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Gymnastics drops MAC Dual Meet to Falcons

February 24, 2014
Jaelyn Olsen

Jaelyn Olsen

Friday night at the Illinois Classic, the Northern Illinois University gymnastics team had three excellent events and stumbled on beam en route to a score of 193.625.

On Sunday at Bowling Green, the Huskies were solid on all four events but could not attain scores as high across the board in falling to the Falcons, 194.825-193.075.

NIU (5-6, 2-2 MAC) actually scored a 193.375 in the meet, but lost three-tenths off the team score after losing the call on a video review of a bars routine. Bowling Green improved to 7-5 overall and 4-1 in the MAC with the win.

The Huskies did bounce back on balance beam Sunday, posting a score of 48.475, NIU’s second highest beam team score of the season. The Huskies did count scores in the 9.5s on three events and were just not as sharp as they were overall on Friday night, said head coach Sam Morreale.

“We were a lot crisper on Friday,” Morreale said. “We were a little sluggish today and I don’t know if it’s because we competed on Friday, but I don’t think so. We came into the meet ready. I think we were a little bit flat more than anything else. We were sloppy, and didn’t do some of the little things well that we had done on Friday.”

Forced to juggle the line-up again in both meets this week due to injuries, the Huskies seemed to take that in stride en route to some excellent individual performances on every event.

Natasha Jufko

Natasha Jufko

Sophomore Jaelyn Olsen (Bethany, Okla./Putnam City West HS) led NIU in two of those events as she scored a 9.825 to tie for first place on vault and then posted a career-high 9.800 on balance beam to tie for first on that event as well. Beam specialist Natasha Jufko (Spring Hill, Fla./Pasco-Hernando HS) tied Olsen for top honors on beam with a 9.800 and all-arounder Kim Gotlund (Wadsworth, Ill./Warren Township HS) went 9.750 to take third on beam.

Junior Kelly Nortz (Bay Village, Ohio/Magnificat HS) joined the 9.800 club for the first time in her career by attaining that score on floor exercise to lead the Huskies and tie for fourth in the meet. She added a 9.725 on vault, the second-highest vault score on the team, to tie for fourth.

Natalie Amadio (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich HS) and Lauren Africano (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bourbonnais-Bradley Community HS) led NIU on uneven parallel bars with scores of 9.750 and 9.675. Amadio placed third and Africano was fifth on the event.

“We hit bars for the most part, and we vaulted pretty well as a team,” Morreale said, recapping the Huskies’ performance on each event. “We looked a lot better on beam, more controlled. On floor, we were sloppy. We’re still trying to improve and I think we are getting better. We still have to put that elusive four for four [event] meet together. ”

NIU has one more opportunity to achieve that four-event, 194-plus, 9.7-average meet at home this year when they play host to Mid-American Conference perennial power Central Michigan next Sunday at the NIU Convocation Center. The meet begins at 2 p.m. (CT), and admission and parking are free.

For more information on NIU gymnastics and Huskie athletics, visit