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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 12, 1999)
Women earn bid to
NCAA meet in Utah
Huskers rebound for a second-place finish
By John Gaskins
It was a bittersweet night Saturday for the No. 7 Nebraska
women’s gymnastics team.
Bitter because Nebraska native Sarah Cain and her No. 4
Michigan team ended the Huskers’ nine-meet winning streak
and became the first team since 1995 to beat NU at the Bob
Devaney Sports Center.
Cain won the all-around with a 39.925 while the
Wolverines captured the team title at the Region 3
But it was sweet because NU’s second-place finish in the
six-team region will send the Huskers to Salt Lake City on
April 22-24 to compete for the national championship as a
team, something that eluded them last year.
“I’m proud of these girls” Nebraska Coach Dan Kendig
said. “It was a total team effort. We did what we needed to do,
ana mai was 10
get to nationals.
But I think we
have a whole lot
more to offer.”
of NU’s fourth
bars routine of
the season anda
from junior All
Heather Brink to
1 9 6.3 2 5.
third at 193.625,
Oklahoma fourth at 193.525, Illinois fifth at 193.1 and
Illinois-Chicago sixth at 192.4.
Brink’s fall set both her and the team back. But after a solid
comeback on the balance beam, the Huskers took advantage of
a home crowd of 2,317 and center stage on the floor exercise in
their last event with a season-high 49.35 and netted their 10th
trip to the NCAAs, their first since 1997.
Four Huskers scored 9.875 or higher and had their career
best performances on the floor to lift the team from a state of
panic and almost grab UM from behind.
Included in that group were freshman Bree Dority (9.875),
sophomore Amy Ringo (who’s 9.9 won second place) and
junior Laura Ohlendorf (who tied Dority for fourth). Senior
All-American Misty Oxford capped off the night with a career
high 9.925 to win the event.
Kendig and his gymnasts kept up their usual confident
composure at the post-meet press conference, but there was a
hint of both disappointment and frustration on their straight
Assistant Coach Rob Drass sang a different tune. After the
bars disaster and beam recovery, Drass, heading to the locker
room, said: “They’re not looking pretty tonight, but they’re
getting the job done.”
After the meet, Drass said of the gymnasts: “They’re
pissed. They’re happy about going to nationals, but I think
they’re really going to be extra motivated to get back into the
gym and work on what they did wrong tonight.”
Not that Nebraska didn’t do anything right. And not that the
Huskers didn’t show a flair for the dramatic. The meet itself
was one nerve-wracking melodrama.
And aside from Cain (a junior from Grand Island who left
Kendig sick to his stomach when she signed with Michigan
instead of NU last year) plenty of Huskers were queens of
Oxford could have won an Oscar for her floor routine.
Earlier in the week, she was barely able to walk and Kendig
was unsure if she would even suit up after she pulled an
abdominal muscle in practice on Monday.
In her final home meet, in the final event of the evening, as
the final competitor for her team, the senior from Kelso,
Wash., pulled off the electrifying career-best performance,
clinched fourth place in the all-around and roused the Devaney
Center crowd of 2,317 to its feet.
“I’m extremely proud of Misty,” Kendig said. “To come
Please see WOMEN on
HEATHER BRINK HIGH-FIVES her teammates after she finished her fleer routine.
Although Brink did not repeat as the top all-arounder of the region, she will get her
wish to compete with her team at the national championships. Last season, Brink
competed at the national meet alone became the Huskers failed to qualify as a
ABOVE: NU SENIOR COURTNEY
BROWN performs her floor exercise
Saturday night during the NCAA
RobIor III Championships. The
Huskers placed second aad earned
a chance to compete for the team
national championships in Salt Lake
City on April 22-24.
TOP: NICOLE WILKINSON reaches for
the bar during her release move on
the uneven bars. Wilkinson was one
of the few Huskers to hit her uneven
FAR LEFT. THE HUSKERS LEFT MORE
on the fleer exercise than Just their
hand prints. Four out of the top five
scores belonged to Huskers.
For more photos please see
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