CMU gymnastics steals a win from Kent State in exciting final moments

When tough, in-conference competition came knocking at their doorstep the Chippewas answered emphatically, taking down Kent State at Sunday’s meet in Mt. Pleasant.

Without Central’s performance in the last rotation, however, the results may have read differently. CMU entered the final rotation of the afternoon trailing Kent State 147.100 - 147.425. 

Fortunately for the Chippewas, they would end the meet on their best event as of late: the floor exercise. The lineup certainly did not disappoint, as they would ultimately come out of the final rotation on top. Outscoring Kent State by almost two full points in the rotation  (49.500 to 47.650), CMU’s floor lineup did not post a single score below 9.850 on its way to a meet-clinching performance. The scoreboard read 196.650 - 195.075 when it was all said and done.

CMU’s mark of 196.650 once again tops its previous best of the season. Additionally, this mark is the highest in the entire Mid-American Conference this season. 

CMU continues to rely on the performance of a few of its upperclassmen in critical moments this season. In particular, the performances of junior Hannah DeMers and senior Sierra DeMarinis have been essential in Central’s impressive efforts of the past few weeks. 

Sunday afternoon was no different, as the pair posted scores of 9.925 and 9.950 respectively to close out the final rotation and secure the victory for Central. DeMers’ mark gave her an all-around score of 39.550 - her best of the season. Meanwhile, DeMarinis’ score gave her three consecutive meets with a score of 9.900+ in the floor rotation (two of which tied her career-high of 9.950).

Meanwhile, Central Michigan has another pair of athletes on the other end of the spectrum. Freshman Lia Kmieciak and senior Morgan Tong have both only been featured in their respective events a handful of times this season, but both have hopped into competition mid-season without skipping a beat. 

While Tong, who missed the first portion of the season due to injury, provides a steady veteran presence thanks to a few years of experience, newcomer Kmieciak presents more of an unknown, perhaps even unforeseen, contribution to her lineup this early in her career.

However, based on the way she has performed thus far, she is quickly inserting herself as an impact-performer on this Central Michigan squad.

In the first two meets of her NCAA career, Kmieciak scored 9.850 and 9.750 on the uneven parallel. Sunday marked her third meet, and she managed to keep her momentum from the previous two meets, as she finished with a 9.875 and a resulting victory in the event (she shared top honors with CMU junior Audriana Hammond and Kent State’s Sarah Haxton). Central Michigan seems to have a long-term fixture for its uneven parallel bar lineup in the freshman.

CMU’s balanced performance bodes well for the team’s outlook the remainder of the season. CMU will face off against Illinois for the third time this season next week as it travels to Champaign for their final away meet of the regular season. The meet is scheduled for Friday, March 4th at 8 p.m. ET.