Gymnasts headed for California

By Eric Burt

After last weekend’s gymnastics meets, the NIU men’s and women’s coaches had very different views of their teams.

“At the last meet I was very pleased with the performances,” women’s coach Bobbie Cesarek said.

“We had a tremendous effort from the guys that were out there. But, the guys we want out there scoring for us are injured and on the sidelines,” men’s coach Chuck Ehrlich said.

The results of last week’s meets were also different.

The women defeated Southeast Missouri State 179-174. The men lost a triangular meet to Iowa (277.05) and Penn State (272.20). NIU had 267.25.

Now, both teams are preparing for a trip to Wisconsin this Friday night where NIU’s 15th-ranked men will take on No. 6 Minnesota and No. 9 Wisconsin and the women will take on Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin is averaging about 183 (points per meet),” Cesarek said. “They should be some good competition.”

Ehrlich is not as optimistic.

“We’re not real healthy,” Ehrlich said. “Of our five all-arounders, three are injured. It’s not a very happy situation.”

Following their return from Wisconsin, both teams will board planes and travel to California for spring break.

Yes, they will be competing.

On Tuesday (March 14), the teams will face Cal State-Fullerton and on Thursday (March 16) they will take on Cal-Santa Barbara.

“Santa Barbara is ranked 14th and Fullerton is 18th,” Ehrlich said. “Fullerton was in the same situation as we are, but they’re healed now.”

While the men can expect tough competition from both California squads, only Fullerton should give the women trouble.

“Fullerton is averaging 188,” Cesarek said. “Santa Barbara is averaging somewhere between 173-175. We’re looking for a win against Santa Barbara.”