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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

NIU sophomore gymnast Kiera O’Shea is introduced ahead of the first session of the semifinals round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional on Thursday at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas. O’Shea made her NCAA Regional debut Thursday after battling sickness and injuries during her first two years as a college gymnast. (Courtesy of Meaghan Frazier)

Through illness and injury, O’Shea prospers

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | April 4, 2024

Sophomore gymnast Kiera O’Shea was standing in line March 2 at Jeni’s Ice Creams in Raleigh, North Carolina, waiting to place her order – a scoop of chocolate sheet cake and a scoop of salted peanut butter, adorned with a waffle chip. As she...

NIU sophomore gymnast Kiera O’Shea salutes at the end of her vault routine during the Huskies’ home-opening tri-meet against Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University on Jan. 28 at the Convocation Center. O’Shea was one of two NIU gymnasts to qualify for NCAA Regionals on Monday. (Courtesy of NIU Athletics)

COLUMN: NIU’s keys to breaking through regionals

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | March 28, 2024

In the 43 years since the NCAA introduced women’s gymnastics as a sport in the 1981-82 school year, NIU has sent 36 gymnasts to compete as individuals at NCAA Regionals. Of those 36, NIU hall of famer Sandy Menard is the only Huskie to ever advance...

Then-junior gymnast Alyssa Al-Ashari starts her beam routine at the EMU gymnastics meet on Feb. 17. Al-Ashari was named to the All-MAC second team Tuesday. (Northern Star File Photo)

Al-Ashari, O’Shea named to All-MAC Second Team

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | March 19, 2024

DeKALB – NIU gymnastics senior Alyssa Al-Ashari and sophomore Kiera O’Shea received All-MAC recognition for 2024 after both were named to the All-MAC Second Team announced by the conference office Tuesday.  “We are super excited for both...

Junior gymnast Isabella Sissi swings her arms out as she poses during her floor routine. Sissi returned to NIUs lineup Sunday after missing the Huskies home finale on March 10. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

Huskies finish third in Minnesota to close regular season

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | March 18, 2024

Junior Isabella Sissi had long dreamed of competing inside the Maturi Pavillion, the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. “I grew up watching the Gophers my entire childhood,” Sissi said. On Sunday, the Blaine, Minnesota, native...

NIU junior gymnast Isabella Sissi competes on floor during the second rotation of a quad-meet Sunday inside the James T. Valvano Arena at William Neal Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sissi finished second in the all-around with a score of 39.050 as NIU finished third in the meet, behind North Carolina State University and Iowa State University, with a team score of 195.200. (Courtesy of NC State Athletics)

O’Shea vault title lands NIU third place in N.C.

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | March 4, 2024

NIU sophomore gymnast Kiera O’Shea scored her third 9.900 on vault this season as she championed the event at Saturday’s road quad-meet. “I thought it was one of the best vaults that I’ve done this season,” O’Shea said. O’Shea’s...

NIU freshman gymnast Isabella Ross places a crown upon freshman Dawsyn Sallee’s head during the Huskies’ home quad-meet Sunday at the Convocation Center. Sallee received MAC Specialist of the Week honors Tuesday after posting NIU’s highest scores on vault and beam at the meet. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

Sallee named MAC Specialist of the Week

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | February 27, 2024

DeKALB – NIU freshman gymnast Dawsyn Sallee became the first Huskie this season to receive MAC weekly honors Tuesday after being named the conference’s Specialist of the Week. Sallee competed on vault and floor exercise as the Huskies took first...

NIU senior gymnast Alyssa Al-Ashari salutes at the end of her bars routine in the second rotation of the Beauty and the Beast Meet on Feb. 9 at the Convocation Center. Al-Ashari serves as one of the Huskies four team captains while being a consistent standout on the uneven parallel bars and the balance beam. (Totus Tuus Keely | Northern Star)

Alyssa Al-Ashari’s ascent to bar and beam stardom

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | February 26, 2024

Every routine for Alyssa Al-Ashari starts the same way. Once the shamrock green flag waves from the nearby judges table, she gives her opening salute, and takes a deep breath in. As she expels the air from her lungs, the noise around her fades to...

NIU freshman gymnast Dawsyn Sallee salutes at the end of her vault routine during the second rotation of NIUs road meet against Eastern Michigan University on Sunday inside the George Gervin GameAbove Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Sallee scored a 9.850 in the fourth spot of the Huskies vault lineup to match her personal best in the event. (Steve King | EMU Athletics)

Huskies drop EMU rematch despite strong finish

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | February 18, 2024

Six NIU gymnasts placed on their respective events Sunday as the Huskies took a second crack at a MAC foe in enemy territory. Despite their efforts, NIU’s gymnastics squad failed to overcome Eastern Michigan University at Sunday’s MAC meet inside...

Freshman gymnast Isabella Ross poses while her teammates cheer for
her completed routine. NIU gymnastics will face Eastern Michigan University Sunday. (Totus Tuus Keely |
Northern Star)

‘We got a little payback in us’: Huskies ready for rematch with Eagles

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | February 16, 2024

DeKALB – Before she blossomed into NIU gymnastics’ bar star and beam queen, senior Alyssa Al-Ashari got her start in the Great Lake State of Michigan. Nearly halfway into her swansong season at NIU, Al-Ashari’s set to compete in her home state...

Skyler Kisellus (from left), Ethan Gonzales, Emmalise Nock and Dawsyn Sallee sit in a podcast room. All-Star episode 34 discusses NIU gymnastics. (Anna Scanlan | Northern Star)

A sit down with NIU gymnastics

By Ethan Gonzales, Skyler Kisellus, and Anna Scanlan | February 14, 2024

Ethan and Skyler sit down with Emmalise Nock and Dawsyn Sallee with NIU gymnastics. They discuss the ins and outs of the sport, the season so far and life as college athletes. What sport do you want to see next?

NIU gymnasts cheer and head coach Sam Morreale oversees the start of sophomore Kiera O’Shea’s vault routine during Sunday’s dual meet against Kent State University at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio. O’Shea tied for first place on the event after implementing a Yurchenko full-and-a-half into her anchoring routine. (Cadence Pierce | Kent Stater)

Gymnastics falls to flashy Kent State

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter | February 12, 2024

On Sunday, NIU gymnastics sophomore Kiera O’Shea got to showcase a new move on vault: the Yurchenko full-and-half, a move that comes with a start value – or maximum score – of a perfect 10.0. O’Shea took home a 9.875 for her efforts, tying...