NIU tops Cyclones

By Laura Higgins

A sign posted in the women’s locker room called for a total team score of 187. The Huskie gymnasts took heed, missing the mark by less than half of a point.

NIU hosted its second meet of the season yesterday and came away with a 186.85-181.7 triumph over Iowa State University. The victory advanced the Huskies to a 6-1 overall record.

“We were 0.15 points away from our mark,” head coach Bobbie Cesarek said, “so I really can’t complain. We made vast improvements on the floor exercises, and I was very pleased with our vaulting.”

The Huskies took first place in all four events and tallied for a 47.85 on the floor exercises. Senior Lori Lebo scored a 9.65 on floor and a 9.6 on vault to earn herself first place honors in both. Teammate Dayna Lia finished second on vault (9.35) after throwing a tsukahara—a roundout back tuck with a twist—with a free twist. Lia is the first women’s gymnast to perform this move.

Nickie Pedicini, who will be sidelined for two weeks because of knee surgery, finished in the top spot on the uneven parallel bars with a 9.65 while Vicki Thimgan took first on the balance beam with a 9.5.

“Everybody contributed in this meet,” Cesarek said. “We lost a point and a half on beam with falls, and that really hurts, but knowing that we have the opportunity to see additional increases in scores just thrills me. We’re really doing well right now.”

The only spot the Huskies didn’t take first in was the all-around competition. Iowa State’s K.J. Kindler tallied for a 37.65 composite and the blue ribbon, but was nearly edged by Thimgan’s 37.50. Tiffany Bollinger finished the four events with a 36.70 for NIU.