Gymnastics Banquet Set for April 27, A Look Back at 2012
Western Michigan had one of its best seasons in program history, finishing second in the Mid-American Conference regular season and third at the MAC Championships. WMU ended 2012 ranked 39th nationally.
The team won seven of its first eight dual meets and five of the team's overall losses were to programs ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Western Michigan defeated then-ranked No. 21 Kent State in the MAC opener, 192.650 to 192.025, for the Broncos' first win over the Golden Flashes since Jan. 22, 2006.
The Broncos tallied four of the program's top-10 all-time scores, including three of the top four, and recorded WMU's highest total ever at the MAC Championship with a 195.000, ranking fourth-best all-time overall.
It was the second straight year Western Michigan finished in the top three at the conference meet, the first time accomplishing that feat since winning back-to-back titles under current Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard in 1987 and 1988.
Western Michigan broke the school vault record, setting a new mark of 49.175 against Ball State at home on February 26, and scored a 48.925 at Central Michigan on March 17, ranking second all-time.
The Brown & Gold had four gymnasts reach the podium at the MAC Championships, led by junior Caroline O'Brien's runner-up finish on the uneven bars, and senior Cepeda Carter was named Second Team All-MAC following a third-place finish in the all-around with a career-best 38.975.
Lauren Bledsoe, Hannah Brooks, Caroline O'Brien and Taylor Zondervan collected weekly MAC awards during the regular season, Bledsoe and Zondervan being named Gymnasts of the Week, while Brooks and O'Brien earned Specialist honors.
Four gymnasts, Bledsoe, Carter, O'Brien and Zondervan also qualified and competed at the NCAA regionals, hosted by Auburn University on April 7.
Academically, seven Broncos carried a 4.0 grade-point average in the fall semester, and 15 members carried a GPA 3.0 or better, 11 of those higher than a 3.5.
Western Michigan has made significant strides since head coach Dave Kuzara took over the program prior to the 2010 season. The season before his arrival, WMU had a team season average of 189.543. The Broncos saw that average rise to 191.029 in Kuzara's first season and improve to 193.340 in 2011. In Kuzara's third year in 2012, the team averaged a 193.815.