Excite Night connects gymnastics with community

Central Michigan Gymnastics got its first opportunity to perform in front of a crowd at Thursday's Excite night at McGuirk Arena.

The event gave fans a better understanding of gymnastics while having fun.

The evening began with introductions of all 20 members followed by a short warm-up. Head Coach Jerry Reighard then introduced discipline and then the first event, vault.

Reighard broke down the specifics while a few gymnasts went through their routines. The same was done for all the events, uneven bars, balance beam and floor.

“Excite night is just the kickoff for the season” Coach Reighard said. "If we don’t get them in front of judges and a crowd for routines it’s going to show up later in the season."

The event was not only good for the team to compete in front of a crowd, the free event also allowed children to dance and show off their skills on the mat in front of the gymnasts. 

After the event, the Chippewas held an autograph signing and the gymnast took photos with each child in attendance. 

“(Excite Night is about) bringing the community together and for them to see what were about,” said junior Katy Clements. “It’s our first meet in the arena with more than just 20 of us. It’s a chance for us to get are nerves out."

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

The season ended last year with a fifth place finish at the NCAA Regionals ahead of rival Kent State and a No. 33 ranking in the country.

The Chippewas opening the season at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8 at McGuirk Arena against Wisconsin EAU Claire/ Hamline.