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    Illini Ink: Women's Gym Online Journal Week 2

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    Welker-Tshirt_0223.jpgGet behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this year's second edition, senior Hannah Welker talks about the Fall Fun Fest, the team workouts and new additions to Kenney Gym along with revealing the "team word" for the season.

    Hey Illini Fans!

    Holy cow! I cannot believe it is already the middle of September and another great year is underway! Our team is ready and motivated to make this our best year yet. This being my senior year, I am already starting to feel time flying by, but I am so excited and ready to see what this team has to show!

    But before we got down to business this year, and before classes and practices started, we had a little bit of fun with all of the other athletes at the Fall Fun Fest, our annual athlete welcome back event! With a pie eating contest, featuring our very own Sunny Kato, and the dunk tank showcasing Jay's water skills (not necessarily our throwing skills, as we could not hit the target to save our lives), the day was a great time to spend with friends, coaches, and teammates!

    You can check out some pictures from the event here!

    After the beginning of the year events and meetings were over, it was time to hit the gym and the classroom to get this show on the road. For the past few weeks, we have had unofficial practice, so we have been focusing a lot on basics, skills and getting stronger. We've been doing lots of conditioning, which is always tough, but with each other's help, we have been progressing each week! The gym atmosphere is amazing and so positive this year already; I cannot wait to see what it's like once official practice starts this weekend!

    While the attitudes in the gym are better than ever, so are some of our new "additions" to Kenney Gym! This year, we were fortunate enough to get a brand new locker room!! It is absolutely amazing! When you walk through the door, you can't help but feel the Illini pride! There is so much orange and blue lining the walls, from the carpet, to our motivational words along the ceiling; we feel motivated everyday we walk into the gym.

    As I said before, we've been doing lots of preseason conditioning and practices, but while we're not in the gym, we've also been supporting our fellow Illini athletes. This past weekend, all of us girls headed to Memorial Stadium to cheer on our football team as they faced off against South Dakota State. I'm not going to lie, I had never really heard of South Dakota State before they played us, but after that game, I don't think I will ever forget them! The Illini crushed them 56-3 to make their record 2-0 already for the season. Not only did we enjoy the game, but we enjoyed it from the front row of the student section! Second week in a row! It makes the game that much better and makes us feel like we are literally a part of the field. I also enjoy it because we can dance along with the cheerleaders and dancers! And when we're lucky, we can even catch a glimpse of ourselves on the big screen. Pretty cool! Game days are always the best!

    So with so much school spirit buzzing around campus right now and athletic seasons getting underway, we, and all of the other athletes, are just excited to be back on campus! Our team word this year is ACHIEVE, and that is exactly what our goal is.  We are going to achieve what we know we can! We are going to push ourselves as far as we can! And we are going to be united as a team the entire way through! This 2011-2012 Illini team is "14 Strong" 'til the end! From September through April, until that last routine is finished, we are one!

    Keep reading each week to find out more about our team's progress. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook!

    ILL-INI ACHIEVE!

    -Hannah-

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