KALAMAZOO—The Western Michigan University gymnastics team's 2014 schedule is highlighted by three Mid-American Conference home meets, as well as home meets against non-conference opponents Michigan State University and University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Broncos are coming off a 2013 season in which they captured their fourth MAC Championship in school history, claiming the title in their home arena in March.
WMU returns nine gymnasts from the 2013 championship season, and eight newcomers join the roster. Among those returning are First Team All-MAC selection and last season's MAC Freshman of the Year Kayla Weber, a sophomore from Plymouth, Mich., and MAC vault champion, sophomore Jessi Buis of West Ottawa, Mich.
"We have an extremely exciting schedule this year," said gymnastics coach Penny Jernigan. "Our team will have a great opportunity to sharpen its skills early, opening the season against a tough SEC team Arkansas in Fayetteville. We are looking forward to hosting our five home meets as well, and it's our goal to break the program's all-time attendance record at University Arena."
Season begins Jan. 10
WMU kicks off the 2014 campaign on the road Jan. 10 in a three-team meet at Arkansas University.
Following the trip to Fayetteville, WMU dives into its MAC schedule with back-to-back Friday night home meets against Bowling Green University and Kent State University, Jan. 17 and Jan. 24. The Broncos then head to Northern Illinois University Feb. 1, host Ball State University Feb. 9 at University Arena, and travel to Eastern Michigan University Feb. 15.
After five consecutive conference meets, WMU takes a month-long break from MAC competition, turning its focus to three non-conference opponents. The Broncos will look for their fourth-straight victory over in-state rival Michigan State when the Broncos host the Spartans Feb. 21. WMU then journeys to another Big Ten school for a quad meet at Penn State University, with Yale University and Lindenwood University also participating.
WMU returns to Kalamazoo for its final home meet, welcoming UIC, March 9.
The Broncos close the regular season in Mount Pleasant, Mich., with a final MAC duel at Central Michigan University March 15. EMU will host this year's MAC Championships March 22, in Ypsilanti, Mich. NCAA regionals will take place around the country April 2, and nationals will run April 15-17.