Women host Illinois State

By Chris Sigley

Although Illinois State will be present at the women’s gymnastic meet in Chick Evans Field House Friday at 7 p.m., NIU coach Bobbie Cesarek said she feels the Huskies will be battling themselves.

The ISU squad has been under the weather with injuries this week, which will force it to compete in some events with only four girls, opposed to the maximum six allowed. Cesarek is looking forward to the meet as an opportunity for the Huskies to break records.

“If everyone does their best, there’s no reason we can’t break a school record or come close to one—we’ve come within .6 points of breaking the school record before,” Cesarek said. “The meet will be a good chance for everyone to improve their best score of the season.”

The last time NIU saw the Redbirds in competition was at the Illinois Classic in Champaign on Feb. 13, where the Huskies took second place by defeating ISU, who finished third. NIU was led by Martha Unger’s school record 37.05, which took second in all-around competition.

Unger has the top average for the entire team on all four events, according to Cesarek, and has “a great shot at qualifying for the NCAA Regionals” held on April 8-9 in Baton Rouge, La. But Unger is not alone in her efforts.

“It’s been a team effort this year,” said Cesarek, “and because of the depth of the team, we’ve been able to put people on their best events rather than having somebody do something they’re as good at.”

While all four events will be important to NIU in Friday’s meet—the first of the final three meets of the season—the balance beam should demonstrate the most productivity.

“We’ve been working real hard and have been doing real well on the balance beam,” Cesarek said. “We’ll probably be as productive as we’ve been all season—productive meaning staying on and doing skills and being rewarded with very nice team scores.”

But the beam shouldn’t be the only event exhibiting hard work and hours of practice.

“Floor exercise is doing quite good,” Cesarek said. “The kids always get pumped up at home.”

The parallel bars event has not been up to par lately. Cesarek said that “misses on the bars” have troubled the team in the last couple of events, which she says is “relatively unusual.

“We’re looking for solid-hit routines Friday,” she said.