Ball State narrowly defeats NIU on senior night

Junior Mia Lord performs a beam rountine March 1 during NIU's meet against Southeast Missouri State University at the Convocation Center.

DeKALB — The NIU gymnastics team narrowly lost its senior meet Sunday by a score of 195.750 to Ball State’s 195.800. 

The Huskies were coming off a loss Friday against Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast Missouri won the meet 195.800-194.775, bringing the Huskies’ record to 4-5 for the season overall. 

The team recorded the fourth-highest team score in school history on vault with a 49.025. Senior Amanda Bartemio led the team with a new personal record of 9.875, beating her previous score of 9.850 at last season's March 23 Mid-American Conference Championships.

“Mentally [the gymnasts] approach a double-meet weekend [as] it’ll be so hard or it’s gonna tear them up physically,” Head Coach Sam Morreale said. “But it really doesn’t. I feel like the more times we compete this time of year, the better and sharper we get.”

Junior Mia Lord started the Huskies off on vault with a score of 9.775, just under her personal best of 9.800 made at the Feb. 7 Eastern Michigan University meet. 

Junior Gabby Welch and seniors Bartemio and Cinny Lamberti earned a score of 9.800 on vault. All gymnasts earned scores over 9.750, bringing the Huskies’ overall score to 48.950 after the first rotation. 

The Cardinals sat in second place with a score of 48.875 after competing on the uneven parallel bars. Ball State junior Arden Hudson and first-year Grace Evans scored a 9.825 in the event. 

For the second rotation, the Huskies moved to the uneven parallel bars while the Cardinals moved to the vault. 

Senior Lauren Gomes began the rotation with a score of 9.725 on the uneven parallel bars. Bartemio scored a 9.850, beating her previous personal record of 9.825 made against Ball State Feb. 25, 2018. 

According to Morreale, Bartemio had the green light to compete on bars two weeks ago, but after one exhibition Friday against SMSU, she earned her spot in the lineup. 

“She took [the exhibition] like a trooper,” Morreale said. “She took it as, ‘Alright, I’m gonna get in on Friday and I’m gonna hit to earn my shot.’ And she earned her shot. That’s just the type of kid [Bartemio] is. She’s a competitor.”

At the beginning of the third rotation, NIU sat just behind Ball State with a score of 97.800-9.875. The Huskies competed on the balance beam, while the Cardinals competed on the floor exercise. 

Junior Catherine Biddle began on the balance beam with a 9.700, and Lamberti earned a 9.775. 

Sophomore Morgan Hooper earned a 9.825, just under her personal record of 9.875 made at the Feb. 1, 2019 NIU Quad meet. 

All gymnasts earned a 9.700 or higher on the balance beam. NIU scored 146.675 overall after the third rotation. Going into the final rotation, the Huskies were in second place while the Cardinals, earning a 147.025, sat in first place. 

Gomes started the Huskies out on the floor exercise, earning a 9.625. Hooper earned a 9.850, placing second overall under Ball State junior Claudia Goyco, who earned a 9.925.

“I’m pretty happy with our day today,” Morreale said. “I’ll take a 195.750 and see where that ends us in most meets. We’ll see Ball State again [this season], and we’ll get after them.”

NIU finished with an overall score of 195.750-195.800, making their record 4-6 overall, Ball State being its sixth loss this season. 

The Huskies compete again 6 p.m. at the Convocation Center against Illinois State University.

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