Lindsay Gerber, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Central Michigan gymnastics team was handed its first loss of the season as Southern Utah topped the Chippewas, 195.825-195.675, in a nonconference meet on Friday in McGuirk Arena.
CMU, who is in the midst of a two-meet break from Mid-American Conference competition, fell to 4-1. The Chippewas are scheduled to travel to Illinois State (1-2) on Friday, Feb. 9 (8 p.m.).
While Central Michigan posted an overall performance slightly above its average, Southern Utah came out hungry and ready to perform. The Chippewas entered the meet ranked 20th with an average score of 195.538 while the Thunderbirds had not posted a score above 194.475 this season.
"You could just tell (Southern Utah) had something to prove," CMU coach Jerry Reighard said. "It was evident from vaulting, throughout the meet. They improved their overall score a great deal."
With up and down performances on each rotation, Reighard pointed that in gymnastics, unlike most other sports, an athlete get only one opportunity to do her best.
Despite falling short in some aspects, Central Michigan still had gymnasts take the top spot in all four events, with Katy Clements tying her career-high (9.925) on the balance beam while winning the event.
Denelle Pedrick, a sophomore, recorded an impressive 39.350 all-around score, surpassing her previous personal-best 39.050. Pedrick tied her season high on the floor exercise with a 9.875. She posted a 9.850 on vault. She placed first in both events.
Gianna Plaksa had a career performance on the uneven bars to lead CMU with a 9.900, while teammate Bryttany Kaplan tied for second place with Southern Utah's Kirsten Yee, each recording a 9.850. The event was the Chippewas' best of the night, as they finished with 49.000 team score to the Thunderbirds' 48.825.
"I really thought our performances were good," Reighard. "Unfortunately, we had some routines that made uncharacteristic mistakes. We were, I felt, a little flat coming out and I can't identify the reason for that.
"We had some great performances and some mediocre ones, which at our level, you can't have a mediocre that counts. So it was a tough loss for us, but I believe good things come from being tough."
Central Michigan will return to MAC competition on Feb. 18 at McGuirk Arena against Kent State. The Chippewas are 3-0 in the MAC. Kent State is 2-1, 1-1.