Junior Danye Botterman led Illinois' dominating performance Saturday with two event titles on vault (9.750) and floor (9.825).
March 11, 2006
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -
The No. 24 Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team sent off seniors Katie Wild and Emily Earle in proper fashion Saturday as they defeated the No. 26 Michigan State Spartans in a packed Huff Hall by a score of 194.275-193.775. For Wild and Earle, it was their last time competing in Huff Hall as Illini.
"We really were not sure what to anticipate coming into the meet," head coach Bob Starkell said. "We made a lot of changes to the line-up, so as a staff, we are pleasantly surprised."
Junior Danye Botterman led Illinois' dominating performance with two event titles on vault (9.750) and floor (9.825). Fellow junior Cara Pomeroy took home the Illini's third event title on bars with a season-best 9.875 and freshman Marijka Botterman collected her second-straight all-around title with a score of 38.525.
Illinois began the night on vault where Danye Botterman won her first event title of the night with a score of 9.750. Freshman Lindsey Smith followed right behind with a 9.725 to place second and help the Illini to a 48.500-48.450 victory in the event.
With momentum on her side, Danye moved to bars where she put up a 9.800 to place second in the event. Sister Marijka took third with a 9.775 and Pomeroy ran away with the title by recording a 9.875. Illinois won the event by a score of 48.625-48.500.
After two successful events, the Orange and Blue made their way to the balance beam. Freshman Julie Crall led the Illini with a score of 9.725 for a third-place finish. Wild (9.700), Marijka Botterman (9.650) and Pomeroy (9.625) were Illinois next best scores. Illinois fell to the Spartans in the event, 48.400-48.225.
The Illini regained their composure on floor by sweeping the top five spots to finish off the Spartans. Danye Botterman wrapped up her second event title on the night with a season-best 9.825. Wild and Crall tied for second with 9.800s and Pomeroy and Marijka Botterman tied for fourth with 9.750s. Illinois won the floor exercise 48.925-48.425.
Once everything was said and done, Starkell was thrilled with the way the Danye Botterman took control of the competition.
"She is competing in more events and looking more confident overall," said Starkell. "You could tell by her demeanor in practice that she's excited. It's her time of the year."
Illinois travel to Normal, Ill. next weekend for the State of Illinois Classic on Saturday, March 18. The unofficial state title will be on the line against the other three NCAA gymnastics programs in Illinois, No. 35 Illinois-Chicago, No. 46 Northern Illinois and No. 57 Illinois State.
"We see the light at the end of the tunnel," Starkell said. "We train for this time of the year and will continue to go hard at practice in preparation for the next few weeks."