NIU gymnastics: Huskies knock down school scoring record

By Steve Shonder

What happened

Gymnastics (11-4, 4-2 MAC) set a new school record for team total score Sunday at the Convocation Center, as it scored 195.8. The previous high, 195.65, was reached at the Illinois Classic on March 23, 2003.

In breaking the nearly 12-year-old record, the Huskies managed to close out their regular season with a home win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles (13-4, 3-3 MAC), who scored 195.525.

How it happened

The Huskies got off to a solid start on vault, scoring 48.9, which was capped off by senior Amanda Stepp tying her career-high of 9.9. Freshman Andie Van Voorhis scored 9.8.

On uneven bars, the Huskies scored 48.8 and were led by sophomore Jamyra Carter’s 9.8, which was the second-highest score in the event. Carter was just behind Eastern Michigan freshman Kendall Valentin’s 9.875 as the Eagles scored 48.975 on bars.

After trailing the Eagles by just .075 through two events, NIU used a strong performance on beam to catch up, scoring 48.875. Sophomore Megan Greenfield earned a 9.825 while Stepp scored 9.85, which was good for third and second in the event, respectively.

Floor, which has been the Huskies’ best event all season, is where they managed to turn it on.

The Huskies got off to a hot start on floor behind senior Shelby Davis’ career-high score of 9.825 and kept it going. Stepp wrapped up the event with a career-high score of 9.9. All five of the Huskies’ qualifying scores were in the top-five scores for floor.

NIU finished the event with 49.25, which is the second-highest event score in school history.

Eastern Michigan scored 48.8 on floor and finished the meet with a score of 48.95 on beam.

The quotes

“It’s been our goal since day one of preseason to break that record,” Stepp said. “It was amazing. I don’t think anyone has ever been happier.”

“Honestly, all four of our events were strong today,” said head coach Sam Morreale. “Having an event you can finish a meet on like that is huge. Our kids have a lot of confidence in what they can do, and [Sunday] we landed really well. When you give the judges not a lot to take away, it makes life much better.”

“We’ve been hitting our stride since the Bowling Green meet; we’ve just had a couple bumps along the way,” Morreale said. “These guys are doing their work everyday in practice. We feel really good about where we’re at going into the Championships, and we’re going to win.”

Spring break recap

In their previous meet, the Huskies finished in second place at the State of Illinois Classic on March 7 at the Convocation Center. The Huskies scored 194.35, while the first place Illinois Fighting Illini scored 196.275. Stepp and Greenfield scored 9.9 on vault, which tied them for fourth all-time in NIU history.