Illini Ink - 6th Edition

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Liz.jpgGet the inside scoop and peek into the lives of the Illinois Women's Gymnastics team with Illini Ink - the weekly journal that takes you behind the scenes. In this year's 6th edition, junior Elizabeth McNabb discusses the Orange & Blue exhibition, winter break and the team holiday party.  

Hey there Illini Fans!

 Wow, we have a lot to catch up on for all of you Illini Ink readers out there!  We have had a very busy but exciting few weeks here in Champaign.

A few weeks ago we had the chance to get back out on the competition floor in Huff Hall and perform in front of our Illini fans in the Orange and Blue Exhibition!  As Jaclyn explained in our previous Illini Ink, we tried something a little bit different this year.  Instead of having partners and competing against the different teams for the Mixed Pairs Title, we were placed on either the Orange or Blue team to come together and win it as a team! Check out the photo gallery here

While it was very close throughout the entire exhibition, I am happy to say that my team, the Blue Team, came out on top!!  The competition was so close that we had to battle it off at the end of the meet with a tiebreaker, a stick contest.  Each team picked two representatives from both the men's and women's gymnastics team to try to win their team the title.  On the Blue team, I was a representative along with Amber See, Malcolm Brown and Fred Hartville, while the Orange team had Sarah Fiedler, Alina Weinstein, Jordan Valdez and Alex Varga as representatives.  Each member on the blue team stuck their landing while one person took a step on the orange team, allowing the blue team to take the title.  Personally, my favorite part of the competition is when we have other Illinois athletes be the judges for each event.  Not only were there athletes participating as judges in the meet, but also there were different teams in the crowd cheering us on.  It is really exciting to see other athletes come watch us perform and support us in the start of our season.  It was also fun to try a new format and I am really glad I could be a part of possibly a new tradition here at Illinois.

 The week following our Orange and Blue Exhibition, we had our last few days of classes before finals week to wrap up the semester academically.  Even though finals week can be pretty busy, we stayed focused in the gym and practiced really well to continue preparing for season. 

 After we were all finished with finals week, we went our separate ways to see our families at home for the holidays!  While we always enjoy our time at home to visit with friends and family, we couldn't wait to get back to Champaign to see each other.  It is always great to hear about everyone's time at home and to see what they got for Christmas!  Soon after we all returned to campus and got settled in, we were back in Kenney Gym picking up right where we left off before break.  Everyone has been looking great in the gym and we are all eager for season since it is just around the corner!

 Another Illini tradition we have here in Champaign over winter break is our annual Holiday party at Kim's house.  This year Kim surprised the team with a team activity before we went to her house.  We were invited to the house of a huge Illini fan for an ornament scavenger hunt on her Christmas trees.  There were 21 decorated Christmas trees that we searched through to find the ornaments listed on our sheet.  This was a really fun team activity for the holidays and it also gave us a chance to visit with an Illini faithful!

 From there, we drove over to Kim's house for dinner and our white elephant gift exchange.  There were some pretty funny gifts including bowling shoes, a doughnut coaster, a princess sticker kit, and even a dancing elf hat that sang Christmas carols.   We always have so much fun finding out what everyone has gifted for each other plus it made for some good photos

 Lately we have all been working really hard in the gym to make our last minute tweaks before starting season this weekend!  We will be traveling to the University of Arizona where we will be competing in a quad meet against Arizona, Stanford and San Jose State.  We are so excited to get season started!

 Stay tuned for next time with the Illinois Gymnastics Team!

Go Illini!

 ~ Liz

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