Gymnastics claims first ever MAC Championship


The gymnastics team celebrates after winning the program’s first ever Mid-American Conference Championship on March 23.

By Maddie Barrett

DeKALB — For the first time in program history, the gymnastics team is Mid-American Conference Champions. The Huskies beat out Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, Eastern Michigan, Ball State and Western Michigan with an overall score of 195.975.

While grabbing the team win over conference rivals, many Huskies were able to pick up individual awards along the way

Senior Anna Martucci won MAC specialist of the year for the second year in a row while sophomore Mia Lord took home MAC individual beam champion.

Martucci and Lord were both named to the All-MAC Tournament Team, shortly after being named to the All-MAC first and second team respectively.

Head Coach Sam Morreale won his second career coach of the year award. He also thanks assistant coaches Chris Weiss and Dawnita Teague.

Head Coach Morreale said he couldn’t have won the award alone, and that it was an amazing award to win.

“[It feels] awesome,” said Morreale.“That’s definitely a group effort, I can’t win that myself. I have a great staff between [Assistant Coach Chris Weiss] and [Assistant Coach Dawnita Teague], and that to me is just icing on the cake among all this other stuff.”

The competition consisted of seven rotations, each team competing in all four events. The Huskies sat out the first rotation, beginning in the second on the Floor exercise.

On the floor exercise, the Huskies placed first and posted an overall score of 49.300 just under the school record of 49.425 for the event. Ball State trailed close behind with a score of 49.150.

Martucci tied for first on floor with three other gymnasts. Among these leaders were Eastern Michigan junior Emili Dobronics and Kent State sophomore Abby Fletcher and junior Jade Brown all with the score of 9.900.

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Martucci said many emotions were felt during the entire MAC championships meet.

“There were tears rolling the entire time,” Martucci said. “Every single girl went out there and did her best routine. The emotions back there were crazy, well deserved and very well warranted.”

The Huskies sat out rotation three, and began rotation four on the vault. The Huskies finished third with a score of 48.725, tying with Eastern Michigan. Junior Amanda Bartemio placed fourth in the event with her score of 9.825. Junior Cinny Lamberti placed eighth with a score of 9.800.

Winning the event and earning the title of MAC individual vault champion was Central Michigan junior Denelle Pedrick with a score of 9.900.

After sitting out rotation five, the Huskies moved onto uneven parallel bars in rotation six of the meet. Winning this event overall was senior Gianna Plaska of Central Michigan with a score of 9.850.

First-year Morgan Hooper led the Huskies with a fourth-place finish and score of 9.825. NIU finished third on bars with a score of 48.675.

The Huskies competed in their final event, the balance beam, during rotation six.

NIU won the event with a score of 49.275. Lord won the event with a score of 9.900, giving her the shared title of 2019 MAC individual beam champion with Bowling Green junior Jovannah East.

Lord said she plays with a team-first mentality.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Lord said. “I don’t strive for those individual goals; I’m very team-oriented. Anything I achieve as an individual is just a bonus. I feel incredible that I was able to go out there and have fun, and this is what came from it.”

Gymnastics has been dominated by the Central Michigan Chippewas, who have won 16 titles since 1981, but the Huskies broke through to claim their first program MAC Championship.