Feb. 25, 2006
Columbia, MO -- With the nation's No. 9-rated women's gymnastics squad hosting one of its feature home meets loaded with individual talent, Northern Illinois University's squad held its own and placed a solid third while host University of Missouri won its fourth straight Callaway Bank Cat Classic title.
Missouri's Tigers dominated the meet from event to event as the host school had the top team score on each apparatus in compiling a season-high 196.025 -- almost four points ahead of the University of Pittsburgh. UP's Panthers scored a solid 192.050 with Northern Illinois close at 191.225 followed by fellow Mid-American Conference member Ball State University at 187.900. Leading MU to the crown was Adrianne Perry, who put together a 39.300 for the all-around, including a 9.625 which tied her for first on floor exercise with teammate Lauren Schwartzman.
Schwartzman was the individual winner on balance beam with a 9.950. Mizzou teammates Sarah Zigler and Jodie Heinicka shared first for the uneven parallel bars at 9.875. The only non-Missouri individual event winner was Ball State's Jenna Tarkington, whose 9.875 put her ahead of three Tigers.
For Northern Illinois, the single highest placefinishes were a pair of fifth-place ties. Jennifer Naughton (Smithville, MO) was the only non-Missouri competitor in the top six for the balance beam thanks to her 9.725. Teammate Ashlee Williams (Liberty, MO / Senior) tied for fifth with a 9.775 on the uneven parallel bars as she, too, was the only non-Tiger within the top six for that event.
Jody Yednock (West Chicago) was the next Huskie for both events as she posted a 9.675 on the bars and a 9.650 on balance beam. As a team, the uneven bars were Northern Illinois' best event with a 48.175 that was second to Missouri's 49.175.
"Considering the quality of the competition, we did okay. We had a few misses overall from event to event and in a meet with four quality programs, those misses are what separate the teams," NIU coach Mark Sontag insisted. "We did well as a team on bars and it was especially good to have Jody and Ashlee both back in the line-up. On beam Jennifer really rocked her set."
On floor exercise, Jennifer Rice
(Homewood / Homewood-Flossmoor) led the Huskies with a 9.625 which was good for a share of 10th individually while Bethany Plapp
(Sycamore / DeKalb) was 12th at 9.600.
"Jennifer had a great set and Jessica (Martson -- Bloomingdale / Glenbard East) debuted a new routine that I'm certain will earn more points in the future," Sontag said. "We're still having our troubles getting our best scoring on vault. We just need to continue to develop those routines."
NIU's top finish on vault was a tie for seventh from Amy Ristvedt (Alexandria, MN / Jefferson), who scored a 9.750 with Amber Whitecotton (Crystal Lake, IL / South) next at 9.550.
"Once again, we're hitting pretty well but against the best teams we simply have to be cleaner and find ways to make up for the ones still missing from our line-up," Sontag added. "This was a great experience for us as will be Sunday's (University of) Nebraska meet. We're facing some of the top teams and individuals in a big arena with a really knowledgeable and appreciative crowd. It's the type of setting that helps serve as a rehearsal for the MAC Championships."
NIU takes part in Sunday's 2 p.m. Nebraska Masters Classic which features the host Cornhuskers, San Jose State University, plus defending MAC champion Central Michigan University.
(For further information, please contact Steve Nemeth) --NIU--