Illini Ink: Gaby Nguyen

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Gaby.jpglini Ink - The yearly journal that takes you behind the scenes of the Illinois women's gymnastics team. In this season's 13th edition, junior Gaby Nguyen talks setting the school record at Gym Jam and the squad's experience at the Big Ten Championships. 

Hey Illini fans!

It's been a super exciting past few weeks for us! Four weekends ago, we had our last home meet of the season against Lindenwood.  It was our first time competing with the men's team in Huff Hall this year, which always makes the atmosphere louder and more fun!  Also, it was the Illini Gymnastics Alumni reunion; so previous championship teams were recognized at the meet.  It was so interesting to talk to former Illini gymnasts and learn about their experiences at Illinois.  It is crazy how much the program has grown since they were on the team here!  Also, it was senior night, so we were able to celebrate our three wonderful seniors Sarah, Liz and Amber's athletic careers.  Of course, it's always sentimental for them to compete for the last time in Huff Hall, but we still have the rest of season with them, so we tried very hard to hold back all the tears during the senior presentations.

  At this competition, we broke multiple records, both school and individual! As a team, we broke the all-time team total school record with a 197.1.  To be able to do that in front of over 2,000 fans was incredible!  We had a bunch of girls beat their career highs as well.  Jordan earned a personal best on bars by scoring a 9.875 and on beam, Sunny and Sarah beat theirs by scoring a 9.925 and a 9.9 respectively.  Sarah and Giana also both had career highs in the all-around with a 39.325 and 39.3! 

After such an exciting and successful weekend, we were back in the gym for a few practices before heading off to Michigan State for the first annual Big Ten quad meet where we competed against Michigan State, Ohio State and Nebraska to determine where we would be seeded for Big Ten Championships.  We fed off of all the excitement from the previous weekend and managed to place second in the session, which set us up to compete in the evening session at Big Tens the following weekend at Penn State.  This meet was such a good experience to see some of the teams that we would be competing against at the championships and helped us prepare for the all exhilarating weekend!  We only had three practices before we left for Big Tens, but it gave us a chance to get back into the gym and work on the important details. 

            We traveled to Penn State for the Big Ten Championships a couple of weekends ago.  It is always so fun, because so much school pride goes into this meet.  After being able to get a feel for the equipment on practice day, we got all dressed up in orange and blue for the banquet!  All of the seniors were recognized during the banquet, as well as Sunny and Amber, who made All Big Ten first team and Giana and Erin, who made All Big Ten second team.  It's always nice to see all the girls in an environment other than the competition arena! 

The next day we hit the competition venue ready to go.  We had a good meet finishing 3rd in the evening session and 4th overall, which bumped us up in the rankings to 11th in the nation!  This sets us up to compete as a second seed at the NCAA Regional Championships this week. 

            We had a little break from school with Spring Break last week.  Breaks are always fun, because we have so much extra time to spend with each other J We are all now just looking forward to getting prepared for Regionals this week and fixing those minor details that will make a big difference!

Thanks for all the support!


Gaby Nguyen


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