No. 18 Illini Place Second At Penn State Triangular
Jan. 15, 2005
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After breaking into the top-25 last week following their season debut, the 18th-ranked Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team was able to put up another strong score to defeat Pittsburgh, but it was not enough to knock off meet host Penn State. The Nittany Lions just edged the Illini to capture first place with a score of 194.125, followed by Illinois with 193.200 and Pittsburgh rounding out the three-team meet with 188.200.
Senior Lauren Newcomb once again came out as the Illini's top performer, placing first in the all-around with a score of 38.675 following her tie for first in Illinois' season opener against Illinois State and Central Michigan last weekend.
"As a coaching staff, we are very pleased with our progress as a team," said head coach Bob Starkell. "Lauren had another great meet individually and as a team we really had strong routines on bars and beam. Unfortunately, we ran out of steam at the end, but overall I'm pleased with our performance. This meet will be good motivation for the team as the season continues."
The Fighting Illini got off to a strong start with their first rotation on bars. Sophomore Cara Pomeroy posted a 9.850 on her signature event, while freshman Krystal Melcarek made her debut as an Illini on bars with a solid 9.725. Pomeroy's score of 9.850 would stay atop the leader board for the duration of the meet, securing the Ottawa, Ontario native her first bar title of the season.
Illinois continued to challenge Penn State throughout the meet as senior Kara Kapernekas earned a 9.800 on beam to tie PSU sophomore Corissa Pirkl for first. The rest of Illini beam lineup followed through with equally solid routines as Pomeroy posted a 9.775 to tie for third, while senior Lauren Newcomb and junior Katie Wild locked up fifth and sixth-place, respectively.
On the floor exercise, the Nittany Lions would dominate with their entire lineup placing in the top-seven spots. From there, Illinois would look toward their vault team to deliver a solid score to boost them out in front of Penn State. Unfortunately, the Orange and Blue would fall just short as PSU captured the vault title with four gymnasts placing in the top-five. Newcomb would be the Illini's top vaulter with a 9.725.
Up Next: With the meet, the Illini are 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten. Next week, the Illini are back on the road for a non-conference meet at Ball State Saturday, January 21 at 7 p.m.