Huskies put finishing touches on successful season
Northern Illinois gymnasts Kim Gotlund (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township HS) and Tanya Rachan (Lowell, Ind./Hanover Central HS) had mixed results in representing the Huskies in the 2012 NCAA Gymnastics Champaign Regional on Saturday at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall.
Representing NIU with two competitors in the NCAAs for the first time since 2009, Gotlund had one of her best all-around scores of the season while Rachan slipped up for the first time all season in the floor exercise.
Gotlund, a second team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a sophomore, was on her marks all day as she produced a score of 38.475 on the all-around.
During the 12-meet season, she bettered that score only four other times. She scored over 9.600 in both the vault (9.625) and floor exercise (9.675). She pulled out an even 9.600 on the balance beam and rounded out the day with a 9.575 on the uneven parallel bars, which was one of her best bar performances of the year. Overall, Gotlund finished 15th among 17 all-around competitors.
“Kim hit all four events,” said first-year NIU head coach Sam Morreale. “She was as cool as a cucumber all day. She definitely stepped up to the challenge. She had it a little different than Tanya because she got to do more events. She had a really good day, one that she could definitely build off of for next year. She was extremely impressive and had a good demeanor.”
Rachan scored a 9.225 in the floor exercise, which was her lone event of the day. The lowest score of her senior season resulted from an unfortunate hand touch on her last pass of an otherwise solid routine that produced a 40th place finish out of 42 competitors.
“Tanya had a hand touch on her last pass,” said Morreale.
“It was very uncharacteristic of her. All in all, she had a great season. It just wasn’t the culmination that she wanted it to be. She had a great work out yesterday and great warm-up today. A little bit of nerves might have gotten to her. It was a very different meet for her as she was not with her team and was the last kid on the floor with nothing else going on. All eyes were on her. Not to make excuses for her, but I think she got a little tight and tried a little too hard. I’m very proud of her.”
For Rachan, all was not lost in the grand scheme of her senior season.
It was the first time in her career that she had reached NCAA Regionals and was NIU’s top competitor on the floor and vault in 2012. She was also an Illinois All-State and Academic All-State honoree.
Gotlund has two years left to build on being an NCAA Regional competitor as a sophomore. With the Huskies improving from seventh in the MAC Championships last year to fourth in Morreale’s first year, Gotlund and Co. have plenty of good experiences from the 2012 campaign to build on.
“This season was definitely a huge step for us,” Morreale said. “Our goal was to get to the NCAA Regionals as a team. But at the same time, it justifies what Tanya and Kim have been doing all year. Week in week out, they got it done.
“As far as a team, a handful of them came down today to watch. They are all going to have chips on their shoulders next year. They feel we are a team that can get here. We will definitely use a lot of the success we had to springboard into next year. We will make some changes in areas where we fell short this year. I feel really good about our future. We are losing a great group of seniors, but I feel good about the returners and where we are going to go with the new kids coming in. We have a chance to be even better next year.”