was the third-best overall vaulting score of the season.

The maroon and gold knew they needed a nearly perfect routine on their final event, the balance beam, from just about every gymnast for the championship dreams to come true.

Beam determines the winners of gymnastics meets in any close matchup. The beam inconsistency—a common theme throughout the season—continued, as CMU scored a 48.55.

“I am very proud of the team,” Reighard said. “We had two routines on beam that hurt us, had we hit one or even both it wouldn't have helped our standings, but it certainly would help our national standings.”

UCLA’s beam routine won the meet for the Bruins with a 49.55, decorated with three 9.95’s and two 9.9’s.

The top two teams from the six-team regional advanced, UCLA and U of M, had a large lead over the rest of the teams going into the final event.

“When we got on beam I knew perfectly well where we were at and I went up and told them they had a great career and gave them a hug,” Reighard said.

The 197 Reighard and his squad aimed for would have tied U of M for the second spot.

The Chippewas managed to knock off No. 18 University of Arizona in their attempt at making the top two, outscoring the Wildcats 195.925-195.8, while defeating Ohio State University for the second time in four years at their own arena.

“It's a really a big part for our program in the direction I am trying to get it to go,” Reighard said. “To beat Arizona and the Ohio State University is a milestone. It’s one of those stories that we really work hard to accomplish.”

For the Super Six, they finished their final meet with strong scores:

Halle Moraw: 9.8 on vault, 9.9 on floor. NCAA Regional Championship Runner Up on floor.

Becca Druien: 9.8 on beam and a 9.85 on floor.

Taylor Noonan: 9.825 on beam.

Tori Garcia: 9.75 on vault.

Preslee Harrald: 9.85 on floor.

Kylie Fagan: 9.85 on both beam and bars.

“I think we did great, we went out there, did what we needed to do and showed the nation what CMU Gymnastics is made of. We made a great name for ourselves,” said senior Kylie Fagan.

The maroon and gold finish their 2015 campaign with an overall record of 20-7 through regular and postseason meets.

Final Scores:

UCLA: 197.500

Michigan: 197.000

Central Michigan: 195.925

Arizona: 195.800

Ohio State: 195.650

Kentucky: 195.450