, Story


March 19 , 2004

WOMEN'S COLLEGIATE GYMNASTICS --- Northern Illinois University at the Mid-American Conference Championships / at Mount Pleasant, MI / Central Michigan University, host / Friday / March 19, 2004


VAULT: 1---(TIE)---Kara Reighard (CMU), Jenna Tarkington (BSU), 9.950; 3---(TIE)---Kelly Kramer (NIU), Karen Harper (WMU), 9.925; 5---(TIE)---Sara Burtinsky (CMU), Jessie James (KSU), 9.950. Other NIU scores: Kristina Campos, 9.850; Amy Ristvedt, 9.800; Dannielle Dacey, 9.725; Heather Marti, 9.650; Ashlee Williams, 9.575. NIU team score: 48.950 (school record).

UNEVEN PARALLEL BARS: 1---Sara Burtinsky (CMU), 9.925; 2---Melissa Popovich (BGSU), 9.900; 3---(TIE)---Jules Passy (CMU), Morgan Wiland (KSU), 9.875; 5---(TIE)---Leah Hashimoto (EMU), Laura Ransing (WMU), 9.850. NIU scores: Dannielle Dacey, 9.800; Kristina Campos, 9.800; Ashlee Williams, 9.725; Katie Willett, 9.650; Kristin Harrington, 9.525; Cassandra Judy, 9.500. NIU team score: 48.500.

BALANCE BEAM: 1---Sara Burtinsky (CMU), 9.975; 2---(TIE)---Kara Reighard (CMU), Earline Feugill (KSU), 9.925; 4---April Zentko (KSU), 9.900; 5---(TIE)---Erica Linnersten (KSU), Tristin Thomas (WMU), 9.875. NIU scores: Kristina Campos, 9.850; Ashlee Williams, 9.700; Mariah Howard, 9.625; Kelly Kramer, 9.550; Amy Ristvedt, 9.150; Dannielle Dacey, 9.000. NIU team score: 47.875.

FLOOR EXERCISE: 1---(TIE)---Earline Feugill (KSU), Stephanie Langley (CMU), 9.950; 3---(TIE)---Jessie James (KSU), Leah Hashimoto (EMU), 9.925; 5---(TIE)---Kristina Campos (NIU), Ashlee Williams (NIU), Jules Passy (CMU), Melissa Popovich (BGSU), Kara Reighard (CMU), Carrie Mayle (KSU), Courtney Vojtasek (BSU), Matti Crawford (CMU), Brook Morari (EMU), Pia Sjovall (BGSU), Tiffani Berra (CMU), Emily Koechel (EMU), 9.900. Other NIU scores: Kelly Kramer, 9.850; Amy Ristvedt, 9.850; Dannielle Dacey, 9.775; Kristin Harrington, 9.750. NIU team score: 49.275 (school record).

ALL-AROUND: 1---Sara Burtinsky (CMU), 39.550; 2---Jules Passy (CMU), 39.500; 3---(TIE)---Jessie James (KSU), Melissa Popovich (BGSU), 39.450; 5---Kristina Campos (NIU), 39.400. Other NIU scores: Ashlee Williams, 38.900; Dannielle Dacey, 38.300.



MOUNT PLEASANT, MI --- As the old saying goes, records are made to be broken. That adage proved to be the theme of the night as numerous school and conference standards fell during the 2004 Mid-American Conference gymnastics championships here Friday (March 19).

Central Michigan University was anything but a hospitable host, as the homestanding Chippewas posted a MAC record 197.525 team score to edge Kent State University (196.850) for their 10th MAC championship in program history. Eastern Michigan was third at 195.550, with Bowling Green St. University (194.650) edging the Huskies (194.600) for fourth place. Western Michigan University (194.025) and Ball State (193.525) rounded out the seven-team field.

The Huskies set school marks on both the vault and floor exercise but jitters on the uneven bars and balance beam proved too much for head coach Mark Sontag's crew to overcome.

CMU's Sara Burtinsky took the individual spotlight as her 39.550 all-around total was 0.050 points better than teammate Jules Passy's four-event mark. Burtinsky's evening featured blue-ribbon efforts on the beam and bars, with her 9.975 beam score eclipsing the MAC Championships record on that event. She also earned a 9.925 on the bars.

Northern Illinois junior Kristina Campos (Oak Park, MO / Gladstone) earned Second-Team All-MAC accolades for her efforts, recording a 39.400 composite to match her season-high. Campos eclipsed the 39 mark for the eighth time in 11 meets this spring and the 14th occasion in her career. The Oak Park, MO, native equaled her total of last weekend when she successfully defended her State of Illinois Classic title, but Friday's performance put her behind the two Chippewas plus BGSU's Melissa Popovich and Kent State's Jessie James, who split third place at 39.450.

Campos matched her season-best with a 9.900 on the floor exercise, finishing in a tie for fifth place which also included teammate Ashlee Williams (Liberty, MO). Campos drew marks of 9.850 on the vault and balance beam before rounding out her night with a 9.800 on the balance beam.

The Chippewas' Stephanie Langley and Kent State's Earline Feugill shared the floor exercise crown with matching 9.950 scores while Ball State's Jenna Tarkington and CMU's Kara Reighard posted 9.950 marks on the vault to split that title. Northern Illinois freshman Kelly Kramer (Long Lake, MN / Benilde-St. Margaret's) made a dramatic impact in her initial MAC championship meet, tying for third place with her 9.925 vault which equaled the NIU record. Denise Jonuska earned that mark on Feb. 3, 1996, with NCAA national qualifier Sandy Menard receiving the same score eight days later.

Kramer added a 9.850 on the floor exercise with fellow freshman Amy Ristvedt (Alexandria, MN / Jefferson) recording a 9.850 vault plus a 9.800 on the floor.

"Kelly had an outstanding meet," Northern Illinois freshman Andy Morreale summarized. "She stepped up and did a great job tonight. The whole team really did well tonight. I have no complaints, except I wish we could have finished ahead of Bowling Green."

Campos and Kramer led the Huskies to a school-record 48.950 total on the vault. The Huskies also posted a program-best 49.275 on the floor exercise---bettering the old mark of 49.200 set three years ago---and held a 0.700 lead over Bowling Green St. heading into the final rotation but NIU's difficulties on the uneven bars allowed the Falcons to slip into fourth place.

"With all of our injuries, that hurt us most on bars," Morreale conceded, noting the absence of Lisanna Goldschen, Meghan Cronin and Jody Yednock. "They were three of our best performers on bars. But considering all of the injuries we've had, I'm really proud of this young team. They did great on floor and on vault tonight, and the future looks good for this program, with all of these freshmen plus (sophomore) Ashlee Williams (who tallied a career-best 38.900 composite)."

The fifth-place showing represents a one-spot improvement over last year's showing, but Sontag has higher expectations for his squad in 2005 when Dannielle Dacey (Saskatoon, Sask. / Marion M. Graham) is the only regular who will not return.

Popovich was voted the MAC Gymnast of the Year in balloting by league coaches on Thursday (March 18) but her performance Friday relegated the BGSU standout to Second-Team All-MAC status alongside Campos, Passy, James, Kent State's April Zentko and Eastern Michigan's Leah Hashimoto. The First-Team squad consists of the individual event winners of Friday's competition, with CMU boasting three-fifths of that group.

Campos could have at least one more competition on her schedule this spring, as the NCAA announces qualifiers for its regional championships. Campos entered the weekend ranked seventh in the region, and would become only the third gymnast in Huskie history to make three regionals appearances if she receives the call as expected on Monday (March 22).

-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester



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