Women's Gymnastics
Illini Impressive in 194.725-193.350 Victory Over Iowa

Kim Kruk won the uneven bars and tied for first in the all-around as Illinois topped Iowa Saturday night at Huff Hall.
Kim Kruk won the uneven bars and tied for first in the all-around as Illinois topped Iowa Saturday night at Huff Hall.

Jan. 27, 2007

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Champaign, Ill. - Illinois posted its top score of the season by nearly a point and a half in a 194.725-193.350 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Huff Hall Saturday night. The 1,366 fans in attendance got their money's worth as Illini won three of four event titles and sophomore Kim Kruk tied for the all-around crown.

"The purpose of this meet was to come in and improve," head coach Bob Starkell said. "We weren't necessarily trying to beat Iowa. We had set our own goals and reached we them, so as a staff, we are very happy with the performance we saw tonight. Our mistakes were limited and fixable, but we can't get comfortable. There is still room for improvement."

The Illini started off with a bang in the first rotation, scoring a 48.875 on the vault, which is the fourth-highest score in school history on the event. Marijka Botterman led a balanced Illini line-up, which saw all six competitors score at least a 9.7, with a 9.825 to take second place. The Orange and Blue led 48.875-47.650 after the first rotation.

Illinois (1-2) slipped up a bit on the uneven bars, counting a fall and posting its lowest event score of the night (48.275). Kruk was outstanding, however, winning the event with a career-high 9.875. Junior Krystal Melcarek took third place with a 9.800 as the Illini remained in front of the Hawkeyes, 97.150-96.575, after two rotations.

The Orange and Blue bounced back with a solid 48.850 on the balance beam thanks to huge scores from senior Cara Pomeroy (9.900), who had an uncharacteristic fall on bars, and sophomore Julie Crall (9.875). Both scores tied career-bests as the duo went 1-2 on the event. Freshmen Nicole Cowart (9.775) and Sarah Schmidt (9.750) also had career-highs on the beam, as the Illini extended their lead to 146.000-144.775 after rotation three.

The Fighting Illini closed the meet with a season-high 48.725 on the floor exercise behind a first place performance from Crall, who scored a career-high 9.850. Schmidt (9.825), Kruk (9.725) and Botterman (9.675) all performed well on floor, finishing second, third and fourth, respectively.

Kruk scored a 38.925 in the all-around to share the crown with Iowa's Katie Burke. It was Kruk's fourth career all-around title. Cowart posted a career-high 38.825 to finish fourth in the all-around. In all, the Fighting Illini set or tied 11 career-highs on the night.

Illinois will return to action next Saturday, Feb. 3, when the Ohio State Buckeyes come to Huff Hall. Competition will begin at 7 p.m. Live stats and live streaming video will be available at fightingillini.com.