Gymnasts sweep Ball State, UIC

By Kari Brackett

The women’s gymnastics team captured two victories over the weekend at Chick Evans Field House, beating Illinois-Chicago Friday night 174.5-165.2 and Ball State Sunday 175.55-167.25.

The NIU gymnasts began Friday night cheering to themselves, “We have six people, yea!” The team has had problems with injuries and illnesses all year, and one meet only had four competitors. The team was worried Martha Unger and Gretchen Kind would be unable to compete.

But the healthier Huskies had total control in both contests.

In Friday’s meet, NIU saw all top four places in the vaulting competition. Amy Taylor took first place with a 9.15 score.

“Our full-twists were on,” Coach Bobbie Cesarek said of her team’s vaulting accomplishments. “But, our handsprings were off, and we were not quite as good in the event compared to the others, but overall we did well. Amy threw a good vault.”

NIU’s best event was the uneven bars. The Huskies scored 3.35 points higher than the Flames with running scores of 44.85-41.50.

“I was real pleased with uneven bars, because everyone set,” Cesarek said.

The balance beam was the worst event for NIU. In the three other events, the team scored at least 44 points, but the gymnasts found themselves down by three points on the beam and only scored 41.3. However, UIC also did its worst on the beam, scoring a 38.7.

The all-around competition placed three NIU gymnasts in the four top spots. Miner was the sole gymnast from Chicago and placed fourth with a final score of 34.50. Carruthers scored 34.95 to trap third, and 35.30 was Amy Taylor’s finishing score and gave her second. Martha Unger won the all-around with a 36.10 total.

On Sunday, the all-around competition was a complete turnaround. NIU’s Michelle Rawlake placed first with 35.15 and Leigh-Ann Carruthers took second at 35.15. Julie Wimmers and Taylor scored 34.95 and 34.85 to give them a third and fourth place finish, respectively.

“Rawlake nailed everything,” Cesarek said. “She has been working hard and put together a new floor routine. Our usual top people had a bad day today.”

Just like Friday’s meet, NIU captured the top places on the vault and had a running score of 44.8 to Ball State’s 43.65, which was the closest tally between the two teams. The Huskies also placed in all three top spots on the bars, scoring 4.05 points higher than Ball State.

The balance beam gave NIU trouble again in Sunday’s meet and the team only scored 41.05.

“You can guess what we will be working on this week in practice,” Cesarek said.