MAC Announces Gymnast and Specialist of the Week

Updated 3/20/2013

Gymnast of the Week 
Denasiha Christian, Ball State 
Roanoke City, Va. / Patrick Henry
Denasiha Christian tallied a career high and won the floor with a 9.95 mark in the Cardinals four-way meet at Southern Utah with San Jose State and Iowa. The floor marked tied a Ball State school record that has now only been accomplished five times by three gymnasts. Christian's 9.95 was the first for a Ball State gymnast since 2001. Jenny Gantt tallied a 9.95 on the floor three times in her career at Ball State, all in 2001, while Sarah Mikrut posted a 9.95 on the floor in 1997. Christian also managed the Cardinals top score on the vault with a 9.800.

Specialist of the Week 
Amanda Lievendag, Bowling Green
Sophomore, Baldwin, Md. / Fallston 

Amanda Lievendag, a sophomore from Baldwin, Md., tied her career high of 9.875 to win her seventh uneven bars title of the year against Western Michigan. The mark tied for the fifth-best in BGSU history and helped the Falcons to a 195.175-192.950 win over the Broncos. Lievendag notched another top-three finish on the vault, scoring a 9.8 to place third. Her contributions were key in helping the Falcons break the 195 barrier for the first time since 2005.

Other Nominees 

Gymnasts

Megan Harrington, Bowling Green 
Bloomington, Ill. / Normal Community

Megan Harrington, a junior from Bloomington, Ill., tied her career high of 39.025 to finish first in the all around in the Falcons’ win over Western Michigan. She also placed first on beam with a career-best 9.825, contributing to a BGSU sweep of the awards stand. Harrington’s all-around score ties for fourth-best in school history and the Falcons’ overall mark of 195.175 is sixth-highest all-time. In addition to her beam and all-around wins, Harrington scored a 9.85 to finish third on floor, 9.725 for sixth on vault and 9.625 for tenth on bars.

Brittany Petzold, Central Michigan
Shelby Township, Mich. / Eisenhower HS

Junior Brittany Petzold finished the 2013 regular season strong, capturing her fifth all-around crown of the season with a score of 39.300 in No. 24 CMU’s 196.000-193.500 win over Eastern Michigan. Petzold tied for first in the floor exercise, setting a career high of 9.875, helping the Chippewas record a season high score of 49.325 in the event. She also finished in second in the uneven bars, tying a personal best (9.875), and in the balance beam (9.825). In the last seven meets of the season, Petzold recorded 18 top three finishes, including 13 title wins.

Marie Case, Kent State 
Junior, Erie, Pa./Mercyhurst Prep/Lakettes

Helped lead Kent State to 1st place finish in the final meet of the regular season. Case contributed scores on three events adding to the Golden Flashes’ 195.975 victory over Southeast Missouri State, New Hampshire and Cornell. On the bars she tallied a 9.825 putting her in third place, but beam proved to be her best event of the night. There she set a new season-high and tied her career-best with a 9.925.

Amanda Stepp, Northern Illinois
Sophomore, Lapeer, MI / Lapeer East

Sophomore Amanda Stepp earned NIU’s highest score of the day and garnered All-State honors with a 9.850 on vault Saturday at the State of Illinois Classic, a quadrangular meet featuring Illinois, Illinois State and Illinois-Chicago in addition to NIU.  Stepp earned the Huskies’ second-highest mark of the season on vault and the 9.850 was .500 higher than her previous best.  Her 9.850 vault went a long way toward NIU’s third-highest team vault score of the season.  Stepp also performed a clean routine on balance beam to lead off the meet for Northern Illinois and scored a 9.550 on floor exercise.  All three of her scores counted on the day.   

Specialists 

Samantha Santos, Ball State
Sophomore, Bloomington, Ind. / South 

Samantha Santos was Ball State’s top finisher on the beam in the Cardinals four-way meet at Southern Utah….She placed fifth on the beam with a 9.800 and also tallied a 9.725 on the bars.

Taylor Bolender, Central Michigan 
Freshman, Akron, Ohio / Archbishop Hoban HS

Freshman Taylor Bolender had the best meet of her rookie campaign in No. 24 CMU’s 196.000-193.500 victory over Eastern Michigan last weekend. As the leadoff competitor in the uneven bars and floor exercise, Bolender set career highs in both events. In the bars, she scored a 9.850 to finish in third place behind only teammates Kylie Fagan (9.900) and Brittany Petzold (9.875). Competing for just the second time this season in the floor exercise and after being added late to the line-up, Bolender helped CMU set a season high in the event (49.325) by tying for first with a score of 9.875.

Rachel Guida, Kent State
Senior, Cumberland, R.I./Brestyan's Gymnastics

Competed in two events for Kent State in their win at the last regular season meet against Southeast Missouri State, New Hampshire and Cornell with a score of 195.975. On vault, Guida tied for fourth place scoring a 9.8000, but once again she put on a show on bars. She has been a constant force for the Golden Flashes’ and after scoring 9.875 she tied for the top spot again helping the Flashes win their eighth straight meet.

Natasha Jufko, Northern Illinois
Junior, Spring Hill, FL / Pasco-Hernando

On a very tightly judged event at the State of Illinois Classic, NIU’s Natasha Jufko tied for fourth place with a 9.750 on balance beam.  Only three gymnasts at the quadrangular meet featuring Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Illinois State, scored higher on balance beam than Jufko, who has been one of NIU’s most consistently high scorers on the event this season.