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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Gymnastics grounds Falcons in MAC opener

Huskies earn first road win behind complete team effort
Mingda Wu
Then-sophomore Emmalise Nock poses during her floor routine at an NIU gymnastics home meet on Feb. 17, 2023 at the Convocation Center. Nock tied for second place with NIU freshman Mikayla Brown on the floor exercise event to lead the Huskies to a victory over Bowling Green State University on Saturday. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

Six different Huskies earned podium finishes as NIU gymnastics earned its first victory of the season in the first meet of its MAC competition schedule.

NIU (1-2-1) outperformed conference rival Bowling Green State University (0-2) on three of four events to defeat the Falcons 194.050-193.000 at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.

“Overall, super happy with the day,” said NIU gymnastics head coach Sam Morreale. “Definitely an improvement from last week, not only in score but how we competed and how we carried ourselves through the meet.”

For the second-straight meet, senior Alyssa Al-Ashari was the highest-scoring Huskie of the meet in any event. Al-Ashari championed the uneven parallel bars with a 9.850 as NIU’s anchor and finished in a five-way tie for third on the balance beam with a 9.750.

“It’s really easy to follow five other hits,” Al-Ashari said on her bars routine. “It wasn’t anything crazy. I just trusted my training, and I went up there and did what I do every day in practice.”

Freshman Mikayla Brown and junior Emmalise Nock matched each other’s team-best floor exercise scores of 9.775 to finish tied-second. 


Three of NIU’s podium finishers came from NIU’s sophomore class. Hannah Drielick scored a 9.775 at the No. 4 spot on NIU’s bars lineup to claim third-place honors. Kiera O’Shea anchored NIU on vault with a 9.800, tying for second place.

Saturday’s meet was especially significant for Samantha Nickle, who set a new career-best on beam in her first start of the season. Nickle’s 9.750 on the event tied for second, beating her previous best of 9.700 from last year’s road opener at Iowa State University.


NIU began the meet on bars, where O’Shea led off with 9.525. Brown followed up with a 9.675. Nock and junior Isabella Sissi each added a 9.475.

In the second rotation, NIU put together a strong vault performance as five of six Huskies scored 9.700 or higher.. NIU’s team score of 48.775 on vault was its highest event score of the meet.

The Huskies advanced to the floor exercise event and accounted for four of the event’s top five performers. Junior Alana Anderson kicked off the event for NIU with a 9.575 floor routine. Freshman Isabella Ross received a 9.750 in the lineup’s third spot to earn fourth place. 

NIU capped the day off on the beam, starting with senior Kendall George’s 9.625. Ross and junior Ellery Werner earned scores of 9.550 and 9.525 for their respective routines.

The Huskies will have a short turnaround to prepare for Friday’s Tennessee Collegiate Classic in Lebanon, Tennessee.

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