Gymnasts to host meet

By Kari Brackett

Team depth and team competitiveness are the two keys NIU women’s gymnastic coach Bobbie Cesarek will mention when talking about her squad’s 3-1 record.

Cesarek and her tumblers want to continue their winning ways Saturday when NIU hosts Iowa and Wisconsin-Oshkosh in a triangular meet at 2 p.m. at Chick Evans Field House.

“We have got great depth this year,” Cesarek said. “The members are quite competitive, which is what I think has helped us. They will fight to stick to their routines.”

In its opening meet at Indiana, the Huskies defeated Ball State 176.85-170.40. In a quadrangular meet at Western Michigan on Jan. 23, NIU lost to the host team but defeated Kent State and Illinois-Chicago.

The Huskies return six letterwinners from last year’s team, which ended the season 9-5. One top returnee is sophomore Martha Unger. Unger competed in the NCAA Central Region tournament last year and was team MVP. Unger has already started the season strong by winning three of four individual events at the Ball State meet and winning the all-around title as well.

Juniors Leigh-Ann Carruthers and Michelle Rawlake and senior Gretchen Kind are other leaders for the squad. Rounding out the returnees are sophomores Amy Taylor and Julie Wimmers.

“Gretchen and Michelle have spearheaded the team and have done a good job leading the freshmen along,” Cesarek said.

The Huskie boss has three new gymnasts this season and is encouraged by their ability. Tina Agostino, Bethann Holleran, Laurie Vitallo and red-shirt Karen Dunphy are the newest members of Cesarek’s clan.

“Obviously we want to win Saturday,” Cesarek said. “I don’t think we will have trouble against Wisconsin, but against Iowa it is going to depend on who’s clean and who hits their routines the most.”