Gymnastics defeated by EMU despite strong finish on floor

Entering the final rotation trailing 145.325-146.975 against defending Mid-American Conference champions Eastern Michigan, head coach Jerry Reighard took a second to gather his team before the floor exercise began.

CMU had just finished beam with a score of 48.075. With less than stellar performances on vault and uneven bars, Reighard took the opportunity to rally his team for a strong finish on the floor.

"The message was that we had to stop the bleeding, and they all know what that means," Reighard said. "I thought we had a really good last event, it was exceptional."

CMU finished the floor exercise with 49.250, proving the Chippewas with their only score above 49 on the evening. Juniors Katy Clements and Macey Hilliker led the way in the event, both finishing with scores of 9.925. 

The last effort wasn't enough as Eastern Michigan defeated CMU for the second season in a row 195.925-194.650.

"CMU could have won, should have won in my estimation," Reighard said. "I think we have the people to do that, but we had difficulties on three events and you just can't win at this level on one event.

Fresh off being named MAC gymnast of the week, Clements' consistency on the mats continued with a second place finish on the beam (9.850) and and a third place finish on the vault (9.775). 

"Katy is a captain for any other reason but her maturity, and she does a great job at leading this team," Reighard said. "I think she's pretty valuable to us."

While Reighard has found veteran leadership in Clements, he's still faced with the challenging task of getting the best from his largely young group of gymnasts.

"We are pretty young, we're still trying to train people how to compete, and last week everybody showed up,"Reighard said. "You have to hit 24 straight routines and that's what Eastern Michigan did, so you have to hand it to them because that's what gymnastics is all about."