Huskies Gymnastics Improve to 3-0 After Defeat of Ball State Cardinals

GO HUSKIES Natalie Blum competes on the uneven parallel bars during a meet earlier this season.
Natalie Blum competes on the uneven parallel bars during a meet earlier this season.

Meet Final StatsGet Acrobat Reader

Feb. 8, 2009

Muncie, Ind.- The Northern Illinois gymnastics team (3-0, 3-0) extended their winning streak to three this afternoon with a 192.925-191.300 victory over Mid-American Conference foe Ball State Cardinals (1-4, 0-4) at Worthen Arena.

The Huskies were led by an array of strong performances in their first win on the road. Sophomore Holly Reichard (Palatine, Ill./ Fremd HS) secured titles on both the vault and floor exercise, and junior Natalie Blum (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township HS) tied for first on the bars. Additionally, senior Jennifer Naughton (Smithville, Mo./Smithville) finished the day with three second-place finishes on the vault, beam, and floor exercise to help in the effort.

"It was really a good production all the way through and was an all around group effort," said head coach Mark Sontag. "Holly had a strong day today, and Natalie Blum did a fantastic job and got up and executed nicely some events for us again," Sontag said. "Jenny came up with a big score in the second half of the meet to really help us out," commented Sontag.

To start the meet, the Huskies tallied a 48.150 on the bars, led by junior Natalie Blum (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township HS) who tied for first in the event with a 9.775. Freshman Ashley Guerra (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg HS) also added a 9.725 to secure a third-place finish.

Trailing by .225 going into the second rotation, the Huskies answered with a 48.400 on the vault to take the first NIU lead of the day, led by Holly Reichard and Jennifer Naughton, who placed first and second, respectively, with scores of 9.775 and 9.750. The Huskies never looked back as they took the lead 96.550 to 96.450 at the conclusion of the first half of the meet.

"It was our first road trip and, as expected on the road, we were a little bit out of our element," commented Sontag. "The judging was really tight and we had a tough day. We continued to execute our routines, and by the third rotation we really started to settle down and produced some really beautiful routines," Sontag said.

The floor proved the strongest event of the day as the Huskies scored an impressive 48.575 behind solid performances by Holly Reichard and Jennifer Naughton. The pair took first and second place, respectively, as Reichard tallied a 9.825 and Naughton a 9.775.

Entering the last event, the Huskies led 145.125 to 143.050 and totaled a 47.800 on the balance beam to hold on to the lead and secure the victory. NIU was led by freshman Shonda Clore (Grand Rapids, Mich./ Northview HS) in her first title of the season with a score of 9.750, followed by Jennifer Naughton and Jessica Watanabe (Palatine, Ill./Palatine HS) who both recorded a 9.725 in the event to tie for second.

"I think this it was good for us to have a difficult meet at this time," Sontag said. "It was eye-opening for us to have to work that hard for a win. It lets us know that we are not there yet and that we have to keep working and improving if we want to be the top program in the MAC."

The Huskies will continue with their first non-conference competition of the season when they face the University of Illinois-Chicago on Friday, February 13th at 7 p.m. at UIC.




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