#14 Illini Win Seventh Straight Illinois Classic
Feb. 21, 2014
NORMAL, Ill. - The 14th ranked Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team once again proved its in-state dominance Friday night, winning its seventh straight Illinois Classic title with a 195.825, beating out Northern Illinois (193.625), UIC (194.300) and host Illinois State (193.200). Senior Amber See etched her name in history with a perfect 10.0 on vault. In addition, the vault lineup recorded a 49.425, the highest in school history on the apparatus.
See's perfect 10 was the third in school history, as she followed in the footsteps of Cara Pomeroy on bars in 2004 and Alina Weinstein on vault at last year's State of Illinois Classic. See also becomes the ninth gymnast to score a 10.0 this season and the third to do so on vault (previously achieved by Florida's Kytra Hunter and LSU's Rheagan Courville).
"Amber has such a unique vault and to see her perform it the way she did tonight was exhilarating," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus."
The Illini's vault lineup also stamped their place in the record book tonight. Their 49.425 is the highest vault score in program history, beating out the previous best mark of 49.375 set back in 2009. Freshmen Emily Lennon and Erin Buchanan both recorded career high 9.900's. Giana O'Connor added a 9.825 while Heather Foley and Sarah Fiedler each scored a 9.800, marking a career best for the latter.
"I really think the six of them came together tonight and hit some of the best vaults they have done this season," stated Landrus. "We stress to them the importance of delivering great vaults together and breaking the school record is a reflection of that."
Three different gymnasts claimed individual titles Friday night. See won her fourth vault title of the season and her 10th in her career. Sunny Kato earned her fourth beam title after tying Illinois State's Samantha King with a 9.825. Finally, Giana O'Connor took home her second ever all-around title after tying her career high of 39.275.
Illinois started the night on beam where it tallied a 48.675. Fiedler finished in third place with a 9.775, followed by McNabb in fourth with a 9.750. O'Connor (9.725) and See (9.600) also contributed scores towards the team total.
The Illini then moved to floor where it posted a 49.000, marking the fifth time this season the squad has hit a 49 or higher. O'Connor (9.875), See (9.850) and Buchanan (9.825) finished in second, third and fourth, respectively. Buchanan has yet to drop below a 9.825 on floor through seven meets this season.
Illinois ended the night with a 48.725 on bars. Freshman Mary Jane Horth made an immediate impact in her Illini debut, scoring the highest on the team with a 9.875, which was good for second place overall. Fiedler and O'Connor tied for third place with a 9.850, with the latter tying her career high.
Up next, the Illini have a short turnaround, returning home Sunday for a top-25 tri-meet showdown. They'll welcome No. 23 Ohio State and No. 19 Central Michigan at 2 p.m. inside Huff Hall.
"We are excited to compete again on Sunday," continued Landrus. "It will give us an opportunity to fix the mistakes we made tonight and build off of the great things we did as well."