Men’s gymnasts fall to Illinois, women’s team loses at SIU

By Kari Brackett

Even though the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams stayed in Illinois, there seemed to be no mercy for either teams from the in-state friends.

The men’s team (4-7) was defeated by U of I, 279.50-270.40, while the women Huskies (9-4) lost to the Illinois State Redbirds 182.90-178.30.

There is a big margin between the men’s score, but Coach Chuck Ehrlich said he was not dissatisfied with his team’s performance.

“It certainly wasn’t a great meet for us,” Ehrlich said. “But we didn’t give up, and at least that’s a positive.”

NIU lacked in consistency and was never able to dominate in any of the six events. Vault was the only event the Huskies even came close to winning with a score of 46.20-46.00.

U of I’s Dave Romero led all gymnasts with a winning all-around performance of 56.10. NIU’s Carlos Fulcher finished in second place with a 55.45 score.

Other Huskie standout performers were Gene Margiotta and Eric Solky. Margiotta won the blue-ribbon in the vaulting event with a 9.40 performance. Solky scored 9.60 on the horizontal bar to give him first place.

“He (Solky) is just not getting credit for what he’s doing,” Ehrlich said. “We can’t seem to get the scores to reflect the quality of the consistency with which he performs.”

For the women Huskies, inconsistency seemed to be a problem only on the balance beam.

NIU trailed by only one point going into the balance beam event, but was outscored 45.50-42.95 by ISU.

“With only five gymnasts competing on beam, each score counts,” Coach Bobbie Ceserak said. “They beat us on beam, and we really can’t afford those errors.”

Ceserak said ankle problems were key factors to the beam exercise. She said many of her gymnasts are nursing foot injuries.

Ceserak also said ISU pays $150 per gymnast for a professional choreographer for the floor and beam exercises.

Leigh-Ann Carruthers was the leader for NIU. She scored over 9.00 on every event and her 36.60 score tied for third place in the all-around with ISU’s Daphne Musgrove.

“I was so pleased with Leigh-Ann’s performance,” Ceserak said. “She nailed all four events, which she has never really done before.”

Cesarek said she was also pleased with performances by Michelle Rawlake and Gretchen Kind. Rawlake and ISU’s Jill Hollembeak shared second place on beam with 9.10. Kind scored 9.15 with ISU’s Betsy Cekander on the vault which gave them a tie for second place.

“We have one more meet to show our talent,” Cesarek said. “Hopefully we can hit our beam.”

Both the teams have one meet left in the season. The men will travel to Illinois-Chicago on Saturday to compete in the National Invitational Gymnastics Championships. The women will close their schedule at Minnesota on Saturday.