NIU gymnastics starts season off with first MAC win

The+gymnastics+team+celebrates+after+winning+the+program%27s+first+ever+Mid-American+Conference+Championship+March+23%2C+2019%2C+in+DeKalb.

Northern Star File Photo

The gymnastics team celebrates after winning the program’s first ever Mid-American Conference Championship March 23, 2019, in DeKalb.

Wes Sanderdson, Reporter

DeKALB — NIU gymnastics opened up its 2021 competition season this past weekend with three road contests as its hopes of defending the MAC championship began.

Friday, the team traveled to compete in the Tennessee Collegiate Classic, where the team went up against Southeast Missouri State University and Lindenwood University in the triangular meet.

The Huskies posted a team score of 193.100 Friday night in Lebanon, Tennessee, giving the squad a third place finish in the meet. Lindenwood took home the team victory with a final team score of 193.900.

Though the team finished in third, NIU did have multiple individual medalists for its first meet of the season. Sophomore Natalie Hamp won the individual bars competition with a score of 9.825. Seniors Mia Lord and Nicolette DiPrisco also medaled as individuals. Lord finished tied for second on the beam, and DiPrisco took third with her floor routine.

After Friday’s contest the team traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan to compete in its first MAC contest of the season against the Western Michigan Broncos in the team’s first dual meet of the season.

The Huskies came home victorious Sunday with a team victory of 194.250-193.775, giving the defending champs a 1-0 start to its conference schedule.

The team saw a team score differential of 1.150 points from its loss Friday, but the team seems to be trending in the right direction early.

“This is definitely who we are,” NIU Head Coach Sam Morreale said in a news conference. “We still have things to clean up, but I’m so proud of this group.”

Sunday’s results saw many high finishing scores in all four events. Senior Zoie Schroeder tied for first on beam with a 9.850, while first-years Kendall George, Olivia Lynd and junior Morgan Hooper all tied for third in the same event.

On Sunday, Hamp secured her second uneven bars victory of the season with a score of 9.825. Sophomore Brookelyn Sears fell right behind hamp in a tie for second with a 9.775. 

Schroder also took home the individual all-around title in the dual meet with a final point total of 38.875 Sunday. 

The team is looking to build off this  momentum as they host its first home meet of the season at 2 p.m. Sunday when the team hosts the Bowling Green State University Falcons at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb.