Annual Intrasquad Meet Provides Valuable Experience

Annual Intrasquad Meet Provides Valuable Experience

DeKALB, Illinois – The 2023 Northern Illinois University gymnastics team got its first taste of meet conditions Tuesday night as the Huskies welcomed fans to Victor E. Court for the Annual Red-Black Intrasquad Meet.

While the Black team claimed a 189.8-188.6 win on the scoreboard, 12th-year head coach Sam Morreale said the event is worth so much more to the team, whose season begins on January 8.

“This is probably the most valuable thing we can do in the preseason to get us ready for January,” Morreale said. “We can gain so much from this. The reason we do this is we’re in a different venue, we have a real crowd. It changes the feeling when you have other people watching.”

In front of the crowd and judges, Morreale saw strong performances from the most veteran Huskies to the newest. Two-time NCAA qualifier and MAC Champion on uneven parallel bars Natalie Hamp was in mid-season form, scoring a 9.8 on her specialty to win the event. That bar’s score was matched by junior Alyssa Al-Ashari, who also took first on balance beam with a 9.7 mark. Sophomore Isabella Sissi won floor exercise with a 9.8 and posted a 38,700 in the all-around with top five finishes in all four events.

“We were able to field two full teams tonight, which we don’t always get to do at this meet,” Morreale said. “That’s a great place to be from a numbers standpoint. The more competition you have, the better it is to raise everyone’s level. This is a great measuring stick that gives us specific things to work on as we move into December. Overall, I was really happy with today.”

Five Huskie freshmen made their NIU Convocation Center debuts, including Samantha Nickle, who won vault with a 9.75 and matched that score on bars. She added a 9.65 on floor exercise for a third Top 5 finish on the night. Fellow freshman Kiera O’Shea recorded top five finishes on both vault and beam, scoring 9.6 and 9.65, respectively, on those events.

“Samantha Nickle is who I thought she’d be,” Morreale said. “She can challenge to be an all-arounder for us and can go 9.8 plus on all four events. Kiera O’Shea stepped up today on all four events and Hannah Drielick is going to be super solid on beam.”

Morreale also saw returnees show improvement across the board, including sophomore Jenna Blair and senior Ciara Ryan, a vault specialist over the past two years now challenging for spots on multiple events. She took second on vault (9.7), tied for second on beam (9.65) and was third on floor exercise (9.7) Tuesday.

The Huskies open the 2023 regular season on Sunday, January 8 at 2 pm (CT) in the NIU Convocation Center. Admission to all home NIU gymnastics meets is free.


November 22, 2023

TEAM SCORE Vault Bars Beam Floor TOTAL
Ed 47,700 45,650 47,950 47,300 188,600
Black 47,800 47,350 45,350 48,300 189,800



1 Samantha Nickle 9.75
2 Ciara Ryan 9.7
3 Kiera O’Shea 9.6
Emmalise Nock 9.6
5 Olivia Lynd 9.55
Isabella Sissi 9.55
Emma Brkjacic 9.55




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