Central Michigan wins team title, while BG’s Dawn Christman ties for individual title in floor exercise

Paul Barney and Paul Barney

Seven gymnastics teams from around the Mid-American Conference soared through the air at the MAC Championship Saturday afternoon, and in the end, Central Michigan came out on top, edging out Kent State 195.600-195.025 to take its first championship since 2004.

The seven-team meet was held in Anderson Arena. As BG played host of the event for the first time in seven years.

It was anything but a homecoming for the Falcons, as they tumbled to a last place finish of 191.850.

BG entered the MAC Championships in third place behind Kent State and Central Michigan and were coming off a season-high score of 194.375 a week prior, but struggled collectively when it mattered most.

“We came in ranked third and I think we are the third best team, but you have to put it together on the right day,” BG coach Kerrie Beach said. “It’s always a learning experience, so for those coming back next year, I know they don’t like the feeling of being last but they’ll be ready and fired up to do better next year.”

Two of the returners next season, including junior Amber Brewer and sophomore Dawn Christman, were the only two Falcons to place in the top-five in the events they competed in.

Brewer tied a personal record with a 9.750 on the uneven bars as she tied for fifth place with Ball State’s Julie Cotter.

Christman finished in a six-way tie for first on the floor exercise with a 9.850 – tying a team record and setting a personal record.

Christman was also named a member of the First Team All-MAC, which exemplifies the season BG had not only on an individual level, but as a team as well.

And despite a last place finish on Saturday, Beach is reflecting on the season as a whole rather than her team’s performance in the MAC Championships.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Beach said. “They made great strides this year and we’re just going to focus more on the year.”

It was an up and down season for the gymnastics team this year.

Beginning the season 0-2, the Falcons went on a five-meet win streak, only to end the season on a five-meet losing streak.

BG ended the regular season 5-7 overall and 4-2 in the MAC, which is the most conference wins by the Falcons since the 2001-02 squad went 6-0.

A big part of BG’s success this season was due in large part to its four seniors – Morgan Balzer, Megan Chronister, Queenita Gamble and Breanne Guy.

“This group of seniors has been outstanding since they came in,” Beach said. “They’re just people with really good character and that made my job so much easier.”

Chronister posted a team-best 9.675 on the balance beam Saturday, and even though she struggled to a 9.200 finish on the uneven bars, the opportunity of playing host to the MAC

Championships was an experience she will never forget.

“It was a great experience because it only happens once every seven years, so it’s a lifetime experience for us,” Chronister said.

“I think we made a huge step in the right direction for next year and the years to come. We’re going to come out next year and be stronger than ever, so we’re a team that the MAC needs to look out for.”