NIU gains victory, but loses Kurowski


Give a huskie some familiar surroundings and it will escape undaunted.

Give the Huskies a challenge and they will respond in ascending fashion.

As the NIU women’s gymnastics team took off on its once-a-year plane trip to faraway land, realizations could have occurred as to what the journey would entail.

But harsh truth is sometimes harder to accept than success, since defining success falls into the eyes of the beholder.

Yes, the ladies took first place in the quadrangular in Durham, N.H. on Saturday. Yes, Sandy Escobar was back testing the mats. Yes, Goha Mroz once again flourished.

But that flight can take its course.

Huskie junior Sheryl Kurowski suffers from motion sickness.

Whether that had anything to do with what happened to her on solid ground after the metal bird landed can’t be determined.

But it has been decided that she’s out for the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon that she incurred in the pre-meet practice. Surgery will be done this week but it won’t repair what the Huskies have lost.

All of a sudden, the success experienced, the lessons learned, take a back seat to reality.

NIU (7-5) did score a 188.80 to top New Hampshire’s 188.05, Michigan State’s 186.45 and Temple’s 181.80 in the Lundholm Gymnasium.

Unlike previous victories, when the Huskies would claim the top three or four spots in each event, this meet reserved slots for only one first place, two seconds and one third.

The balance beam was a force as Nickie Pedicini (9.70), Vicki Thimgan (9.65) and Heather Okland (9.60) win, placed and showed, respectively.

But the floor exercise was where NIU excelled. The Huskies’ 47.55 was the squad’s best of the day as they were led by Mroz‘ and Tiffany Bollinger’s 9.60.

“It was a total team effort,” said Huskie head coach Bobbie Cesarek. “There’s no way this could have happened without everyone stepping in like they did tonight.”

The three wins boost the ladies over the five-hundred mark for the first time of the season and provides momentum into the dual meet at the University of Massachusetts tonight.

The meet in Amherst will wind up the road trip before returning home for next Sunday’s hosting of the University of Missouri.

But, before the Huskies can look forward to home cookin’, they have to get by the 4-2 New England nemesis.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” U of M head coach Alfie Mitchell said. “We have to be more than competitive and we have to rise in certain areas.”

Three-time All-American Tammy Marshall highlights his talented bunch of ladies. She has risen to a lofty 9.90 twice on vault this season after taking the 1992 NCAA national title on the event.

Junior Margaret Furtado averages 9.70 on bars to add to her portfolio that contains a school record 9.80 on beam. She was also a participant at the 1991 World University Games.

Shaheda Keels, a freshman, is very strong on floor and bars and looks to add to the mix of constant threat from the U of M women.

Massachusetts was ranked 26th in the country at the conclusion of last year’s campaign after finishing third in the Northeast Regional behind Penn State and Ohio State.

Opening flip of tonight’s clash is scheduled for 7 p.m. (EST).