Unger proves she deserved making regionals

By Kari Brackett

Martha Unger did not win the number-one spot at the NCAA Regionals in Alabama on Saturday, but she proved to everyone she belonged.

The one problem is neither Martha nor Coach Bobbie Cesarek know exactly how well Unger placed in the meet. They did not get a complete set of results. The copy given to them had a sheet missing, and they only received a small amount of information. Although she did not get all the data, Cesarek said she thinks Martha moved from fifth to third.

Martha’s best event was floor exercise. She scored 9.4 to give her a tie for eighth place. On the parallel bars, she received a 9.3 score, which also placed her in the top 15. Other events included balance beam and vault where she scored 8.85 and 8.75, respectively. Her all-around score was 36.30.

“Martha had no falls,” Cesarek said. “She was most excited about beam because it was a better score than her vault.”

Martha has been having trouble all year long on beam because of an achilles heel. She has been practicing extra hard and is really pleased with the results.

Unger said she was very satisfied with the meet. She said she was not expecting to win it but to just hold her own.

“I just wanted to finish strong,” Unger said. “I did exactly what I wanted to do. It was a good ending to a good beginning.”

Martha said she was excited about being at the meet Saturday and was not nervous. She said she knew where she stood and had nothing to lose.

Unger also said she was impressed with the teams competing. Louisiana and Alabama have gymnasts on the team who compete nationally. Martha said Alabama scored 189 at the regionals.

“That is really incredible,” Unger said. “Our team averaged 177 during the year, and we were not bad.”

Martha gets Monday off, but then it is back to work for next year. She really is hoping the team will be able to qualify for regionals next year. Next year will have a lot of depth because of returners and recruits.

“I was lonely at regionals,” Unger said. “It would have been nice to have my teammates there.”

Cesarek said she was very happy for Unger.

“Martha did a very nice job,” Cesarek said. “She represented NIU well.”