DeKALB — Huskie gymnastics’ schedule has been set for the season and released to the public. It will be facing teams inside and outside its conference.
NIU will compete against 11 teams in total with four regular season meets.
“We’ve learned and we’ve created a pretty good travel system, so I feel like we compete on the road pretty well,” Head Coach Sam Morreale said. “I don’t think that’ll hurt us other than the fact that we have less opportunity to show campus what we can do.”
Gymnastics is coming off a season that included the 2019 Mid-American Conference Championship and two NCAA qualifying performers. Junior Mia Lord and former Huskie Anna Martucci traveled to the 2019 NCAA Championships April 5 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Huskies will look to improve on their 13-7 record from the 2018-19 season. Lord says the team is setting the bar high, thanks to a championship season in 2019.
“I think last year it might’ve been like ‘wow look how good NIU is doing,’ but I think definitely they’re expecting that greatness from us,” Lord said. “I think we’re definitely putting the pressure on ourselves to stay ready and prove that we can do everything we did last year again.”
Lord received a score of 9.900 on balance beam at the MAC Championships, making her a key performer in winning the meet for NIU for the first time in gymnastics school history. Lord also received a 9.800 on beam at the NCAA Championships, the Huskies’ second-best regional score on balance beam all-time.
“I think [achieving my goal] is just about putting the work in at the gym,” Lord said. “Making sure I get those numbers in and don’t count anything less than my best. I think the more I do that the more confident I’ll be.”
The Red Black Intrasquad scrimmage will be 6 p.m Nov. 22 at Victor E. Court. The Huskies then travel to compete against Kent State University to begin their official season. The meet is at noon Jan. 12 in Kent, Ohio.
“I’m super encouraged and positive about what I’ve seen so far and where we are,” Morreale said. “We will learn a lot more at the intrasquad meet coming up since we’re bringing in actual judges and it’ll be realistic. For the most part that’s the next real step.”
The team will pair up with NIU wrestling to put on the annual Beauty and The Beast Meet when it will compete against Western Michigan University 6 p.m Jan. 17 in the Convocation Center.
The team will then travel to take on Illinois State University, its first non-conference meet of the season. The Huskies shut out the Redbirds last season in two separate meets, winning 195.750 to 195.075 March 1, and 193.350 to 192.050 March 9. The meet starts 7 p.m Jan. 24 in Normal.
The Huskies compete against the Central Michigan University Chippewas 1 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Convocation Center. NIU will then take on Eastern Michigan University 5 p.m. Feb. 7 in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
NIU will then compete in another non-conference meet when it participates in the George Washington Quad Meet against North Carolina State University, Temple University and George Washington University.
For the team’s last invite of the season, it will travel for a meet 7 p.m Feb 28 in Nashville, Tennessee against Southeast Michigan State University.
The Huskies will be back at home 1 p.m March 1 in the Convocation Center against Ball State University.
NIU will take on its last non-conference competition of the season 6 p.m. March 6 at the Convocation Center against Illinois State.
The Huskies will close regular season competition 1 p.m. March 14 in Bowling Green, Ohio, against Bowling Green State University.
The 2020 MAC Championships are set for 1 p.m. March 21 in Kalamazoo, Michigan as the Huskies will attempt to retain their conference title.
“We have expectations and goals that we set for ourselves,” Morreale said. “The pressure would come from the fact that everybody else will probably expect the same results from us, but I don’t know that that’s our pressure.”