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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 14, 1998)
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By Darren Ivy
Despite the loss of All-American
gymnasts Shelly Bartlett and Kim
DeHaan from last year’s women’s
team, the cup
board is anything
T h o
return nine let
1997 Big 12
Coach of the Year
thinks this year’s
team has a
chance to be just as good - if not
better - than last year’s squad.
“Our goal is to win our fifth con
ference title in a row,” Kendig said.
“That is something no other
Nebraska team has ever done. We
also want to get ourselves into a
position to compete for a national
Avoiding injuries, having under
classmen step up, and finding where
people fit it will be keys to winning
a fifth straight conference title,
Depth shouldn’t be a problem.
“Since I’ve been here, the
strength of our program has been
our whole group,” Kendig said.
Heather Brink, a sophomore All
American and the Big 12 Newcomer
of the Year, from Lincoln, agreed
with Kendig and said practices will
be competitive this year.
“It is going to be a fight to stay
in the lineup,” Brink said. “It will
probably come down to the night
before meets to see who’s doing the
best in practice.”
Brink, Misty Oxford, a junior
All-American from Kelso, Wash.,
and Nicole Wilkinson, a sophomore
All-Big 12 gymnast from London,
Ontario, will play key roles for NU
this year, Kendig said.
Oxford earned All-American
status in the vault, balance beam and
floor exercise last year, but couldn’t
crack the lineup in die uneven bars.
But according to coaches, she has
improved and may compete for
national honors in that event this
“Misty keeps getting better, and
better each year,” Kendig said. “We
expect a big year out of Misty. She
has the ability to be an All
American in all four events this
Brink, the first Husker to earn
All-America honors as a freshman,
will try to equal her performance
from last year when she was an All
American in the all-around and the
vault at the NCCA Championships.
Wilkinson has seen limited
action as she continues to recover
from surgery to remove a bone spur
in her left foot. At the Maui
Invitational Saturday, she only com
peted in the uneven bars.
But Wilkinson said she is getting
better mid set Feb. 20 as a target date
to do tiie all-around for the first time
this season That date can’t come
soon enough for Kendig.
“Once she gained some confi
dence and adjusted to the college
level, Nicole was as consistent as
any gymnast we had last season,”
With no seniors on the team,
Brink, Wilkinson and Oxford will
also have to take over leadership
responsibilities. Oxford said the
juniors and returnees know they
have to take on a leadership role.
“People who have been here
have to show (freshman) what kind
of work ethic it takes,” Oxford said.
“When you step up and do better it
carries over to everyone.”
Oxford said she hoped the veter
ans’ work ethic will carry over to the
four freshman: Amy Ringo, from
Phoenix, Betsy Akinwale, from
Richfield, Minn., Stacie Sizer, from
Omaha, and Kathy Ligpn, from
For NU to be successful, the
freshmen mid other underclassmen
me going to have to fill in for the
departed seniors, Oxford said.
“Because we lost the two seniors
who contributed so much, the fresh
men are going to have to step up
right away and can’t be intimidat
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