Gymnastics sends 2 to postseason

By Steve Shonder

The season isn’t over for gymnastics as it’s sending senior Kim Gotlund and junior Amanda Stepp to the NCAA Regionals.

The duo will take part in the Fayetteville Regional 4 p.m. Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark. Gotlund will participate with the all-around competitors, while Stepp is an individual event specialist on floor exercises.

This will be Gotlund’s second appearance in the regionals; she was an all-arounder in 2012. She was also an alternate at the 2013 regionals in all-around.

“I’m really excited,” Gotlund said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I went as a sophomore, so I know more of what to expect.”

This will be Stepp’s first appearance at regionals, and it came as a result of a hot streak across her last eight meets. She scored at least a 9.825 in six of her last eight outings on floor.

“It’s a good way to end the season,” Stepp said. “I’ve never been so I don’t know what to expect. It’ll be a little different [competing without the team], but it’ll be OK because Kim will be there. The atmosphere will definitely be different.”

Gotlund will see some familiar faces in the all-around competition. Catherine Dion and Gabrielle May, both of University of Illinois-Chicago, will compete, and Illinois State’s Samantha King will be an alternate. King will also participate as an individual specialist on beam.

In her last meet, Dion scored a 39.35 against Illinois State March 15. Her work on bars, scoring a 9.925 in the meet, makes her a strong opponent for Gotlund in the all-around category.

Dion’s teammate, May, also had a strong regular season finale. May had a 39.075, which included a 9.9 on bars and a 9.8 on floor.

King, an alternate in the all-around and individual event specialist on beam, is a veteran at regionals with appearances in 2011 and 2012. Her 2012 all-around score of 39.125 placed her sixth overall. Her highest all-around score this season was 39.2 against the University of Pennsylvania March 1.

Competing as individuals will provide a different experience for Gotlund and Stepp, but Gotlund doesn’t expect that to affect her mindset.

“It’s going to be really different without the team,” Gotlund said. “I really want to approach it like any other meet. I’m going to give it my all.”

The top two individuals in the all-around competition will advance to nationals, held at the University of Alabama April 20, while the individual event specialist winners in their respective events will advance.