March 4, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois women's gymnastics team put together solid performances on all four events to earn their first Mid-American Conference dual meet victory of the season Sunday, defeating Eastern Michigan 194.375 to 193.250.
The 194.375 total marked the Huskies' top team total of the season, and Northern Illinois also recorded team season-highs on the uneven parallel bars (48.825) and floor exercise (48.850).
"We finally put all four events together in the same meet," said NIU Head Coach Mark Sontag. "It was what we have needed to do. It's nice to see us step up and have our best score coming off of a rough road trip. We needed to be reminded of what we're capable of when we come together and this really gives us a boost going into the last month of the season."
NIU gymnasts swept the event titles as sophomore Leah Johnson tied for first place on the vault and floor exercise, senior Jody Yednock won the uneven parallel bars and Jennifer Naughton claimed the win on the balance beam. Johnson scored a 9.775 on the vault and a career and season-high 9.825 on the floor exercise. Yednock tied her season high with a 9.850 on the bars, narrowly edging teammate Tiffany Anderson, who claimed second place on the event with her career best score of 9.825.
Naughton scored a 9.800 on the balance beam and in addition to her win on that apparatus, took fourth on the vault with a 9.725 and tied teammate Amber Whitecotton for third place on the floor exercise. The Huskies also saw senior Meghan Cronin and Jennifer Rice tie for fourth on the beam with scores of 9.725.
Sontag noted the overall excellence of his team, led by the floor group, but also singled out the stellar performances of Yednock, Naughton and Johnson.
"Our floor has come a long way since the start of the season," Sontag said. "It's really starting to blossom for us. Individually, Jody Yednock had one of the best bar routines I've ever seen her do. Jennifer Naughton had a great set on floor after a really solid performance on beam. She really had a good day on all three of her events. Leah Johnson's vault was the strongest I've ever seen her do. She rocked that vault."
Northern Illinois returns to the road for its final two dual meets of the season, at Western Michigan on March 11 and at Central Michigan March 17, before returning to the NIU Convocation Center to play host to the State Championships on March 25. That meet begins at 2 p.m.
-- NIU --