Morreale says retaining MAC title, NCAA regional appearance are goals for this season

Alumna+Anna+Martucci+performs+her+routine+on+the+beam+March+28+during+NIU%27s+the+Beauty+and+the+Beast+competition+at+the+Convocation+Center.

Alumna Anna Martucci performs her routine on the beam March 28 during NIU's the Beauty and the Beast competition at the Convocation Center.

Maddie Barrett

DeKALB — Gymnastics has an action-packed season ahead as it prepares to keep the Mid-American Conference championship trophy in DeKalb.

The team is coming off a season that includes two NCAA qualifying performances.

Junior Mia Lord and Alumna Anna Martucci traveled April 5 to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the 2019 NCAA Regional Championships. Lord worked the balance beam, and Marrtucci participated in the floor routines.

“We have expectations and goals that we set for ourselves,” Head Coach Sam Morreale said. “The pressure would come from the fact that everybody else will probably expect the same results from us, but I don’t know that that’s our pressure.”

Morreale said one of the team’s goals is to repeat on its MAC Championship title and to make an appearance in the 2020 NCAA Regional Championships.

Lord received a score of 9.900 on the balance beam at the MAC Championships, making her a key performer in winning the meet for NIU for the first time in program history.

Lord also received a 9.800 on beam at the NCAA Championships, the Huskies’ second-best regional score on balance beam.

“My personal goals are obviously to help contribute to the team as much as possible,” Lord said. “I want to try and get a couple more event lineups this year, so that should be exciting, [help] take the team to another MAC Championship and another regional this year.”

Senior Amanda Bartemio was also a key competitor at the MAC Championships last season, scoring a 9.850 on vault.

Bartemio’s performance on vault was her best score of the 2018-19 season, aside from the March 15 meet against Central Michigan University, where she met the same mark.

“I definitely want to get a couple of tenths better on every single event,” Bartemio said. “I would love to gain an extra few tenths better on beam and contribute on beam whether it be in line up or exhibition; that would be my goal.”

Balance beam was Bartemio’s lowest-scoring event of the 2019 season, with 9.650 as her highest in a meet against UIC.

“[The biggest challenge will be] not resting or settling for those results from last year but really striving hard to recreate them and to build that same body of work. The challenge is not feeling like we’re MAC champs but still trying to improve now that we’re MAC champs.”

Gymnastics will open its season 6 p.m Nov. 22 at Victor E. Court with an Intrasquad meet.