Huskie Gymnasts can't keep up with Central Michigan, suffer 196.725-193.200 loss on road



March 20, 2005

WOMEN'S COLLEGE GYMNASTICS--- Northern Illinois University at Central Michigan University / at Mt. Pleasant, MI / Mid-American Conference dual / Sunday / March 20, 2005


Huskie Gymnasts can't keep up with Central Michigan, suffer 196.725-193.200 loss on road
MT. PLEASANT, MI-There's a reason that Central Michigan University is widely regarded as the standard when it comes to Mid-American Conference women's gymnastics. Northern Illinois University came within .050 points of its season-high point total, but couldn't seem to keep up with the Chippewas who wrapped up the regular-season MAC title with a 196.725-193.200 triumph over the Huskies in Mt. Pleasant Sunday (Mar. 20).

Northern Illinois falls to 7-10 in dual meets this season to go along with a break-even 3-3 record in the MAC. Central Michigan improves to 12-5 overall with a 6-0 mark in the conference, but suffered a huge blow to their chances at the league summit this weekend when top gymnast Kara Reighard suffered a season-ending knee injury during the day's first event.

Nonetheless, the Chippewas established control of the meet early, sweeping the top four spots in the vault. NIU senior Kristina Campos (Gladstone, MO / Oak Park) was the only Huskie to crack the top-five, placing fifth with a 9.725. That would be a running theme for the afternoon, as Campos put together arguably her best meet of the season, winning the all-around competition with her first 39.000-plus effort of the season. The senior checked in at 39.100, barely edging CMU standout Sara Burtinsky (39.000) in the final tally.

Campos tied for first on the floor exercise with a season-high 9.900 performance while also notching a team-high 9.825 on the balance beam that was good enough for a fourth-place tie. She also added a 9.650 on the bars that rounded out her four-event day.

Ashlee Williams (Liberty, MO / Senior)---who won an all-around title of her own at the State of Illinois Classic Saturday (Mar. 19)---and Lisanna Goldschen (St. Joseph, MN / Apollo) provided some support on the bars, tying for fifth place with identical 9.775 efforts. Jody Yednock (West Chicago, IL / West Chicago) came in just behind them in a tie for seventh at 9.750.

"We really struggled on bars earlier this week, so it was nice to see us work out some of those problems," NIU head coach Mark Sontag explained. "Overall, I think we put together a pretty good meet, and we are pretty encouraged by our progress heading into the end of the season."

The Huskies looked to be keeping pace when they put up a solid 48.900 on the floor exercise in the day's third rotation. In addtion to Campos, Amy Ristvedt (Alexandria, MN / Jefferson) tied for fifth with a 9.800 while Keri Saint (Amite, LA / Oak Forest Academy) and Bethany Plapp (Sycamore, IL / DeKalb) each posted a 9.750.

CMU really turned up the heat during that third rotation, however, and started to pull away with a 49.325 on the beam. The Huskies, on the other hand, could only muster a 47.625 that sealed the fate of the meet. Outside of Campos, no Huskie competitor could cross the 9.625 barrier with Mariah Howard (Hales Corners, WI / Whitnall) checking in at the No. 8 spot in the final standings right at 9.625.

"We had to count a couple falls on beam, which really hurt us," Sontag added. "All we can do is put it behind us though and really work towards putting together a solid all-around meet at the MAC Championships this weekend."

Northern Illinois will welcome the other six teams in the conference to the Convocation Center for this year's MAC Championships. The one-night event is scheduled for Friday (Mar. 25) at 6:00 p.m. (CST).