Gymnastics team takes fourth at Illinois Quad Meet

The Huskies has a combined team score of 194.475 at the meet.


Zohair Khan

Senior Tara Kofmehl performs on beam during a meet on Feb. 14 against Illinois State University at the Convocation Center in DeKalb. Kofmehl finished her most recent performance against Ball State University Friday with 9.625 on beam and 9.875 on floor. (Zohair Khan | Northern Star)

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

The women’s gymnastics squad finished fourth in the final quad meet of the season. The Huskies competed against the University of Illinois, Boise State University and Central Michigan University at the U of I Quad Meet Friday in Champaign.

NIU earned an overall score of 194.475. Their score finished short of Illinois’ 197.125, Boise State’s 196.550 and Central Michigan’s 196.275.

How it happened

The Huskies began the event on uneven parallel bars. Junior Natalie Hamp had the highest finish for NIU, scoring 9.875 to tie for eighth place amongst all performers at that event. Boise State fifth-year Emily Muhlenhaupt earned the highest score on bars with a 9.975.

NIU then took to the balance beam for their second event of the night. Freshman Ellery Werner earned a 9.850 for her performance, leading the Huskies and finishing in a tie for ninth overall amongst all performers at beam with Boise State sophomore all-arounder Emily Lopez. Werner’s beam score also tied her career high for her young college career.

Senior Tara Kofmehl took the floor exercise by storm Friday, finishing as the top performer at the event with a 9.925, also tying a career high. Kofmehl’s performance was followed by Illinois sophomore all-around Amelia Knight’s 9.900 score on the overall leaderboard.

The Huskies finished the meet on vault, recording their lowest collective performance compared to the rest of the competition field. Junior Brookelyn Sears earned a 9.975, leading all NIU performers and ending in a four-way tie for 13th overall.

NIU boasted two all-arounders of the four that performed at Thursday’s quad meet. Hooper earned an all-around score of 38.975 and Sears earned a 38.275. The two scores finished in the bottom half of the all-around scores as Illinois junior Mia Takekawa took first with a 39.475 and Central Michigan junior Hannah Demers became the runner-up at 39.250.

Thoughts from coach Morreale

On the team’s overall performance:

“We saw the same thing we’ve seen most of the year,” head coach Sam Morreale said in an NIU Athletics news release. “We had some bright spots, but overall, there were too many misses and too many mistakes.”

On Morgan Hooper’s team-leading all-around performance:

“Morgan has always trained hard, she works hard every day,” Morreale said. “I think as a senior, she’s settling in and enjoying her last go-around instead of pushing too hard and putting pressure on herself. It’s great to see.”

The end result 

NIU now sits at 9-10 overall with a record of 2-3 against opponents from the Mid-American Conference. The Huskies’ losing streak now increases to five with their defeat.

Looking ahead

The Huskies will go on the road to face Eastern Michigan University for the final dual meet of the season on March 13 at 1 p.m. in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

NIU will later return to Ypsilanti the following week on March 19 at 2 p.m. to compete in the MAC Championship with the Eagles.