Sophomore Michelle McGrady had two first-place finshes against Maryland on Saturday night.
Jan. 21, 2006
Champaign, Ill. - In their most impressive showing of the young 2006 season, the Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team handily defeated the Maryland Terrapins by a score of 192.450-190.400 Saturday at Huff Hall in front of a crowd of 1,171.
The night began with a team vault score of 48.850, a mark that matches Illinois' fourth highest all-time vault score. Sophomore Michelle McGrady led the Illini with a personal best 9.875, a score that ranks fourth on Illinois all-time individual vault records. McGrady's first-place finish was accompanied by personal bests from freshmen Lindsey Smith (9.775), Marijka Botterman (9.775) and Kim Kruk (9.675). Junior Melissa Singer matched Kruk's 9.675 to also score in the event. While the Orange and Blue were in the midst of their best vaulting performance of the season, Maryland managed a 48.250 on bars.
The next rotation saw junior Cara Pomeroy do what she does best, as she posted a 9.850 on bars for a first-place finish. Illinois' 48.200 on bars was made up of Pomeroy's season high, sophomore Krystal Melcarek's 9.725, Marijka Botterman's personal-best 9.700, junior Danye Botterman's 9.675, and Kruk's 9.250. Illinois' bar performance was matched by Maryland's 48.775 vault score.
The Illini hit a pothole midway through the meet when they reached beam, their weakest performance of the night. Senior Katie Wild and Pomeroy each had solid routines good for scores of 9.725 while McGrady managed to pull out a 9.550. However the rest of the Illini were unable to keep their footing in the event, allowing Illinois' score to drop to 47.300 in the event. At the same time, Maryland slacked on floor, recording a 47.125, good enough for the Illini to keep their overall lead.
In the final rotation of the night, the Orange and Blue saw four personal-bests recorded on floor. McGrady recorded a personal-best 9.825 for her second first-place finish on the night. Wild (9.775) and Melcarek (9.750) placed second and third in the event, respectively. Also scoring for the Illini were Pomeroy and Kruk. The Terrapins ended the day struggling on beam, only scoring a 46.250.
Head coach Bob Starkell is already looking towards future meets and how the Illini's best performance of the young season can help the Orange and Blue.
"It was a learning experience," said Starkell. "They will take things back into practice and work that much harder for next weekend. We now know what we need to prepare for and how to get better for the next time around."
The Illini are now 1-2 on the season and head to Dekalb, Ill. on Sunday, Jan. 29 to face interstate rival, Northern Illinois and the Chippewas of Central Michigan. The meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. CT.