Central Michigan edges NIU gymnastics

By Matt Hopkinson

While NIU gymnastics highlighted its seniors, Central Michigan stole the show Saturday.

The Chippewas defeated NIU 194.950-193.925 at the Convocation Center Sunday. NIU posted its second-highest score this season against CMU.

Central Michigan (11-3, 5-0 MAC) entered the meet undefeated in the MAC, while NIU (3-5, 2-3 MAC) was coming off its second highest point total of the season.

The meet was close following the first two events, but NIU struggled on the balance beam, posting a 47.975 due to a few slip-ups.

NIU coach Sam Morreale said it wasn’t a serious problem requiring an immediate intervention.

“I felt like we practiced and warmed up well,” Morreale said. “There was little mechanical things inside the skill, but it’s nothing that warrants a big huge fix. Maybe a couple more pressure routines during the week.”

While the Huskies struggled on beam, Central Michigan posted its highest event score on beam, riding a strong performance from senior Kristen Teubner to the tune of a team score of 49.000

“We just have great team chemistry and we’re led by two great all-arounders in Kristen Teubner and Brittany Petzold,” said Chippewas coach Jerry Reighard. “We knew our championship was on the line. We put our kids in pressure situations because we knew it would come down to our beam versus their floor, and it paid off four us today.”

The senior class for NIU led the way all meet, as Shonda Clore hit on all three of her events, posting 9.750, 9.750, and 9.650 on vault, bars, and beam respectively.

“It’s very exciting to end my career with good scores,” Clore said. “I think the seniors this year are amazing leaders. Honestly, I think the only thing missing this meet was the victory. We have a lot more we can improve on, and I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates moving forward.”

NIU senior Tanya Rachan posted the high score of the meet on floor with a 9.850, and fellow senior Ashely Guerra took second in the meet on bars, with a 9.775.

“The seniors have been a godsend for me in my first year,” Morreale said. “What they do is immeasurable. They were my first recruiting class, so I have a special tie to them. It’s hard to quantify the importance of a strong, committed and dedicated senior class.”