Joannides Shines in Tie Between #15 Illini and Hawkeyes
Jan. 21, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Senior Kelsey Joannides captured the all-around title along with three individual event crowns, as No. 15 Illinois and Iowa finished tied at 195.075 on Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Illini improved on their score from the season opener and scored over a 195 in the second meet of the season for the first time since 2009 when the squad made its first-ever appearance at nationals. Sophomore Amber See gave the Illini a champion on every event after taking the top spot on floor.
"We need to continue to build off our past performances and that will be the theme of this year," head coach Kim Landrus said. "We have a lot of work to do in practice, but I was happy with our score for the second meet of the season. We need to build off that moving forward and continue to improve on our weaknesses."
The Illini had a tie for the second-straight season after the Illini and Buckeyes finished tied on this same weekend a year ago. Joannides won four titles at a meet for the first time in her career and now owns 18 career crowns. The Frederick, Md., native tied for first on vault with a 9.850, garnered her first-ever win on bars with a 9.875 and equaled a career high with a 9.900 to lead all scores on beam. Her 39.175 in the all-around matched her highest total from last season, which she also scored against the Hawkeyes.
"Kelsey did a great job tonight," Landrus said. "She put together a very consistent effort and didn't let any external factors get to her. She truly showed what she is a capable of and was a competitor tonight."
Orange and Blue gymnasts swept the top three spots in the all-around with See (39.100) and junior Alina Weinstein (39.075) placing just behind Joannides. See competed in the all-around for the first time in her career after being inserted into the bar lineup.
"Amber played a very important role in leading us off on bars and came through with an excellent performance," Landrus said. "I am really proud that she was able to get that first all-around under her belt and come out with a solid score. Alina also delivered solid performances on all four events and hit each of her routines to earn a nice score for the second meet of the year."
Illinois came from behind with a 49.000 on beam, its final event of the meet, to catch the Hawkeyes. Joannides paced the beam team while See tied for second with a 9.800. Weinstein and sophomore Elizabeth McNabb tied for fourth at 9.775 while sophomore Sarah Fiedler rounded out the team's first 49 of the year with a 9.750.
The Illini started the night off on bars with a 48.675 followed by a 48.575 on vault. Fiedler tied for fourth on bars with a 9.800 while Weinstein (9.775) and junior Elise Gill (9.725) finished in the top five on vault. The team's second-best score of the meet came on floor with a 48.825. See won her second floor title of the year while Weinstein and Gill tied for second at 9.825.
"It was great to be able to come here and compete to know what Carver-Hawkeye was all about," said Landrus about the site of the 2012 Big Ten Championships. "We are coming away with a good feeling with a lot of consistent routines, so hopefully we will be at our best at the end of the year when we return for the conference championship."
Up Next: Illinois continues its competition schedule on the road, as it heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face No. 11 Michigan on Friday, Jan. 27 at 5 p.m.