March 6, 2006
DeKalb, IL -- When it comes to the Northern Illinois University women's gymnastics squad's season-best chart, there were a number of revisions made after Sunday's (March 5) Senior Day home finale.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, it still wasn't enough as Michigan State University cruised to a 196.250 - 194.800 victory. The high-powered Spartans improved to 11-5 for duals while the Huskies dipped to 2-6.
"I'm never happy about losing, but once again, considering the quality of the competition and the number of people we're missing, I couldn't be more pleased or excited about how our gymnasts continue to excel and fight to get better," NIU coach Mark Sontag explained. "To have so many new high scores as a team and for individuals is indicative of how hard these young ladies are working. I'm still convinced this is all going to pay big dividends for us down the road."
One of the most dramatic improvements came on the uneven parallel bars where the Huskies took their previous season high of 48.375 up to 49.200 led by an impressive 9.900 from Ashlee Williams (Liberty, MO / Senior), one of two seniors being honored along with teammate Kristin Harrington (West Dundee / Dundee-Crown). In addition to Williams' first-place worthy 9.900, teammate Jody Yednock (West Chicago) was second with a 9.875 while Meghan Cronin (St. Charles / East) tied for third with her 9.850. Better yet, teammate Allison Holysz (Hoffman Estates / Palatine Fremd) was tied for fifth with a 9.800. NIU's 49.200 topped a stellar 48.900 team composite by the Spartans.
On the balance beam, Michigan State had its single highest team tally of 49.475, but the Huskies were in that same neighborhood going over the 49 plateau with a 49.175 that once again featured a trio of new individual highs for NIU. Although MSU's Chayla Hill and Sarah Alexander shared top honors with a 9.925, Northern Illinois' Jennifer Naughton (Smithville, MO) was tied for third with a 9.875. Yednock and Jennifer Rice (Homewood / Homewood-Flossmoor) were part of a tie for sixth with a 9.850. Right behind was Amber Whitecotton (Crystal Lake / South), who had a 9.825 in addition to a 9.725 on floor.
"Amber really hit her events as did Jennifer (Naughton). Both were examples of where we upgraded our routines and it paid off," Sontag noted. "I'm especially pleased because whenever you debut some new skills, you're never certain if or how they'll pay off. Even though we had some much more difficult elements, we handled them well and I'm certain we'll only perfect them even more."
Michigan State's Alexander took top honors for the floor with a 9.875, but NIU's Rice was tied for second with her 9.850 while Naughton shared fourth with a 9.825. Bethany Plapp (Sycamore / DeKalb) was sixth on floor with a solid 9.800. On vault, MSU's Victoria Iakounina topped the Spartans' trio of top scores with her 9.800 while the Huskies' Amy Ristvedt (Alexandria, MN / Jefferson) tied for fourth with a 9.750.
Northern Illinois returns to Mid-American Conference competition with hopes of improving a 2-3 league ledger on Sunday (March 12) when NIU visits Kent State University for a high noon (CST) showdown.
WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS -- Michigan State University at Northern Illinois University / at DeKalb, IL / NIU's Victor E. Court / Sunday / March 5, 2006
MICHIGAN STATE 196.250, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 194.800
(at DeKalb, IL / NIU's Victor E. Court)
Vault: 1---Victoria Iakounina (MSU), 9.800; 2--(Tie)--Briana Dicus (MSU), Chayla Hill (MSU), 9.775; 4--(Tie)--Amy Ristvedt (NIU) / Bethany Little (MSU), 9.750; 6---Kristen Coleman (MSU), 9.700. Other NIU Scores: Amber Whitecotton 9.625; Bethany Plapp 9.525; Tiffany Anderson 9.475; Jennifer Naughton 9.450; Amanda Johnson 9.400. Team Score: MSU 48.800; NIU 47.825.
Uneven Parallel Bars: 1---Ashlee Williams (NIU) 9.900; 2--Jody Yednock (NIU), 9.875; 3--(Tie)--Meghan Cronin (NIU) / Kristen Coleman (MSU), 9.850; 5--(Tie)--Allison Holysz (NIU) / Bethany Little (MSU) 9.800. Other NIU Scores: Tiffany Anderson 9.775; Bethany Plapp 9.275. Team scores: NIU 49.200, MSU 48.900.
Balance Beam: 1--(Tie)--Chayla Hill (MSU) / Sarah Alexander (MSU), 9.925; 3--Kristen Coleman (MSU) 9.900; 4--(Tie)--Jennifer Naughton (NIU) / Briana Dicus (MSU) 9.875; 6--(Tie)--Jody Yednock (NIU) / Jennifer Rice (NIU) / Victoria Iakounina (MSU) 9.850. Other NIU Scores: Amber Whitecotton 9.825; Amy Ristvedt 9.775; Meghan Cronin 9.275. Team scores: MSU 49.475, NIU 49.175.
Floor Exercise: 1---Sarah Alexander (MSU), 9.875; 2--(TIe)--Jennifer Rice (NIU) / Kristen Coleman (MSU) 9.850; 4--(Tie)--Jennifer Naughton (NIU) / Chayla Hill (MSU) 9.825; 6--Bethany Plapp (NIU), 9.800. NIU Scores: Amber Whitecotton 9.725; Jessica Marston 9.400; Amanda Johnson 8.750. Team scores: MSU: 49.075, NIU 48.600.
All-Around: 1---Kristen Coleman (MSU), 39.300; 2--Victoria Iakounina (MSU) 39.175.
Records to Date: NIU now 2-6 / MSU now 11-5.
Next Huskie Meet: Sunday / March 12 -- Northern Illinois University at Kent State University, 12 p.m.
(For further information, please contact Steve Nemeth) --NIU--