NIU gymnastics team sets new school balance beam record in win over Easten Michigan

Maddie Barrett

DeKALB — Gymnastics recorded season-best scores in each event Friday against Eastern Michigan University, finishing with a win and a school record on balance beam.

“We have definitely hit a good stride,” Head Coach Sam Morreale said in an NIU news release. “The team we’ve been talking about since week one is what we saw tonight, and it’s super satisfying to put it all together. We earned it; we felt like we crushed it today.”   

First-year Brookelyn Sears began the meet with a 9.750 on the uneven parallel bars, just under her personal record of 9.800 made at the Jan. 24 meet against Illinois State University. First-year Natalie Hamp scored a 9.850 on the event, beating her career-best of 9.825, also made against ISU.

After the first rotation, EMU sat just behind the Huskies with scores of 48.825-48.750. NIU moved to the vault for its second rotation.

 Junior Mia Lord earned a career-best score on vault with a 9.800. Junior Gabby Welch placed first individually on vault with a 9.825, tying her career-high made at the Feb. 2 meet against Central Michigan University. 

In addition to Lord, junior Zoie Schroeder and sophomore Tara Kofmehl each earned scores of 9.800 on vault to push NIU to its season-best on the event. Their combined vault score was 49.000, and the team’s previous high was 48.900, made at the CMU meet.

The Huskies moved onto the floor exercise for their third rotation, with the scores sitting at 97.825-96.425 and NIU in the lead. 

Kofmehl scored a 9.850 to tie for first on floor exercise, while senior Amanda Bartemio claimed third place overall by with a score of 9.825

NIU finished the third rotation with a score of 146.800, and EMU trailing behind with a score of 145.650. The Huskies then moved onto the balance beam, earning the best score in NIU history at 49.325.

Three Huskies posted career-best scores. Sears earned a 9.800, her previous personal best being a 9.700 made at the Jan. 17 meet against Western Michigan University. Schroeder posted a 9.875 on beam, beating her career-best of 9.850 made at the Jan. 12 Kent State University meet. Senior Allison Richardson also posted a personal best of 9.9000, her previous best made at last season’s Mid-American Conference Championships with a 9.850.

The Huskies’ 49.325 overall score on balance beam topped the 49.275 score earned at last year’s MAC Championships, and they finished with a score of 196.125-194.375, bringing them to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the MAC.

“[Richardson’s] beam was rock star-like, and [Lord] did what she does,” Morreale said in an NIU news release. “I’ve been touting that beam group since day one, and they’re not done. Then we’ve been finding some diamonds in the rough in a couple of places, like [Lord] and [Schroeder] on vault, going up and getting it done. The first kids up [on each event] are sparking us, and overall the entire group is having fun, and that helps too. They were on fire today.”

 NIU will compete again noon Feb. 23 at George Washington University, against GMU, North Carolina State University and Temple University. This meet can be watched live at gwsports.com