Gymnastics hit high note on way to best score since 2009

By Matt Hopkinson

NIU gymnastics started and ended its meet Saturday on point, hitting every routine in all four events.

On the road, NIU (3-3, 2-1 MAC) was able to win a close meet by posting season-high scores in all four events, as it edged Bowling Green (1-8, 0-3 MAC) 194.775-193.975 in a meet that featured 12 individual career marks and 16 season-high marks.

“We had our best day of the year, by far,” said NIU coach Sam Morreale. “We started the meet on bar, and finally put it all together. It was gratifying to get over the hump; we fed off that the rest of the day.”

Sophomore Kim Gotlund led the Huskies off right away on bar, getting put into the opening slot for the first time all year. Gotlundd would answer the call scoring a career-best 9.725. Gotlund didn’t stop there, posting career marks in every event as NIU’s lone all-arounder, scoring a career-best 39.000

“I knew I had to hit my routines to set the tone for the event,” Gotlund said. “I’m glad I was able to help my team. It was one of the most exciting meets I’ve ever been at.”

Although NIU’s bar squad supplied the necessary points to put them over Bowling Green, it was familiar faces and events doing what they’ve done all year. Sophomore Megan Melendez won the balance beam event, her third time this year, scoring a 9.750. Senior Ashley Guerra won the bar event, her second this year, with a 9.825.

Also with the continuing trend was the floor squad who put up an overall score of 48.950, led by senior Tanya Rachan. The senior posted career-highs in floor and vault, 9.875 and 9.825, respectively.

“To set career highs as a senior was definitely one of my goals,” Rachan said. “I feel like I’m obligated to do that as a senior; to lead by example and be that rock.”

While the Huskies set highs in every event and even posted a total team score in the top 10 in school-history, ranking in at seventh, Morreale said there’s still upward movement available.

“It shows and reinforces to the kids that what we’ve been doing from day one is the right plan,” Morreale said. “This is a good indication of what we can be. We haven’t hit our max on beam; we can get everyone getting on top of their landings. It’s little things, but there are still things we can squeeze out.”