Escobar rolls on, despite setbacks

By Laura Higgins

Huskie gymnast Sandy Escobar has had her share of setbacks, but nothing it seems, can deprive her of contributing all she can.

In November of last year, only weeks after recovering from appendicitis surgery, Escobar fractured her left ankle and underwent major surgery that kept her sidelined for the entire season. But with a stringent rehabilitation program and constant interaction with the other NIU gymnasts, she has managed to get herself back on track.

“My ankle feels a lot better, and I feel I can do almost anything on it,” Escobar said. “So many times I wanted to say forget it, but I knew I missed it too much. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it again.

“So I practiced as much as I could using my arms, I biked every day, and I conditioned every day. I tried to do whatever I could just to be in there with the girls.”

And quite obviously, Escobar’s hard work and determination has paid off. In last Thursday’s meet against Valparaiso, she took first place honors on the floor exercises with a 9.50. But for Escobar, the 9.4’s and 9.5’s she’s been scoring have come as quite a surprise.

“I never really thought I was much of a floor person,” she said, “but improving on the floor and just being back have added to my confidence level. I feel things are really coming back, but I still haven’t had the chance to do everything I can.”

And as if last year’s injury was not enough, Escobar was forced to miss a meet this season after spraining her wrist.

“She was going great guns and then hurt her wrist that one day,” coach Bobbie Cesarek said. “I know she’s not where she could be at this point, but she’s well on her way. Sandy has an extreme amount of talent and she’s working to maximize that talent for herself and the team.”

Escobar now competes on floor, balance beam and uneven bars while her vaulting days will have to wait until her wrist strengthens. She hopes to compete all-around again but sees other options as well.

“If it comes down to only competing in two events that’s fine,” she said. “I just want to do what I can do best and contribute as much as I can to the team.”