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Jaelyn Olsen named MAC specialist of week

February 20, 2013
Jaelyn Olsen

Jaelyn Olsen

Northern Illinois freshman gymnast Jaelyn Olsen (Bethany, Okla./Putnam City West HS) has been named the Mid-American Conference Specialist of the Week, the league office announced Wednesday.

Olsen collected the honor with a full-twisting yurchenko vault that earned a score of 9.875 from the judges Saturday at Iowa State. Olsen easily won the vault event, as the second-place score on the apparatus was a 9.750.

The 9.875 was the highest score by an NIU gymnast in the meet and tied the highest score collected by a Huskie gymnast this season, matching Natalie Sutter’s 9.875 on floor exercise at Central Michigan.

NIU head coach Sam Morreale said Olsen’s honor could be the first of many to come in her Huskie career.

“It’s a great honor for her [to be recognized] as a freshman,” Morreale said. “It’s a hard award to win when you are just doing one event, so I am very happy for her to get recognized so early in her career. I’ve expected big things from Jaelyn since she got here, and she’s only going to get better. We’re being a little bit careful due to some nagging injuries, so I’m glad she’s able to show some of what she can do this season. The sky is the limit for her, so this probably won’t be the last MAC award she wins.”

Jaelyn Olsen

Jaelyn Olsen

Olsen’s vault tied as the seventh-highest scoring vault in school history and earned the best mark since NIU’s Holly Reichard recorded a 9.875 on the event versus Eastern Michigan on Jan. 25, 2009.

She is the second NIU gymnast to garner MAC Specialist of the Week honors this season, as Natasha Jufko won the award for her Jan. 13 performance on balance beam versus Illinois State.

After recording its two highest team scores of the season on the road in its last two meets, Northern Illinois returns to the NIU Convocation Center Saturday as they take on No. 21 Kent State in NIU’s annual “Pink Meet.”

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