NIU tries to put it all together at home

By Andrew Hanson

For the NIU gymnastics team to beat Western Michigan Sunday, the Huskies will have to do something they haven’t done yet.

“We need to hit all four events,” said head coach Mark Sontag. “We haven’t done that in a home meet.”

The Huskies (2-3 overall, 2-1 MAC) will host MAC opponent WMU (3-5 overall, 2-1 MAC) at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Convocation Center in the second to last home meet of the year.

For the Huskies to score high on all four events, they will need to do well on the uneven parallel bars, which has been the event the Huskies struggle with most.

In the Feb. 4 meet against Ball State, the Huskies had a come-from-behind victory after faltering on their first event — the uneven parallel bars.

It’s outcomes like these that make Sontag say he isn’t worried about the event. The pieces of the puzzle just haven’t come together yet.

“We have some good bar workers,” Sontag said. “We’re capable of getting the job done, we just need to.”

Western Michigan is coming off a fourth place finish in the Michigan Classic tournament — a tournament for teams from Michigan. WMU placed behind Central Michigan with a score of 192.425 to 192.300.

To put the meet into perspective, the Huskies lost to Central Michigan 192.250 to 190.450 on Jan. 29.

The meet will feature two perennial MAC Gymnast of the Week award winners in NIU freshman Leah Johnson and WMU senior Cherisse Marier.

Johnson won the week of Jan. 16 and Marier has won twice — once in the week of Jan. 9 and again in the week of Jan. 23.