Gymnasts finish third out of four

By Laura Higgins

One too many tumbles did it in for the NIU gymnastics team Friday night.

The Huskies spent their Valentine’s Day in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the team fell short to blue-ribbon winner University of Michigan and to second-place finisher Louisiana State University.

Northern began the evening on a sour note when they fell off the balance beam five times in the opening event and only earned a 45.10 team tally. But, Huskie tumbler Vicki Thimgan turned in a 9.70 on the beam which was high enough for first place honors.

“I’m a little disappointed,” head coach Bobbie Cesarek said. “We really could have had second place tonight if we had not made so many mistakes.

“We’ve got the talent, but we’re not showing it. If we want to compete in the postseason we’ve got to be turning out a maximum effort.”

NIU finished the evening with a 185.20 team total, which is nearly two points less than they would like to be scoring at this point. Michigan tallied a 189.25 while LSU finished with a 186.25 tally. All three teams are competing for standings in the Central Region in hopes of earning a postseason bid.

Vaulting was the best event for the Huskies with a 47.10 mark. Senior Lori Lebo and sophomore teammate Dayna Lia tied for first place on vault with scores of 9.70. The team also turned in a 45.95 on the uneven bars and a 47.05 on the floor exercises.

“After beam, we came back two points higher on floor exercise, so we tried to come back,” Cesarek said. “But a couple of falls hurt us. We just can’t be throwing away points when you’re talking about tenths of points.”

“You need all you can get. We’re just going to keep working hard in practice and hope we can improve our scores.”

Thimgan finished second in the all-around competition with a 37.80 mark while Michigan’s Ali Winski took the top spot with a 38.15 composite. Thimgan also tied for second on floor after registering a 9.55.

“As usual,” Cesarek said. “Vicki is a great competitor. And that definitely showed.”

The Huskies head back to Michigan again Saturday when they take on Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. The meet is slated for noon.