Gymnastics to host annual Excite Night Thursday


Connecticut junior Caroline Fitzpatrick performs a bar routine during CMU gymnastics' Excite Night on Nov. 20, 2015 at McGuirk Arena. The event gave fans an opportunity to get a better understanding of the sport, watch the team perform and get autographs.

The Central Michigan gymnastics team is one month away from the beginning of its season, but fans can get a glimpse of what to expect from the team Thursday.

The team will host its annual Excite Night event at 6 p.m. at McGuirk Arena. Admission is free for the event.  

Excite Night will feature an open demonstration of each event by the gymnastics squad and commentary explaining the different routines from Head Coach Jerry Reighard.

“It’s to help our fans understand the sport of gymnastics,” Reighard said. “Everybody understands when the ball goes through the hoop its two or three points, but they don’t understand what it takes to get a ten (in gymnastics).”

Excite Night is also for the kids. The kids can come out on the floor and be up close to the gymnasts and see them in competition. There will also be an autograph session.

Children can dance on the floor during the event as well, which is something Reighard said will help fans become closer to the team.

“I really think gymnastics should be a family atmosphere to come to a meet and were trying to promote that” he said.

In 29 years as CMU's head coach, Reighard has led CMU to 14 MAC championships and to a winning record in 16 of the past 17 seasons.

Last season, the Chippewas finished third in the Mid-American Conference with a 12-3 record behind Eastern Michigan and Kent State.

The Chippewas ended last season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Regionals, placing above MAC-rival Kent State, and finished the season ranked No. 33 in the country. 

Sophomore Kasey Janowicz and junior Katy Clements will be key returners for the Chippewas this season.

Janowicz was named MAC Freshman of the Year and named to the All-MAC Second-Team last season. She competed in all four events averaging 38.983 points combined in each meet.

Clements was also named to the All-MAC Second-Team after averaging a 9.75 on the beam and a 9.643 on the vault.

Gymnastics opens its season Jan. 8 at McGuirk against Wisconsin EAU Claire/ Hamline.