NIU gymnastics wins first MAC meet


Coach Sam Morreale talks to the team before the practice round on the uneven parallel bars in the meet againt Ball State at Victor E. Court Saturday night.

By Matt Hopkinson

It seemed a foregone conclusion as a loss. Behind Ball State’s abysmal beam and a red-hot floor score, NIU gymnastics won its first MAC meet.

As Ball State (1-4, MAC 0-3) headed into its beam event, NIU (2-3, MAC 1-1) was set to leave it all on the floor, literally, as it trailed by more than a point.

The Cardinals, however, would have five of their six participants fall on the beam, to post a score of 45.875.

“We had some really outstanding performances the first three events,” said Ball State coach Nadalie Walsh. “We’ve actually been really solid on beam; it’s one of those things as a coach where you don’t know what happened.”

To counter that, NIU posted a season-high 48.875 on floor, led by senior Tanya Rachan with a 9.85.

“It feels awesome,” Rachan said. “I kind of had to redeem myself. I didn’t plan on falling on beam but I went all out.”

NIU posted season-highs on floor, beam and vault, but still struggled a little bit with bars.

“We train well on bars, we have good depth,” said NIU coach Sam Morreale. “It’s just a matter of the kids coming out and doing what they do every day.”

NIU was led by seniors Shonda Clore and Ashley Guerra, both hitting on all of their routines. Clore posted scores of 9.725, 9.650 and 9.750 on vault, beam, and bars respectively. Guerra posted a 9.775 on bars and a 9.675 on beam.

“Shonda had a great day, Guerra had another good day,” Morreale said. “Our freshmen are really stepping up as well. We’re right there to being the team we want to be. Getting a win in the MAC was huge for us.”