Northern Illinois gymnasts Ashley Guerra and Megan Melendez recorded first and second place finishes on uneven parallel bars and balance beam, respectively, but the Huskie gymnastics team dropped a dual meet to visiting New Hampshire, 193.200-191.875 Saturday night at the NIU Convocation Center.
Northern Illinois fell to 1-3 on the season while New Hampshire improved to 3-1.
Northern Illinois overcame a slow start on vault and three falls on uneven parallel bars to earn its second-highest team score of the season.
NIU’s “beam team” spurred the comeback with its top performance as the Huskies earned their highest team beam score of the year with a 48.150. Melendez led the way with a career high 9.775 to take second place on balance beam, while Guerra, Kim Gotlund and Shonda Clore took fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively with scores ranging from 9.675 (Guerra) to 9.600 (Clore).
“I’m definitely proud of the way we came out and performed on beam, especially after what happened on bars,” said NIU head coach Sam Morreale. “That was a result of the way we prepare in the gym every day. Ever since the first meet, our floor has been really solid and they were good again today.”
The Huskies scored a 48.475 on floor exercise and did not count a score lower than 9.625 on the event. Gotlund led the way with a 9.750 with freshman Peyton Taylor, senior Tanya Rachan and junior Natalie Sutter each recording a 9.700 score.
Guerra earned the highest score of the day for NIU with a season-best 9.800 on uneven parallel bars with Sutter adding her career-best score of 9.675 on the event. Gotlund had the Huskies’ best vault with a 9.675.
Morreale said although the Huskies made progress in some areas, they slipped in others.
“Our landings were better, but it doesn’t make much difference if you don’t hit your routines,” said the first-year head coach. “We’ve still got to hit, first.”
Northern Illinois returns to Mid-American Conference action next Saturday when the Huskies play host to Ball State in the Convocation Center beginning at 5 p.m. NIU will hold its annual “Pink Meet” with fans invited to wear pink and the NIU Colleges versus Cancer chapter in attendance.
For more information on NIU gymnastics and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.