Gymnastics Wins Second Consecutive MAC Championship

By: Greg Hotchkiss

History Ties KENT, Ohio—Senior Hannah DeMers won three individual event titles and Central Michigan enjoyed an all-out team effort by winning their second straight Mid-American Conference Championship Saturday at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center . Central Michigan took the win after racking up a total of 196.525 and beating Ball State (196.325) and Kent State (196.175) for the championship.

The Michigan center took an early lead on the uneven parallel bars and led all day. The Chippewas cemented their lead with a solid vault performance and extended it with six spectacular floor routines. The final jump was the jump and Chippewas landed a solid score. With a lead before the final rotation, CMU had to wait until the final rotation before being crowned champion. The Chippewas waited for the final scores to be posted, then launched into a jubilant celebration.

“We got a really good score and we knew it was going to come down to tenths,” said Central Michigan head coach Christine MacDonald, who won her second straight crown and third overall title. of the MAC in four years. “I’m proud of our day and proud of the fight we showed today. I’m really proud of our whole team. We had to wait and we were happy with the result.”

This year’s team started the weekend as an underdog after finishing in third place in the regular season standings. They lost All-MAC and senior gymnast Katie Kowalski to injury before the first meeting this season and were without junior Adriana Bustelo today. But a variety of gymnasts stepped up in key performances to propel the Chippewas to victory.

“We worked really hard for this result,” MacDonald said. “We knew it would take everything to be able to win. We knew it was going to be a long day. The determination we showed today, routine after routine, was fantastic. We never let go. We reset after each event. We worked hard to put ourselves in a position to win.”

DeMers, who was honored as MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year after the event, won three events, including the all-around (39.475), bars (9.950) and floor (9.950) titles. Rookie Luciana Alvarado-Reid finished third in vault and fourth in all-around and was also honored post-competition as MAC Rookie of the Year. The duo won two of the four MAC season awards. Earlier in the day, DeMers was nominated for her fourth All-MAC regular season honor, becoming the first gymnast in school history to earn such an honor.

“Hannah and Luci in this full position work well together,” MacDonald said. “Hannah resets after every event. When she’s in the moment, she’s all-in for the team and up for competition. In her first encounter in a championship setting, Luci also did a great job. “

Central Michigan started the competition on uneven bars and Chippewas did not disappoint. All six WUC gymnasts produced strong performances, led by a spectacular career-best tying 9.950 by DeMers. Sophomore Lia Kimieciak, Alvarado-Reid and senior Savana Kotas (tied for a career high) all finished with a 9.850, senior Audriana Hammond contributed a clutch of 9.825 and senior Ashley Veglucci hit a 9.750. The team score of 49.325 gave CMU the lead after the first rotation. Hammond gave the Chippewas momentum on the first routine of the day as she hit a 9.825.

“We did a lot of encounter situations in the gym,” MacDonald said. “Our gymnasts really came to the competition with that mindset. I was really proud of Annie, especially because she fell on the bars last weekend. For her to come back and reset and enjoy moment was awesome. She really embraced that mentality, worked hard all week and performed a great routine that really set the tone for us today.”

Next up for the Chippewas was the balance beam. The Chippewas finished with a team score of 48.700 led by Alvarado-Reid’s 9.825. Senior Aleysia Kolyvanova clocked a 9.800, while DeMers clocked a 9.750.

After a third rotational bye, Central Michigan resumed competition on the floor. As they have been all year, the Chippewas were dominant as the lowest score on record was 9.825. Sophomore Hallie Hornbacher started the Chippewas off on the right foot with a 9.850, Alvarado-Reid landed a stunning 9.875, Kolyvanova followed with a 9.825, Veglucci hit a 9.875, DeMers tied a career high with a 9.950 and Pitchell closed it with a 9.900.

Vault was CMU’s final event as sophomore Quinn Skrupa kept up the momentum with a 9.800, Hornbacher backed it up with a 9.775, Alvarado-Reid landed a 9.850, junior Elizabeth Cesarone threw a 9.800 , and Kmieciak tallied a 9.775, and DeMers closed with a 9.825.

“It’s a great feeling,” MacDonald said of his second straight title. “You know that feeling and you want to have it. Nothing will be given to them. Every year is different, it’s new and we’re really excited.”

Next, Central Michigan awaits selection of individuals for the NCAA Regional Championships.

Coach of the Year: Joanna Saleem, Ball State
Gymnast of the Year: Payton Murphy, Western Michigan
Specialist of the Year: Suki Pfister, Ball State
Senior Gymnast of the Year: Hannah DeMers, Central Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Luciana Alvarado-Reid, Central Michigan

Team: 1. Michigan Center 196.525; 2. Ball Condition 196.325; 3. Kent State 196.175; 4. West Michigan 195,800; 5. Bowling Green 195,450; 6. East Michigan 195.175; 7. Northern Illinois, 193.925.


All-around: 1. Hannah DeMers, 39.475; 2. Rachel DeCavitch, Kent State, 39,450; 3. Payton Murphy, West Michigan, 39,425.

Jump: 1. Victoria Henry, Ball State, 9.950; 2. Taylor Jensen, Bowling Green, 9.875; 3. Kyndall Gilbert, Kent State, 9,850; 3. Suki Pfister, Ball State, 9,850; 3. Luciana Alvarado-Reid, Central Michigan, 9,850; 3. Emmalise Nock, northern Illinois, 9,850; 3. Sarah Moravansky, West Michigan, 9,850.

Uneven Parallel Bars: 1. Hannah DeMers, Central Michigan, 9.950; 2. Rachel DeCavitch, Kent State, 9.925; 2. Megan Teter, Ball State, 9.925.

Beam: 1. Taylor Jensen, Bowling Green, 9.900; 2. Rachel DeCavitch, Kent State, 9,875; 2. Amanda Gruber, West Michigan, 9,875.

Floor exercise: 1. Hannah DeMers, central Michigan, 9,950; 1. Payton Murphy, West Michigan, 9,950; 3. Suki Pfister, Ball State, 9.925.

Victoria Henry – Bullet State
Megan Teter – Bullet State
Taylor Jensen – Bowling Green
Hannah DeMers – Central Michigan
Rachel DeCavitch – Kent State
Amanda Gruber – West Michigan
Payton Murphy – West Michigan



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