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Gymnasts make all-conference academic squad

Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 12:18 p.m. CDT

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University gymnasts Kim Gotlund of Wadsworth, Megan Melendez of Stafford, Va. and Tanya Rachan of Lowell, Ind. have been named to the 2012 Gymnastics Academic All Mid-American Conference Team.

“I can’t say how proud I am of the ladies that earned this award,” NIU head coach Sam Morreale said. “It’s great that we have kids who are lighting it up in the gym and in the classroom. I definitely feel Kim, Megan and Tanya stepped it up in both areas this year. This is another indication of a team going in the right direction.”

NIU was shut out on the Academic All-MAC squad a year ago. Honorees are selected in a vote of MAC Faculty Athletics Representatives. All nominees must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 and have participated in at least 50 percent of the season’s contests. Freshmen and first-year transfers are not eligible.

Rachan, a 2012 NCAA Regional selection as an individual event specialist on floor, carries a 3.404 GPA in biological sciences. She took second on floor exercise at the 2012 MAC Championships and became the first NIU gymnast to score a 9.900 or higher when she posted that score at the State of Illinois Classic and again at the MAC meet.

Melendez was named one of two MAC Specialists of the Year for her team-leading performances on balance beam. A three-time MAC Specialist of the Week, Melendez tied for third on beam at the MAC Championships and led NIU on that apparatus while also competing in the last nine meets of the year on uneven parallel bars. She has a 3.511 GPA in biological sciences.

After finishing fifth in the all-around competition at the 2012 MAC Championships, Gotlund was a second-team all-conference choice and represented the Huskies at the 2012 NCAA Champaign Regional. A sophomore studying health sciences (pre-physical therapy) with a team-best 3.711 GPA, Gotlund ranked second on the team on floor exercise and had 19 top five finishes in 52 routines on the season.  

Huskies Shonda Clore, Ashley Guerra, Marisa Liptak and Natalie Sutter earned honorable mention Academic All-MAC honors.   

“To be a student-athlete and excel in both disciplines is hard to do,” Morreale said.  “The academic aspect is a big part of what we emphasize in recruiting.  It’s something we value highly and we are always striving to improve academically as well as athletically.”

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