Northern Illinois senior Holly Reichard wrapped up her stellar collegiate gymnastics career Saturday, April 2, with her third NCAA Regional appearance as an all-around competitor.
Up until a misstep on balance beam during her final routine, Reichard was having the type of day that has typified her career.
The Palatine native, who rotated with the Washington Huskies throughout the competition, opened the day with a 9.625 on floor exercise and then scored a 9.700 on vault on one of her best vaults of 2011. Reichard’s set on uneven parallel bars, her next event, was even better as she tallied a 9.775 to tie for her second best bars score of the season.
“Holly had a really good day going until (that misstep on beam),” said NIU head coach Mark Sontag. “She looked great all day long, but was one foot off on her roundoff which is almost the last skill on her last routine. She went out today and put up some great scores and it was just so unfortunate to have the miss on the beam, which has been such a strong event for her throughout her career.”
Reichard finished with a score of 9.050 on beam and an all-around total of 38.150. She became just the fourth Huskie women’s gymnast all-time to make three NCAA Regional appearances.
“It’s extremely hard to even make it to the NCAAs three times, let alone in our region which is so difficult and features so many quality gymnasts,” Sontag said. “For her to make it three years is a tribute to her hard work and consistency. She has consistently put up big numbers. The fact she made this meet shows she has had a really successful, strong year in her senior season. Her performance continued today and it was just unfortunate she had a small slip at the end.”
With the conclusion of Reichard’s career after 162 routines, Sontag reflected on what the senior has meant to the Huskies over the last four years and what he will miss.
“I’m gonna miss everything – her vault, bars, beam and floor,” Sontag joked, before adding, “I’ll miss her leadership and not having her in the gym every day. She is the type of student-athlete that we want representing this program and Northern Illinois University. She is definitely the type and caliber of athlete that we are getting into the program now. She has set the course for us in taking it to the next level going forward.”
As a team, Northern Illinois completed an injury-plagued 2011 season March 19 at the Mid-American Conference Championships. In all, the Huskies lose five seniors off the 2011 team but return eight letterwinners and 14 gymnasts next season.