#19 Illini Deliver Win on Senior Day, Sweep Events
March 10, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seniors Alina Weinstein, Jaclyn Kantecki, Elise Gill and Macy Hyatt certainly had much to celebrate on Senior Day as the Illini scored a 196.300 for the second time this weekend to defeat Ball State's 193.500 and UIC's 192.625. Illinois' score was powered by the fourth highest floor routine in school history with a 49.425. In addition, Alina Weinstein, Giana O'Connor, Elizabeth McNabb and Sunny Kato all took home individual titles as Illinois swept the competition.
"Hitting a 196.3 for the second time this weekend showed the consistency that we have been working on both in the gym and on the competition floor," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "This team knows what it is capable of and to come out on Senior Day and finish the meet off with a 49 plus on the final three events is a true testament that each athlete understands their role in delivering top level performances.”
The Illini ended the meet on floor where Jordan Naleway (9.800), Tori Fujinami (9.800) and Giana O'Connor (9.850) all tied their respective career highs while Heather Foley (9.850) and Amber See (9.950) achieved new ones. See is now one of seven gymnasts in Illinois history to score a 9.950. Next, Alina Weinstein ended her competition days in Huff in style as the senior captured the floor title and tied her Illinois record on the event, the 9.975 she set on Feb. 16 vs. Iowa of this year.
"We always talk about finishing the meet strong," continued Landrus. "The floor team knew that their landings and the execution of their leaps and jumps would be critical to their success. The girls really performed for the crowd and once we got rolling, it was easy for the rest to take advantage of the momentum and nail their routines.”
On their third rotation, the Orange and Blue scored a 49.050 on beam. O'Connor and McNabb took home the title here as they tied for first with a 9.850, tying a career high for both in the process. The title was both McNabb's and O'Connor's second in their careers as well. The Illini owned the beam leader board this afternoon, as all five gymnasts claimed the top five spots, including Sunny Kato's (9.800) third place showing followed by See's and Weinstein's tie for fourth (9.775).
In addition, the Illini increased their bars score from Friday night to record a 49.100 this afternoon in their second rotation. Sunny Kato picked up her second bars title of the season when the sophomore tied her career high of 9.900. Weinstein finished in second with a 9.875 while O'Connor took third with a 9.800. Also to note, Jordan Naleway tied her career high on bars with a 9.775.
Next, Weinstein earned her third vault title of 2013 when the Illini kicked off competition on the event. The senior finished in first after scoring a 9.875. See tied her season high with a second place showing of 9.850. In addition, O'Connor tied for fourth on vault with a 9.775 as the Illini posted a team total of 48.725.
The trio of all-arounders who stole the spotlight Friday night, shone even brighter today by tying and bettering their scores. Freshman Giana O'Connor tied her Friday score and career high of 39.275. Fueled by her impressive floor score, junior Amber See once again set a new career high, this time a 39.325. Finally, Weinstein tallied her third highest mark of the year with a first place score of 39.500.
Today's performance marked the fourth time this season the Orange and Blue have topped 196, two away from tying the mark set by the 2010 squad. Furthermore, the team score was the first time in school history the Illini achieved a 196 or higher twice in the same weekend.
Due to successfully capturing three titles today and moving her career title number to 35, Alina Weinstein has now leapfrogged former teammate Kelsey Joannides and Heather Singalewitch to hold sole possession of fifth place on the all-time career title list at Illinois. Next up, is Denise Lamborn who sits at 38 career titles.
Next weekend, Illinois takes a trip up north to compete in the annual State of Illinois Classic in Chicago. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. CT. on March 16.