Trio of All-Arounders Guide #19 Illini to Victory
March 8, 2013
Columbia, Mo. - The #19 Illinois women's gymnastics team scored their second highest team total of the season tonight as they defeated Missouri 196.300-194.125. The win marked their first dual road meet victory of the season. In addition, the Illini have now scored a 196 or higher in three meets in 2013, tying the amount set by the NCAA Championships qualifying squad from 2011.
Furthermore, llinois produced three all-around competitors who all scored above a 39.25, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since Allison Buckley, Melissa Fernandez and Alina Weinstein did it on March 12, 2011. This time around Amber See and Giana O'Connor joined Weinstein, who took home her fourth all-around title of the season after recording a 39.425 on the night. Following suit, See and O'Connor both achieved new career highs by each scoring a 39.275.
"All three all-arounders exhibit dynamic and eye catching gymnastics," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "Amber, Giana and Alina hit 12-12 which exemplified the consistency we are looking for as a team and coaching staff. It is very exciting for I believe each of them can build upon their performance and the best is yet to come."
The Illini started the evening on bars where they jumped out to the early lead thanks to a 49.025 on the event, their third highest score on bars this season. Weinstein shone bright here, leading the team with a new season high of 9.900. The score delivered the senior her second bars title of the year.
In addition, Giana O'Connor continued to progress as the freshman recorded a new career high of 9.825 on bars, good for third place. Jaclyn Kantecki (9.775), Amber See (9.775) and Jordan Naleway (9.750) also provided and counted solid scores for Illinois in the opening rotation.
Next, the Orange and Blue moved to vault where they produced a 48.900. Weinstein settled for second place this time with her team-leading 9.850. O'Connor was once again in hot pursuit with a third place score of 9.800. Jaclyn Kantecki, Amber See and Heather Foley then all tallied a 9.750 each, with the latter tying her career high for the third time in her freshman season.
Illinois then moved to floor where they nearly tied their season high (49.250) with a 49.200. Junior Amber See produced a first place performance in which she scored a new season high and tied her career high of 9.925, which was set back on March 6, 2011. See earned her first title of 2013, her eighth career title on floor, and 17th career title overall.
Weinstein and O'Connor also had great showings on floor, as they both tied for third with a 9.850 each. Freshman Tori Fujinami, who just performed her first collegiate routine last week when she scored a 9.725, improved upon that mark tonight after contributing a 9.800. Furthermore, Heather Foley continued her night of tying career highs by scoring a 9.775 on floor.
During the final rotation, Sunny Kato became the second gymnast on the squad to win multiple titles on a specific event this year, as the sophomore earned her second beam title after tying her career high of 9.900. In addition, the title was Kato's third overall.
The Illini trio of Amber See, Alina Weinstein and Elizabeth McNabb followed as they each tallied a 9.825 for third place. O'Connor then rounded out the scoring with a 9.800, pushing the team total on beam to 49.175.
"After the meet we talked about how strong we were as a team," said Landrus. "With the fight and togetherness we showed today it was evident that our goals are still within reach. We're excited for another opportunity on Sunday to compete in front of our home crowd."
Thus, Weinstein's now 32 career individual titles move the senior into a tie for seventh place all-time with Kim Berres (1996-99) on the Illinois career title list.
Up next, the Illini have a quick turnaround as they return home to Champaign and Huff Hall for a Sunday meet against Ball State and UIC at 2 p.m. CT. The meet also marks Senior Day where Alina Weinstein, Jaclyn Kantecki, Elise Gill and Macy Hyatt will be recognized.