Ashley Williams won the all-around crown and tied for first place on the balance beam in Illinois' loss to #5 Iowa State Saturday at Huff Hall.
Feb. 14, 2004
Champaign, Ill. - Ashley Williams won the all-around crown, but it was not enough as the Illini fell to fifth-ranked Iowa State in front of 728 fans at Huff Hall Saturday night. The Cyclones finished with a score of 196.1, while the Illini totaled 194.925, their second-highest score of the season. The Illini set new team season-highs on the balance beam as well as the floor exercise, but could not overcome some early mistakes on vault and bars to fall to 5-3 on the season.
"In general, I thought we did well, but I'm a little disappointed because I had hoped we could post a little bit higher score," said UI head coach Bob Starkell. "I'm happy that the team picked up from last weekend. We did better on several events but we're still counting some major mistakes on uneven bars, so we might have to look at a little different strategy during practice this week. We did very well on beam, which is a tough event to go on after a having a rough time on bars right before it, and floor has been a strength for this team all season, so that was a good note to end on."
The Illini struggled on the first two events (vault and uneven bars), but bounced back to post the fifth-highest beam score in school history (49.050) and the fourth highest floor exercise score (49.275). There were six scores in those two events that either tied or set new career or season highs. This includes Margaret Dann's season high of 9.800 to get the Illini off to a strong start on the balance beam. Starkell thought Dann's routine was the turning point in the meet for the Illini.
"One of the key factors for us was probably Margaret Dann's beam performance," said Starkell. "She probably had the best beam routine she's had as an Illini and I think that got the team excited. It really got everyone in a positive frame of mind, which is important on that event."
Junior Ashley Williams won the all-around competition with a season-high score of 39.225. It was the 2002 Big Ten Freshman of the Year's first all-around title of the season and the seventh of her career. Williams and Kara Kapernekas each scored a 9.875 on the balance beam to tie for first place - Kapernekas' score tied her season-high on the event. Williams and freshman Cara Pomeroy tied for second place on the uneven bars with identical 9.850s. The second place finish ended a string of three consecutive bars titles for Pomeroy.
Jessica Cole set a new season high on the vault with a 9.650. Freshman Melissa Singer tied her career high on that event as well, with a score of 9.725, while fellow freshman Danye Botterman set a new vault career-high with a 9.875. Katie Wild tied her career high on the floor exercise with a 9.875, and set a new career-best of 9.825 on the balance beam to tie for third place. Sara Dumich (9.825) and Kara Kapernekas (9.925) set new season-highs on the floor exercise. Kapernekas' score was good enough to tie for third place. Williams used a season-high tying 9.850 on floor to help attain her impressive all-around score.
"Ashley is finally starting to get comfortable and is a little bit more confident," said Starkell of Williams. "Today was a good sign, and I think not just for her, but also for Kara Karpernekas. They're our two co-captains and both train really close together had a really good meets tonight. That's what I was hoping for this weekend, for those two."
Up Next: Illinois will continue its three-meet home-stand on Saturday, Feb. 21 when Ball State comes to town. The Illini and the Cardinals will square off at Huff Hall at 7 p.m. The Illini will remain home the following weekend when they host Illinois State in another double-dual with the UI men at Huff on Feb. 27.
Team Results V UB BB FX Total
Iowa State 49.500 49.025 47.950 49.625 196.100
Illinois 48.500 48.100 49.050 49.275 194.925
Illinois Results (and event winners)
1. Janet Anson - ISU 9.975
4. Danye Botterman 9.875
8. Melissa Singer 9.725
9. Ashley Williams 9.700
10. Jessica Cole 9.650
11. Lauren Newcomb 9.550
12. Kim Kirzow 9.075