Southeast gymnasts post season-high total in home victory

Monday, February 11, 2008
Southeast Missouri State's Rikara Turner competed on the balance beam in a meet with Centenary College on Sunday at Houck Field House. (Fred Lynch)

The Southeast Missouri State gymnastics team posted a season-high 194.925 total as it defeated Centenary by more than two points in a meet Sunday at Houck Field House.

The Redhawks, who improved to 3-2, had first-place finishes in three events and placed first in the all-around in their win over Centenary, which totaled 192.575.

"That was our highest score in probably three years," Southeast coach Tom Farden said.

Southeast's Rikara Turner, who was second in the balance beam, third in the uneven bars and fifth in the vault and floor exercise, won the all-around with a 39.075. Sandra Blake, who won the vault (9.825) and tied for first in the floor exercise (9.825), was right behind her teammate in the all-around with a 39.025.

Southeast boasted a 1-2-3 finish in the bars, with Jacueline Heath leading the way with a 9.90. She was followed by Blake (9.875) and Turner (9.825). Southeast totaled 48.575, which was their highest among the four events.

Southeast Missouri State gymnast Jena Nguyen finished her floor exercise routine during Sunday's meet with Centenary College at Houck Field House. Nguyen tied for first in the event with a 9.825 to help Southeast to a season-high 194.925 total in its victory against Centenary. Story on Page 3B. (Fred Lynch)

"The uneven bars was our third or fourth best in school history," Farden said.

Blake was among a four-way tie in the floor, which also included teammates Brianna Gaddie and Jena Nguyen and Centenary's Marisa Schneider.

Laura Loy of Centenary won the balance beam.

In all, Southeast scored in 24 of 24 events. Two days earlier, the Redhawks posted a 193.375 in a loss to Texas Women's University that included several falls in the balance beam.

"We were really resilient," Farden said. "We didn't miss one event. The girls showed a lot of mental toughness. In Friday night's meet at Texas we were a little shaky."

Blunt nabs honor

Southeast women's basketball player Rachel Blunt was recently named to the College Sports Information Directors of America/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team.

Blunt, a junior forward from Dexter, Mo., has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average over her first two-plus years at Southeast while majoring in sport management.

Blunt earned the Ohio Valley Conference's Medal of Honor for having the highest GPA among women's basketball players in the league during the 2006-07 season. She also claimed the honor for the 2005-06 campaign, to go along with two Southeast Scholar-Athlete and OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll awards.

Blunt, who has started 21 of Southeast's 23 games, is the Redhawks' fourth-leading scorer with a 7.3 average.

The first team selection automatically qualifies Blunt to be eligible for Academic All-America honors, which will be announced Feb. 26.

-- From staff reports

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