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    Women's Gymnastics

    Illini Top Hawkeyes on the Road, 195.225-192.950
    Junior Melissa Fernandez notched a career-high 9.850 to tie for first on the uneven bars.

    Junior Melissa Fernandez notched a career-high 9.850 to tie for first on the uneven bars.

    Jan. 30, 2010


    IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Illinois women's gymnastics team posted solid performances across the board on Saturday night to overcome Iowa at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 195.225-192.950. The Illini turned in their highest season total of the year, tallying a 48.650 or better in every event, and picked up their first meet victory of the season. The Orange and Blue have improved their overall team score with each meet this season.

    "We were very solid throughout the entire meet," head coach Bob Starkell said. "We started strong and finished strong, so we were very pleased as a coaching staff. It was a great team effort from top to bottom, and everyone competed with great energy levels."

    Illinois got things rolling on bars, where they turned in a 48.925 and had six of the top eight performers. Junior Melissa Fernandez notched a career-high 9.850, and senior Sarah Schmidt matched it with her season high (9.850) to tie for first with Iowa's Rebecca Simbhudas, who won the all-around. Senior Nicole Cowart and junior Allison Buckley each scored 9.775 and placed fifth, while freshmen Jaclyn Kantecki and Alina Weinstein both had a 9.675.

    The Illini performed best on the balance beam with a total of 48.950, paced by season highs (9.875) from both Buckley and Fernandez, who matched Simbhudas for the top spot. Junior Lashlee Morris (9.750), Cowart (9.750) and Schmidt (9.700) also tallied season highs to round out the Illini scoring on the event.

    On floor exercise, Schmidt captured the crown with a 9.825, which tied Simbhudas and led the Illini to a 48.700. Buckley, Cowart and Fernandez all tied for fourth with routines that scored a 9.725. Sophomore Kelsey Joannides added a 9.700 to the mix, while junior Samantha Perino turned in a 9.675.

    Buckley was the runner-up on vault with a 9.825, as the Illini posted a 48.650. Fernandez and Kantecki tied for third at 9.750, while Cowart (9.675) and Schmidt (9.650) also scored in the event.

    The Orange and Blue had four of the top five all-arounders, with Buckley and Fernandez tying for second at 39.200, which marks a career high for the Eudora, Kan., native. Schmidt tallied a season-high 39.025 to finish fourth, while Cowart was fifth at 38.925.

    Next week, the Illini travel to Happy Valley to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. CT.

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