Jan. 17, 2013
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Former GymHawk Jessa Hansen sits down with sophomore Jessica Morreale. In the 2013 season opener, Morreale won the beam title with a 9.825 against Ball State (1/11/13). In 2012, Morreale competed on the beam and vault on four occasions, scoring career highs on both events against Iowa State (1/27/12). Morreale won the title on beam against Iowa State with a 9.850 and earned a career high 9.775 on the vault. Morreale missed the last seven meets due to a knee injury.
What is your first gymnastics memory?
“Trying to learn a kip. It seems like the easiest skill now, but back then it was such a milestone. Our coach told us he would give the first person to make a kip five dollars. Unfortunately, I didn’t win five dollars that day.”
What is your favorite place in Iowa City?
“The downtown area is beautiful all year. Whether it is in the summer or winter, the area is inviting. It is a great place to walk around with friends, food, fresh air and laughter.”
What is your favorite food?
“Thai, Chinese food and sushi. That type of food is great for a movie night with friends and even better for an expensive date out with the family.”
What is your favorite movie?
“Movies from the 90’s. Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption, Goodfellas, and I also love comedies. There’s nothing better than a good laugh!”
Who are your favorite musical artists?
“RHCP and Dave Matthews Band. I’ve seen RHCP in concert twice and Dave Matthews Band once, and they give me chills the more I see them. Their music lifts me up, mellows me out, pumps me up and gets me through the hard times. I can listen to them anytime of the day, whether I’m studying, working out or just relaxing. They are the greatest bands!”
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you like to visit?
“Sicily, Rome and Greece. I have heard so many wonderful things about the sightseeing in Rome and Greece. I would love to experience the amazing sites and the history in each place. Sicily is where my family is from, so visiting there is something I have always wanted to do.”
What are your goals for 2013?
“Giving my all in both academics and athletics. I would like to get a 3.7 or higher GPA, compete in the all-around and be crowned the beam champ for the second year in a row against Iowa State.”
Why did you choose to attend the University of Iowa?
“Gymnastics. It is everything I had hoped for, including the girls on the team, the coaches and the atmosphere that surrounds me each and every day.”
What has being at Iowa taught you?
“Being here has taught me a lot about growing up and being on my own. Being at Iowa has taught me responsibility and management of my time and money. I also learned how much fun being in college is. I have met so many wonderful people and made so many memories with my team and friends.”
What are your pre-meet rituals?
“Blaring my favorite pump up music, RHCP! I make sure to eat a good breakfast and keep my mind off of the meet until an hour before, and then I focus in.”
Who is the most influential person in your life?
“Both of my parents. They are truly always right.”
What is your ideal career?
“A travel journalist. This career combines everything that I love in life. I enjoy writing to its fullest extent — for school, for fun, for anything! Writing, along with having the thrill of traveling, seeing new things and sharing my experiences with everyone would be a dream come true.”
What is your favorite thing about gymnastics road trips?
“Everything. The memories, team bonding, killing time on the bus, making music videos, Which-Wich sandwiches and taking down the other team in their own gym.”
What is your most memorable gymnastics moment?
“Going on the Region 5 All-Star trip to Slovenia and Venice. It was one of the best and most memorable experiences in my life. We had the opportunity to practice with and be coached by great Slovenian people. The experience taught me a lot about the things I take for granted in my own gym and how every little thing counts.”
What has it been like coming back from a torn ACL?
“Pushing through my first injury in my first year of college was one of the hardest obstacles that I have ever faced in gymnastics, and even in life. The strength I had to gain both mentally and physically through the recovery process was incredible. Coming back from this injury has made me a stronger gymnast, a stronger competitor and a stronger human being. Looking back at it now, I have even more awareness of my gymnastics, I have a stronger mind in the gym, and I have really learned that what I have is extremely valuable, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my team!”
What is one word that describes you?
“Two words: strong-willed and independent.”
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