Huskies look to tame Wildcats

By Matt Hopkinson

NIU gymnastics hopes to continue to trend upward heading into its meet with New Hampshire after recording season-high scores in its previous events.

Regardless of the outcome, Huskies coach Sam Morreale is always seeking more positive results and specific goals each meet.

“We’re trying to chase that 45-plus from a total score standpoint on every event,” Morreale said. “This week we’re stressing finishes, landings. How you land is the last thing the judge sees.”

The Huskies head into action looking to improve at all events, no matter by how little.

“That’s Sam’s motto for us this year is to get a tenth better every day,” said NIU senior Tanya Rachan. “It’s great to keep building each meet and aim to beat ourselves as well as our previous score.”

New Hampshire is coming off a win over Pittsburgh and are 2-1 overall this season.

NIU is coming off a loss to Western Michigan in which it set season-highs in total score and all four events.

New Hampshire will prove an interesting match-up, as not only are they a solid opponent, but also an unusual opponent.

From a player point of view, it doesn’t make a difference who the opponent is, but it adds a little bit of excitement.

“It’s always fun going against different schools,” Rachan said. “We don’t see them all the time; it’s not a team we’ve gone against in the four years I’ve been here.”

NIU will feature the same line-up that started the last meet which garnered it high scores, which may help in continuity and improvement.

“Barring an injury or things like that, we’re having the same line-up,” Morreale said. “Where we’re probably going to juggle things around is in those exhibitions spots; kids who are on the cusp with their routines.”

Morreale said he wants to see the Huskies come out with the same mind set and effort they had in their previous meet.

“New Hampshire is, I think, ranked 31st in the nation; it’s definitely not a down week for us,” Morreale said. “I want to see the same energy and performance level I saw against Western Michigan.”