Junior Allison Buckley is now tied with Cara Pomeroy for second on the UI all-time event titles list with 41 crowns.
March 20, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - No. 13 Illinois won the State of Illinois Classic for the third consecutive year, recording a season-high score of 196.650 to finish in front of second-place Northern Illinois (192.650), Illinois-Chicago (192.475) and Illinois State (191.975). The Orange and Blue swept the event titles at Redbird Arena, turned in the fourth-best overall score in school history and boasted the top four all-arounders on Saturday night in the squad's final regular season meet.
Junior Allison Buckley earned event titles on vault and in the all-around and tied for the floor crown with senior Sarah Schmidt, who notched the bars title. The Illini filled the top-five spots on both bars and floor to total a 49.450 on each event, which rank as the second-best score in UI history on the respective lists.
"It was a good all-around performance this evening," head coach Bob Starkell said. "I don't think we had a bad event or routine across the board. We finished strong on bars and had much better execution on our last couple of events. Our confidence level is pretty high heading into Big Tens."
Buckley moved into a tie for second on the Illinois career event titles list, as she garnered three event crowns to equal Cara Pomeroy's total of 41. The Schaumburg, Ill., native matched her career-high on floor (9.925) and season-high on vault (9.900) and in the all-around (39.400) to take the top spot on each. The junior also tied her career-high on bars (9.850) and scored a 9.725 on beam.
Schmidt won the bars crown with a 9.975, which ranks as the second-best score in school history and included a perfect 10.0 from one judge. Freshman Alina Weinstein was the runner-up in the event with a career-high 9.925, tying the sixth-best mark in UI history. Buckley, junior Melissa Fernandez and freshman Jaclyn Kantecki each turned in scores of 9.850 to tie for third and round out the squad's season-high score on the event.
On floor, Buckley and Schmidt led the way with 9.925s followed by sophomore Kelsey Joannides in third with a 9.900, which tied her career high. Fernandez and junior Samantha Perino set career highs on the event with 9.850s and tied for fourth with senior Nicole Cowart, who tied her season high on the event.
The Illini turned in a solid 49.100 on vault, tying the second-best score of the season. Fernandez matched her career high with a 9.875 and placed second behind Buckley while Cowart tied for third and equaled a season-high 9.850. Kantecki (9.750) and Joannides (9.725) wrapped up the scoring on the event.
Illinois scored a 48.650 on beam to start the night and were led by a 9.800 by Fernandez, who placed third. Cowart and Schmidt turned in 9.750s while Buckley added a 9.725 and Joannides rounded out the scoring with a 9.625.
In the all-around, Fernandez tallied a career-high 39.375 to finish second behind Buckley. Schmidt came in third with a 39.350, and Cowart was fourth with a 39.225.
The Illini have won the State of Illinois Classic eight times since 1991, the most by any of the four schools. Illinois-Chicago ranks second with seven victories followed by Northern Illinois with three and Illinois State with two.
Up Next: Illinois travels to Columbus, Ohio for the Big Ten Championships, hosted by Ohio State on Saturday, March 27 at 1 p.m. Last season, the Illini hosted the conference championships and posted a school-record score of 196.750 to finish second behind Michigan, who has won the Big Ten title 16 of the last 18 years. The meet will be aired live by the Big Ten Network with play-by-play duties from Mike Leiderman and analysis from Eddie Umphrey and Elise Ray.