Jordan Valdez nailed both his parallel bars and high bar routines to pick up two points for the Orange Team.
Dec. 8, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini gymnastics teams made their debut at the Orange and Blue Exhibition on Sunday afternoon at Huff Hall, with Blue topping the Orange team by a score of 10-8.
"Daniel (Ribiero), my assistant, did some judging, and I'm really happy," men's head coach Justin Spring said. "Our whole intra-squad before Thanksgiving wasn't exactly stellar, so this is a big change in the right direction, which is good, since our season is right around the corner."
"I think it was a good starting point," women's head coach Kim Landrus said. "When you come into an atmosphere like that, you get a little bit of jitters and some adrenaline rushing for competition season. It was a great starting point. We'll go back and work on the little things, but I thought the girls did a great job."
The Blue squad jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first rotation. Fred Hartville started the meet off by topping freshman Taylor Smith on the floor exercise, giving the Orange a 1-0 lead. Erin Buchanan tied it up for the Blue squad with a win on the vault after a stuck dismount. Cole Smith and Kelsi Eberly tacked on two more wins for Blue on pommel horse and balance beam, respectively.
The first tie of the meet came in the first event of the second rotation. Sunny Kato won the tiebreaker on the uneven bars, based on crowd noise. Jordan Valdez tied up the meet with a win over Joey Peters on the parallel bars, but Erin Buchanan pushed Blue back on top with a win over Jordan Naleway on floor exercise. On still rings, Andrew Margolis emerged from the audience wearing a cape, but the crowd nonetheless picked Mike Wilner to give the tiebreaker to the orange team. Amber See won a tiebreaker from the crowd on vault to give the Blue team a 5-4 advantage after two rotations.
Orange strung together three-straight wins to start the third rotation. Chad Mason won on pommel horse, Giana O'Connor won on floor exercise, and Jordan Valdez won high bar. Blue got a win on beam from Elizabeth McNabb, but freshman Chandler Eggleston got another point for the Orange team after putting on a show on the floor exercise.
Blue won all four events in the final rotation to win the meet. Amber See started it off with a win on uneven bars, followed by Erin Buchanan winning on beam to complete a 3-0 day for herself. Max Mayr beat Eggleston in a high bar dual, and Sarah Fiedler clinched the win for blue with a win over Heather Foley on floor.