Unger paves big win by women gymnasts

State bragging rights were on the line for NIU, and the women’s gymnastics team earned them in dominating fashion with a 178.45-133.75 win over Illinois State Friday night at Chick Evans Field House.

The Huskies, 11-5, swept the top three places in every event en route to the victory. The Redbirds fell to 1-12 on the season.

NIU sophomore gymnastic sensation Martha Unger claimed titles to each event, culminating in a record-breaking 37.10 score for the all-around competition. Unger bettered her own all-around mark of 37.05, which she had scored on three occasions.

“I’m so proud of Martha,” NIU coach Bobbie Cesarek said. “She put some pressure on herself to do well tonight because she needed another good score to qualify for regionals.

“She’s just so consistent. It’s great to deal with a gymnast like that.”

Unger’s blue-ribbon 9.25 on balance beam helped the Huskies to a team-record 45.30 on that event. Also placing for the Huskies were Tina Agostino in second with 9.20 and Michelle Rawlake in third with 9.05.

“I was so excited with how we did on the beam tonight,” Cesarek said. “The girls have worked so hard on that event, and everyone did a great job.”

Unger’s first-place finish on the vault (9.25) was challenged by teammate Julie Wimmers, who came in with a 9.00. Freshman Bethann Holleran rounded out the Huskie vault sweep with a 8.90.

Holleran was runner-up to Unger in the all-around competition, scoring a 35.05. Redbird Diane French’s third-place finish marked the only top showing of the night for ISU, as NIU took first-second-third in every other area.

Cesarek’s squad rests for a couple of days and then returns to action Tuesday against Illinois-Chicago. The Huskies and Flames face off at 7:30 p.m. in UIC’s Physical Ecucation Building.