NIU Gymnastics: Huskies want 1st place at MAC Championships

By Steve Shonder

Gymnastics (11-4, 4-2 MAC) is headed to the MAC Championships in hopes of bringing home its first conference championship in the program’s history.

NIU will take its shot at 1 p.m. Saturday in Kent, Ohio. The Huskies have never finished higher than third place at the MAC Championships.

A live stream of the event can be found on and on Kent State’s website,


The Huskies are coming off Sunday’s record-setting meet, where they scored 195.8 to set a school record in total team score. They also put up the second-best floor score, 49.225, in school history.

While the Huskies have been hitting on every event, floor continues to be one of their strongest events. It’s regularly their highest scoring event, and they’re averaging 48.6. All five qualifying scores for the Huskies were 9.825 or higher against the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Sunday. At the MAC Championships, the Huskies will start on floor, giving them a good chance to open the meet with a strong score to build on.

The Huskies have the 42nd-best team average score in the country, and they’ll need a big score Saturday to try to continue their season at the NCAA Regionals. They also have individual gymnasts vying for a spot at regionals.

Gymnasts to watch

Senior Amanda Stepp, reigning MAC gymnast of the week, has been one of NIU’s most consistent gymnasts and is coming off her best meet of the season. She scored 9.9 on floor and vault and 9.85 on beam.

Junior Jaelyn Olsen has been hampered by injuries this season, but she should be ready to perform at her usually high level after getting back onto beam Sunday with a score of 9.775.

The quotes

“This team feels really good about where they’re at,” said head coach Sam Morreale. “To put a four-event meet together like we did last week against Eastern to end the regular season was a great thing. The record was a great thing. This team is still chasing 196, and they want to win MACs. So, they’re going to have to put it all together.”

“I feel good about the fact that we can go into this meet and win,” Morreale said. “Having the success we’ve had against the teams in the league, we can go into the meet confidently. It’s not just me coach-speaking, ‘Hey, we’re going in to win.’

“We are legitimately going in to put a meet together. If we put a meet together, we can win the meet.”