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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

O’Shea vault title lands NIU third place in N.C.

Gymnastics earns fourth 195-plus score of 2024
NC State Athletics
NIU junior gymnast Isabella Sissi competes on floor during the second rotation of a quad-meet Sunday inside the James T. Valvano Arena at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sissi finished second in the all-around with a score of 39.050 as NIU finished third in the meet, behind North Carolina State University and Iowa State University, with a team score of 195.200. (Courtesy of NC State Athletics)

NIU sophomore gymnast Kiera O’Shea scored her third 9.900 on vault this season as she championed the event at Saturday’s road quad-meet.

“I thought it was one of the best vaults that I’ve done this season,” O’Shea said.

O’Shea’s feat helped NIU (8-10-1, 1-4 MAC) score 195.200 as a team to finish third at the N.C. State Quad-Meet inside the James T. Valvano Arena at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Meet host and 21st-ranked North Carolina State University (9-4, 6-0 ACC) successfully defended home with the meet’s top score 197.000. Iowa State University (7-9, 2-2 B12) took second with a score of 196.700. Temple University (9-12, 1-2 AAC) finished last with a 194.425.

Saturday marked the third time in four meets NIU has posted a team score of 195.000 or better.

“I’m super happy with our day,” said NIU gymnastics head coach Sam Morreale. “It’s hard to travel like we did. It’s a later meet in the day, so it changes our dynamic just a little bit, but I’m super proud of how the kids did compete.”

Still, Morreale felt end-of-routine miscues held NIU back from the scoring range the Huskies have spent most of the season chasing.

“I just felt like this week, compared to our last meet, we gave away a little more on our landings,” Morreale said. “So if we had that up across the four events, it probably would have put us a little closer to that 196 range.”


NIU began the afternoon on the beam, an event the Huskies haven’t started a meet in all season. Senior Alyssa Al-Ashari posted a 9.850 in the fifth spot, tying for fourth place in the event.

“I think starting on beam was helpful because it was different for us,” freshman Isabella Ross said. “And we were able to show that we can still hit, especially with the pressure of our most scary event.”

The Huskies then advanced to the floor, where they received their best event score of the day. NIU produced a 49.100 as four of its five counting scores were 9.800 or better. Junior Emmalise Nock anchored NIU with a score of 9.875, good for fifth place.

In the third rotation, NIU took to the vault, where it put up its second-best event total of the meet. Freshman Dawsyn Sallee supported O’Shea’s title-winning routine with a 9.775.

NIU concluded the meet with its lowest-scoring event – a 48.475 on bars. Al-Ashari scored 9.850 as NIU’s anchor to tie with N.C. State graduate student Alexis Ortega for fifth place. Junior Isabella Sissi turned in a 9.750 to help her finish second in the all-around with a 39.050.

With the regular season entering its final stages, Morreale feels his team is on the right scoring track as the MAC Championships draw closer.

“This is kind of where we need to be,” Morreale said. “So it wasn’t one of our better days, but we still topped that 195.000, which is awesome.”


The Huskies now shift their focus to next weekend as they return to DeKalb for their 2024 home finale. NIU will host Ball State University (12-4, 3-1 MAC) at 2 p.m. Sunday as NIU prepares to send off its five seniors on high note in their final meet inside the Convocation Center. 

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