Gymnasts set for home routine

By Laura Higgins

It’s home-opener time, and the NIU women’s gymnastics team is ready to put on a show.

The Huskies will make their debut tomorrow at Chick Evans Field House when they host the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Valparaiso University and Winona State University. The meet is slated for 1 p.m.

Last weekend NIU competed in the University of Missouri’s Shakespeare Classic and finished in a respectable second place with a 183.80 mark. But, Huskie coach Bobbie Cesarek will admit that her team does not plan to stop there.

“Last week’s meet gave the girls a great opportunity to see where they are strong and where they need more work,” Cesarek said. “They’ve worked really hard and done extremely well. Now we are hoping to get our score somewhere between a 185 and 186.”

Since win-loss record is not taken into account when postseason tournament bids are given out, the team focuses its efforts on hitting the routines that will merit high scores.

“I definitely think we can go up two points,” junior tumbler Cindy Hemstad said. “We’re going for a 186.”

Although the Huskies lowest scoring event last weekend was the uneven bars, where they tallied for a 44.45, their efforts on the vault were impressive. The squad recorded a meet-best 46.05.

Senior Lori Lebo placed second on the vault with a 9.45, while teammate Dayna Lia tied for third with a 9.35. Huskie all-arounder Vicki Thimgan finished the day with a 36.85 composite.

“We’ve made some changes from last weekend,” Cesarek said, “but a lot of times these changes aren’t seen from one week to the next.

“The changes are put into place but whether or not they occur this weekend we’ll have to wait and see. It’s more likely that we’ll see them in two weeks.”

The Huskies have previously beaten all three teams in tomorrow’s meet and set several records in last year’s contest with Winona State.

Thimgan set a record on the balance beam with a 9.75, on floor exercise (9.75) and in the all-around with a 38.50. Lebo tied her own vault mark, hitting for a 9.70.

“It’s too early to be thinking of setting any new records,” Cesarek said. “The records we set last year were phenomenal and it really is going to be difficult to duplicate that this year.

“The team’s goals right now are focused more around what we’re capable of doing and doing it to the best of our capability.”