April 4, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - In her second trip to the NCAA Gymnastics South Central Regional, Northern Illinois all-arounder Holly Reichard wanted to hit all four of her routines and show the skills which made her the 2009 MAC Gymnast of the Year.
The sophomore from Palatine managed to do that and more as she totaled a score of 39.075 to place eighth in the elite all-around competition, while her balance beam routine earned a 9.825 score and was good for a fifth place tie on that event. The eighth place showing was the highest regional finish in the all-around by an NIU gymnast since Sandy Menard advanced to the NCAA Championships in 1998.
Reichard, who rotated with regional favorite Stanford, scored a 9.775 on both floor exercise and vault and added a 9.700 on the uneven parallel bars to her 9.825 on balance beam. In addition to her eighth place in the all-around and fifth place on beam, she finished in the top 25 on floor exercise and was a top 20 performer on vault.
"Holly went up and didn't miss a beat [from the regular season]," Sontag said. "She competed very, very well. She was darn close to moving on to the next level and the really good news is, she's only a sophomore, we've got two more years of doing this."
For Naughton, her first time competing in the NCAA Regional also marked the end of her Huskie career as the senior scored a 9.775 on the balance beam to finish in a tie for 11th place. Voted the 2009 MAC Senior Gymnast of the Year, Naughton shared the MAC title on balance beam with Reichard.
"What a great way for Jen to finish her career," Sontag said. "To make it to NCAAs and then go up and hit your routine, what an experience for her. It's a nice punctuation mark on a great career. She's been a great Huskie."
"It was a very good night for Holly and Jen," said NIU Head Coach Mark Sontag. "They certainly acquitted themselves well, wore the Huskie colors with pride down here and put on some great performances; I'm really proud of them. It was a good ending to the season. I'm happy to see them close it out like this."
Northern Illinois has sent 16 gymnasts to NCAA Regionals in the last 10 years and the appearances by Reichard and Naughton in the same season marked the fifth time in the last six seasons that the Huskies have sent multiple gymnasts to NCAAs.
-- NIU --
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