#13 Illinois Breaks School Record with a 197.100
March 8, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The 13th-ranked Illini produced quite the memorable meet on Saturday in front of over 2,000 fans inside Huff Hall. Illinois achieved a 197.100-194.450 Gym Jam victory over Lindenwood, breaking the all-time team total school record (196.975 - March, 2011). In addition, the Orange and Blue swept every event as Erin Buchanan, Sunny Kato, Amber See and Sarah Fiedler won individual titles.
"It's exciting for the team, it's exciting for the program," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "We had a lot of stuck landings today. We've really been working on that. I think it was key that when a mistake was made, everybody else came back and did what they needed to do. They didn't let it affect them at all. This kept the momentum building from event to event."
Today also marked Senior Day for See, Fiedler and Elizabeth McNabb as the trio were honored post-meet. Fiedler most certainly ended on a high note, winning her first career title in the all-around with a career high 39.325.
"I think it's special. These seniors have done a lot for our program and to send Amber, Liz, and Sarah off with a school record breaking performance is just a great feeling," added Landrus.
Illini began its day on vault with a 49.250. It marked the second highest vault score of the season for the Orange and Blue and its third score over 49 in the last four meets. Erin Buchanan won her second vault title on the year thanks to a career high 9.925. The freshman became the seventh gymnast in program history to register a 9.925 or higher on the event.
Amber See finished in second on vault with a 9.900 while Giana O'Connor took fourth after tying her career high of 9.850 (set Feb. 7 vs. Michigan). Lastly, Emily Lennon secured a top-five finish with a 9.825.
Illinois continued its historic day by recording a 49.375 on bars, the third highest score in school history and the highest since March, 2010. The Illini swept the top five positions on the event, as all five gymnasts either tied or set a new career high. Sunny Kato hit a 9.900 for the fourth time this season and the third time in the last five meets, earning her fifth title on bars in the process.
Jordan Naleway, Mary Jane Horth and Sarah Fiedler tied for second with a 9.875 each. Naleway, who recorded her previous high of 9.825 five times this season, got over the hump with the new career high mark today. Furthermore, both Horth and Fiedler tied their respective career highs for the second time this year. Finally, O'Connor tied her career high, recording a 9.850 for the third time this season.
Illinois kept the momentum going on beam where they recorded a 49.175. Sunny Kato led the squad with a career high 9.925, tying the second highest beam score in program history. Kato also won her fifth beam title of the season as she swept both the events she competed in today.
Fiedler also broke her personal best with a 9.900 on beam, finishing in second place. Fellow senior McNabb followed right behind in third with a 9.85.
Needing a 49.200 on floor to hit the elusive 197, the Illini answered the challenge with a season high 49.300. The score marked the fifth straight meet Illinois accomplished a 49 or higher on floor and the eighth time this year.
See earned her fourth floor title, ninth in her career, with a 9.925 on the event. O'Connor followed suit in second place after tying her career high of 9.900 for the third time this year. Finally, Buchanan rounded out the top-three with a 9.875.
Last but certainly not least, Fiedler was not the only one to record a new career high in the all-around this evening. Giana O'Connor bested her previous high of 39.275 with a 39.300, finishing in second place.
Illinois will look to ride its wave of momentum into the Big Ten Quad Meet on March 15, where they'll compete against Ohio State, Nebraska and host Michigan State. The quad meet is scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. CT start inside the Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich.