Huskie gymnasts post second-best score in school history but still fall at Kent State


February 1 , 2004

WOMEN'S COLLEGIATE GYMNASTICS --- Northern Illinois University vs. Kent State University / at Kent, OH / KSU's M.A.C. Center / Mid-American Conference Dual Meet / Sunday / Feb. 1, 2004


VAULT: 1---(TIE)---Kristina Campos (NIU), Earline Feugill (KSU), 9.825; 3---Jessie James (KSU), 9.800; 4---Amy Ristvedt (NIU), 9.750; 5---(TIE)---Meghan Cronin (NIU), Erika Linnersten (KSU), April Zentko (KSU), 9.725. Other NIU scores: Tiffany Nolen, 9.700; Heather Marti, 9.675; Dannielle Dacey, 9.650. Team scores: KSU 48.775, NIU 48.675.

UNEVEN PARALLEL BARS: 1---Morgan Wiland (KSU), 9.950; 2---Erika Linnersten (KSU), 9.900; 3---(TIE)---Kristina Campos (NIU), Katie Willett (NIU), Jessie James (KSU), Melissa Ruby (KSU), 9.850. Other NIU scores: Meghan Cronin, 9.825; Dannielle Dacey, 9.775; Lisanna Goldschen, 9.775; Ashlee Williams, 9.250. Team scores: KSU 49.350, NIU 49.075.

BALANCE BEAM: 1---(TIE)---Erika Linnersten (KSU), Earline Feugill (KSU), 9.975; 3---April Zentko (KSU), 9.950; 4---(TIE)---Kristina Campos (NIU), Carrie Mayle (KSU), 9.850. Other NIU scores: Ashlee Williams, 9.725; Dannielle Dacey, 9.700; Tiffany Nolen, 9.700; Mariah Howard, 9.600; Meghan Cronin, 9.300. Team scores: KSU 49.125, NIU 48.575.

FLOOR EXERCISE: 1---Jessie James (KSU), 9.925; 2---(TIE)---Kristina Campos (NIU), Melissa Ruby (KSU), April Zentko (KSU), 9.875; 5---Carrie Mayle (KSU), 9.850. Other NIU scores: Ashlee Williams, 9.750; Amy Ristvedt, 9.750; Dannielle Dacey, 9.725; Meghan Cronin, 9.675; Kristin Harrington, 9.275. Team scores: KSU 49.350, NIU 48.775.

ALL-AROUND: 1---Kristina Campos (NIU), 39.400; 2---April Zentko (KSU), 39.350; 3---Carrie Mayle (KSU), 39.200; 4---Dannielle Dacey (NIU), 38.850; 5---Jessie James (KSU), 38.625; 6---Meghan Cronin (NIU), 38.525.

RECORD TO DATE: Northern Illinois now 1-3-0 overall, 1-2-0 in the MAC
NEXT HUSKIE MEET: Saturday / Feb. 7 --- NIU at Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 7 p.m.


KENT, OH---Most coaches wouldn't be as happy as Northern Illinois University gymnastics mentor Mark Sontag after a loss. But the Huskie director found plenty of cause for celebrating his team's effort in posting a season-high 195.100 total Sunday (Feb. 1).

Unfortunately for Sontag and his gymnasts, Kent State went a few steps better with a 196.600 tally to claim the Mid-American Conference victory. KSU---the favorite to win the league title according to the preseason coaches poll---is now 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the MAC while Northern Illinois drops to 1-3 on the season and 1-2 in the conference.

"This was a great meet for us," Sontag summarized. "Kent State is one of the best teams in the MAC and after two events we were right with them, and thought we could take them. And we know we'll be stronger when we get some people back from injury before the conference meet (March 19 at Central Michigan)."

One Huskie who is competing through injury---junior all-arounder Kristina Campos (Oak Park, MO / Gladstone)---won the all-around title with a 39.400 composite, the ninth 39-plus tally of her career. Campos battled through a sprained ankle to share the vaulting crown with KSU's Earline Feugill after a 9.825, and her 9.875 effort on the floor exercise earned a share of second place. Campos was also third on the uneven bars---posting a 9.850 which matched teammate Katie Willett (Hastings, NE / Adams Central)---and placed fourth on the balance beam with a similar 9.850 performance.

A string of minor injuries prompted Sontag to use freshman Meghan Cronin (St. Charles / East) in all four events, and the St. Charles native responded by compiling a 38.525 total highlighted by a 9.825 on bars plus a 9.725 on vault.

"Meghan is really starting to kick in on all four events," Sontag said. "It really looks good for the future to see her putting up scores like that."

Northern Illinois posted a season-high 49.075 team tally on the bars, with Dannielle Dacey (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) and Lisanna Goldschen (St. Joseph, MO / Apollo) adding 9.775 marks. Dacey set a career-best in the all-around, scoring 9.650 or better on each event en route to a 38.850 total.

NIU's total---which also featured a season-best 48.675 vault score---was just over one half point off the school record of 195.650, set during the State of Illinois Classic on March 23, 2003.

"It's good to get over the (195) plateau on the road like this," Sontag said. "Scores like this on the road will definitely help us in terms of regional qualifying. Now we have to score well at home to keep that going."

"When we get a couple more people healthy, we're going to be even stronger," Sontag added while noting the season debut of senior Tiffany Nolen (Woodstock, GA / Sequoyah). Nolen scored a pair of 9.700s on vault and beam.

Northern Illinois steps outside the MAC for a week, visiting instate rival Illinois State University for next Saturday's (Feb. 8) non-conference dual meet.

-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester