Jessica Watanabe
Jessica Watanabe

Class:
Senior

Hometown:
Palatine, IL

High School:
Palatine

Height:
5-4

Gym:
American Academy of Gymnastics


NIU Career Bests:Vault - 9.575 (at UIC, 2-27-08); Uneven Bars - 9.675 (at Bowling Green, 3-14-08); Beam - 9.825 (vs. Kent State, 2-22-09).

2010: In the Northern Illinois line-up in all 11 meets on uneven parallel bars and balance beam as a junior. Her 9.584 average score on balance beam ranked second on the team. Won the beam event in the 2010 season opener versus Wisconsin-LaCrosse (1-10) and in quad meet at Eastern Michigan (3-13) with scores of 9.775 and 9.750, respectively. Tied her season-high 9.775 score on beam at the Illinois Classic (3-20) to take fifth in the state on the event. Took fourth on beam at Ball State (1-31) with a 9.700. Scored 9.600 or higher on beam seven times and recorded eight top eight finishes on the event. Earned a 9.725 on balance beam versus Central Michigan (2-28). Twice scored her season high of 9.650 on uneven parallel bars, including at UIC (3-6) where she finished fourth, and versus Ball State. Posted a score of 9.500 or higher in seven meets. Had a 9.600 on bars at the State Championships and scored a 9.500 at the MAC Championships. Averaged a 9.455 on the event for the year. Was in the Huskie line-up on vault versus Bowling Green and scored a 9.400.

2009: Competed in eights meets for the Huskies on balance beam. Placed in the top 10 five times. Finished second against Ball State and Western Michigan with scores of 9.725 and 9.800, respectively. Earned a season and career high 9.825 at the State Championships to place fifth. Took fifth versus Kent State by scoring 9.700. Averaged a 9.428 on balance beam for the year. Also scored a pair of 9.550s in exhibition action on bars at UIC and versus Kent State.

2008: Competed in all nine regular-season meets for the Huskies as a freshman. Cracked the line-up on the uneven bars and balance beam and filled in on vault three times. Placed third on beam with a 9.725 at Kent State (1/20). Garnered top 10 finishes on bars and beam versus Western Michigan (1/27), taking sixth on bars with a 9.625. Finished second on beam and third on bars with marks of 9.700 and 9.600, respectively, versus Ball State (2/3). Recorded a career-best score of 9.575 on vault at UIC (2/27). Added a 9.650 on bars and a 9.725 on beam at that meet. Recorded a career-high score of 9.800 on the balance beam versus CMU and UIC (3/2), helping the Huskies earn the fifth-highest team beam total in school history. Took third on beam at Eastern Michigan Quadrangular (3/8) with a 9.750. Placed fourth on bars at Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan with a career-best score of 9.675. Overall, totaled 12 top 10 and six top five finishes. For the season, averaged 9.508, 9.569, and 9.647 on the vault, bars, and beam, respectively.

Prep: Trained at both the American Academy of Gymnastics in Wheeling, Ill, and Buffalo Grove Gymnastics Center in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Placed fifth in the all-around and third on the balance beam at the state meet her senior year, helping lead her team to a second-place finish. As a junior, named Most Valuable Gymnast by her team, and placed sixth in the all-around at state. As a freshman, contributed to a fifth-place team finish at state meet. A torn ACL sidelined her during her sophomore season. Earned three varsity letters during high school, with career best scores of 9.80 on vault, 9.725 on balance beam, 9.85 on bars, 9.6 for the floor exercise, and 38.05 in the all-around.

Personal: Daughter of Mike and Kathy Watanabe of Palatine, Ill. Born Jan. 27, 1989 in Evanston, Ill. A finance major. Huskie Scholar with a cumulative GPA of 3.0.