Senior Melissa Fernandez won the beam and all-around titles while leading the No. 19 Illini to victory on Saturday at Huff Hall.
Feb. 5, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Senior Melissa Fernandez won the beam and all-around titles on Saturday at Huff Hall while leading the No. 19 Illini to victory with a season-high 195.750 at their annual Pink Meet. The Orange and Blue posted the top scores of the meet on vault, beam and floor on their way to knocking off runner-up Central Michigan (194.525) and No. 13 Minnesota (194.325), as all three squads wore pink leotards to support breast cancer awareness.
"We kept building the momentum with each event and finished really strong on floor," interim head coach Kim Landrus said. "Our girls competed just like they do in practice, and it really showed today with solid efforts on every event. We did a better job of sticking landings and continued to improve overall."
Fernandez took home her second career victory in the all-around with a season-best 39.300 after setting a season-high score on bars and beam and tying her best mark of the year on vault and floor. The Eudora, Kan., native earned the beam crown with a 9.875, tied for second on floor with a 9.825, was third on bars with a 9.850 and came in sixth on vault with a 9.750.
"Melissa has been doing phenomenal," Landrus said. "She hit all four of her routines and made all of her coaches and teammates proud. All of our all-arounders have been really strong for us, and they keep pushing each other to get better on every event."
The Orange and Blue boasted four of the top-five all-arounders at the competition. Senior Allison Buckley was the runner-up with a 39.200, sophomore Alina Weinstein finished fourth with a season-high 39.000 and junior Kelsey Joannides placed fifth with a 38.950.
The Illini began the meet on vault with a season-high 48.900, as freshman Amber See picked up her first career event title with a career-best 9.825. Buckley and Joannides tied for second with a 9.800 while Fernandez's 9.700 and Weinstein's career high-tying 9.725 rounded out the scoring.
"Amber is on a steady climb," Landrus said. "This was just another step in the right direction. Her vault was better than it was last week, so she just needs to continue on that path because she is extremely talented."
During the second rotation, the Orange and Blue combined for a 48.800, their second-best total of the year. Following Fernandez's 9.850 was sophomore Jaclyn Kantecki with a 9.800, Buckley with a 9.775, Fiedler with a 9.700 and Weinstein with a 9.675.
On the balance beam, Illinois hit every routine while racking up a season-best total of 48.925. After Fernandez took the top spot, Joannides came in fifth with a 9.800 while Buckley and Weinstein tied for sixth with a 9.775. Senior Samantha Perino wrapped up the event scoring with a 9.700.
In the final rotation of the night, the Illini notched their highest score of the meet with a 49.125 on floor and filled the top five spots in the event standings. Buckley grabbed floor crown with a 9.850 just in front of three Illini, Fernandez, Weinstein and See, in second place with a 9.825. Joannides tied for fifth with a 9.800 and gave the Illini their second event score over 49 this season.
Up Next: Illinois will head to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers on Friday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. CT.