3 gymnasts participate in NCAA Tournament

Al-Ashari scored 9.925 on the beam, the highest score by an NIU gymnast in NCAA Regional competition.


Mingda Wu

Junior gymnast Alyssa Al-Ashari starting her beam routine at the EMU gymnastics meet in February. Al-Ashari earned 9.850 for her beam performance. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

The NIU gymnastics team saw three of its players participate in the NCAA Denver Regional on March 31 at the University of Denver. 

Huskies regional participants were junior Alyssa Al-Ashari, senior Natalie Hamp and sophomore Emmalise Nock. 

“Super proud of these three,” said NIU head coach Sam Morreale via NIU Athletics. “They went out there and did what they do which is perform at the highest level. It goes back to their training, and to their dedication to their training. They are all very, very good at what they do, and it was great to see them show that here.”

Al-Ashari earned a top-three finish and tied her career high on the balance beam, which led the Huskies contingent. She scored a 9.925 on the beam which is the highest score by an NIU gymnast in NCAA Regional competition. 

Nock closed out the third rotation of the meet with a 9.875 on floor exercise. Her score tied for the best floor exercise by a Huskie in regionals competition. 

“Alyssa’s beam routine and Emmalise’s floor were really, really good,” Morreale said. “Alyssa’s performance speaks to her ability, to [Associate Head Coach and beam coach] Nita [Teague] and to all the preparation and work she’s put in.  Same with Emmalise, it was good to see her routine get rewarded with a score. Both of them settled in, they weren’t overwhelmed in their first NCAA Regional and I was super proud of what they were able to do and how they represented themselves.”

Hamp closed out her Huskie career on the bars scoring a 9.725 in her final routine. She participated in her third and final NCAA Regional appearance. 

“This puts a cap on Natalie’s legacy on bars and her NIU legacy,” Morreale said. “I could not be prouder of everything she’s done for NIU gymnastics and NIU Athletics. She has helped me become a better coach.”