2 gymnasts receive All-MAC honors


Northern Star File Photo

Then-junior Natalie Hamp finishes her landing after an attempt on the uneven parallel bars during a meet on Feb. 13, 2021.

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

NIU gymnasts senior Natalie Hamp and Junior Alyssa Al-Ashari were named to the 2023 All Mid-American Conference gymnastics team. Sophomore all-around gymnasts Isabella Sissi earned a spot on the 2023 MAC All-Tournament team. 

“I am super proud of the work both Natalie and Alyssa have done this entire year,” said NIU head coach Sam Morreale. “They have been at the top of their game each and every week and it shows in this honor.”

Hamp becomes the fourth Huskie all-time the first since Kim Gotlund (2012-14) to collect three All-MAC honors as she earned second-team recognition in 2021 and was a first-team selection last year. She made the first team as the top-ranked league gymnast on uneven parallel bars. The two-time MAC champion on bars will defend her title on Saturday from the anchor position in the NIU bars line-up. 

The bars and balance beam specialist Al-Ashari was named to the All-MAC squad for the first time. She is ranked second in the MAC on bars behind Hamp. Al-Ashari is third in the league on balance beam and anchors the Huskies’ beam line-up.

For the third time in the last five years, NIU sees two Huskies qualify for the All-MAC team. Hamp joins Reyna Gilbert (1999-2001) and Kristina Campos (2003-05) as three-time All-MAC gymnasts.  


Sissi earned a spot on the 2023 Mid-American Conference All-Tournament team following her sixth-place finish at Saturday’s MAC Championships. 

She finished the season with a National Qualifying Score of 39.185 in the all-around and scored a 9.825 or higher on every event during the season. She achieved an all-around score of 39.000 or higher nine times on the year with her season high of 39.325 at Western Michigan on March 4 tied as the 10th-highest all-around score in school history.

“This is a great culmination of Isabella’s season,” said NIU head coach Sam Morreale. “She was an all-arounder for us in every meet and improved throughout the year. I’m super proud of her to achieve this honor as a sophomore. This is just the beginning for her.”