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Illini Ink: Erin Buchanan

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lini Ink - The yearly journal that takes you behind the scenes of the Illinois women's gymnastics team. In this season's 12th edition, freshman Erin Buchanan recaps the last few meets, previews Gym Jam, and talks about gaining momentum heading into the postseason. 

Hello Illini Fans!

What a busy and memorable few weeks it's been for Illini gymnastics!  On Friday, February 21st we won the State of Illinois Classic for the seventh straight time, highlighted by Amber's outstanding 10.0 on vault.  Amber is only the third gymnast in Illini history to score a perfect 10, and this feat led to a team vault total of 49.425 - the highest vault score in school history!  Additionally, event titles were won by three different gymnasts - Amber's fourth vault title of the season, Sunny won her fourth beam title of the season, and Giana took home her second career all-around title by tying her career high of 39.275.  Also exciting for all of us was Mary Jane making her collegiate debut and leading the team on bars with a score of 9.875.

Less than 30 hours after winning the Classic, the Illini took the floor at Huff Hall on the afternoon of Sunday, February 23rd to take on #19 Central Michigan and #23 Ohio State, determined to make a statement.  After starting strong on vault, our bars rotation put the Illini in the lead with Sunny winning the title with a 9.90.  Our beam rotation served to increase our lead over CMU and OSU where Giana led the team with a career-high 9.90.  The Illini's floor rotation sealed the victory with Jordan tying her career high score of 9.80, Kelsi tying her career high score of 9.825, and Amber taking the title with a near perfect score of 9.95.  Sarah took second place in the all-around where she tied her career high score of 39.20.  It was an outstanding team performance that resulted in a score of 196.775 - our highest score of the season and the second highest in school history!

This past Friday we visited Norman, Oklahoma to take on the second-ranked Sooners, where we looked to continue our winning ways and return to Champaign with another victory!  Although we made a very respectable showing with Giana winning her third all-around title of the year and Sarah placing second, we were unable to take down the Sooners on their home floor.  We did, however, move up two spots in the national rankings to #13!

This Saturday afternoon we take the floor at Huff Hall along with the men's team for our annual Gym Jam.  The women will take on Lindenwood and the men will host UIC.  This is also Senior Day where our seniors will compete in their final meet in Huff Hall - we truly want it to be memorable for them!   

We are now hitting a critical point in our season.  We have a lot of momentum and determination heading into the final few meets of the regular season and the B1G Championships where we hope to improve our position for the NCAAs.  We are all confident that we will make our Illini fans proud!  This season has been great thus far and we want to finish in a big way!  Come be a part of it on Saturday!

Go Illini!

Erin

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