Gymnastics wins season opening meet by slim margin


Senior all-around gymnast Gianna Plaska competes during floor exercise Jan. 6 in McGuirk Arena. 

The Central Michigan gymnastics kicked off their 2019 season with a quad meet win against Arizona, Bridgeport and Arizona on Jan. 6 in McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas took the victory with a team score of 194.875. Arizona followed closely behind in second with 194.750, Illinois finished third at 192.850 and Bridgeport rounded out the field with a team score of 192.575. 

"We've always counted ourselves as a fourth-quarter team," said head coach Jerry Reighard. "With the people we have, and the competition to even get in our lineup, I'm fully expecting that fourth-quarter will get stronger and stronger for us."

In the first rotation, the Chippewas were on the vault where they posted a team score of 48.600 and had four gymnasts score 9.700 or better. Junior Sydney Williams led the team with a 9.825 posting.  

In the next rotation CMU was on the uneven bars where it came away with a score of 48.675. Led by senior Gianna Plaksa with a 9.825, the Chippewas again boasted four individual scores of 9.700 or higher. 

The Chippewas hit the balance beam for their third rotation and posted a 48.475 team score. Junior Denelle Pedrick led the way with a 9.850. However, the CMU lost its lead to the Wildcats as it posted a 49.100 team score on the vault and Arizona freshman Christina Berg posted a near-perfect 9.925. 

Heading to the fourth rotation, the Wildcats held a slim lead over CMU and Illinois, who were tied at 145.750 apiece.

For their final rotation, the Chippewas took to the floor and Pedrick again led her team with an 9.850 performance. As a team, the Chippewas posted a 49.125 team score to give them the lead. 

Pedrick scored 38.950 in the all-around competition which gave her second place. 

"For me, if I focus on scores, it doesn't do well for my routine," Pedrick said. "I focused on the technique of things I needed to do in my tumbling and my leaps, and my score will take care of itself." 

The Chippewas will host Illinois State for a home dual at 7p.m. on Jan. 11 at McGuirk Arena.