2008-09 RECAP CONTINUES - GYMNASTICS
The 2009 season proved to be another successful year for the Huskie gymnastics program, highlighted by a third-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships, and the advancement of two gymnasts to the NCAA South Central. In its 10th season under the direction of head coach Mark Sontag, Northern Illinois finished with an overall record of 11-7 and posted a 4-2 mark in the MAC.
NIU started the year impressively at home, earning back-to-back victories and recording the second-best team vault score in school history (48.565) in a dual-meet versus Eastern Michigan.
By the end of the season, Northern Illinois appeared to be peaking; at the Illinois State Championships, the 2009 Huskies earned three additional places in the NIU record books by recording the fifth-best team score (48.925) on the uneven parallel bars, the fourth-best team score (49.100) on balance beam, and the fourth-best team all-around score (194.925) in school history. NIU finished the day with 15 individual top 10 finishes, and saw senior Jennifer Naughton (9.925) take the beam title en route to a second-place team finish.
The Huskies concluded the season by tying for their best-ever finish at the MAC Championships. NIU gymnasts earned nine top-five finishes at the MAC meet, while Naughton and sophomore Holly Reichard shared the league crown on the balance beam.
Individually, Reichard and Naughton represented NIU at the NCAA Regionals where they each made a strong showing. Reichard took fifth-place on the balance beam and was eighth in the all-around, while Naughton finished 11th on the beam. Reichard was named MAC Gymnast of the Year to become just the second winner from NIU, while Naughton became the first Huskie to earn the MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year honor. Reichard, Naughton and Natalie Blum all earned weekly MAC honors. Naughton was named the Huskies' senior female athlete of the year as she garnered league academic awards.
The Huskies will go into the 2010 minus five seniors, but return two-time NCAA qualifier Reichard and a strong corps of young gymnasts.
GRANT ADDS FOUR MORE
Wrestling coach Dave Grant added four more recruits to his 2009-10 stable today. The group now includes junior national champion Zach Neibert, Illinois champion Curtis Blaydes, and Iowa champion Matt Mougin. All together, Grant has brought in seven recruits for the upcoming season. The new cast members will compliment an seemingly paradoxical group of young wrestlers with tons of Division I experience. Grant started all freshmen and sophomores in his line-up last year, and these guys are on the way up. Personally, I'm extremelely excited to see how this team develops over the next year or two.
OUELLETTE & GOODING HIT ACADEMIC RBI
Congrats to Bailey Ouellette and Emily Gooding for their selection to the Academic All-MAC Softball Team. Oullette carries a 3.56 GPA in pyschology, and Gooding holds a 3.71 in kinesiology-preventive and rehabilitation exercise science (I can't even say that, yet study it). Check the full story here.