#18 Illini Win 1st Session With Season High At Big Ten's
March 23, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The #18 women's gymnastics team was in post-season form this afternoon at the Big Ten Championships, winning their session with a season high 196.475. Thus, for the first time this season, Illinois scored above a 49 in every event. Their total was the sixth highest team total in program history and also the second highest score posted by the Illini at the Big Ten Championships. In addition, Alina Weinstein and Amber See took home a second place medal on floor with a 9.95.
"We have been talking about momentum all year long and continued to build it in the month of March," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "I told the girls to come in today and build off what they've been doing all year. We did a team activity yesterday and came up with 93 phrases for the season so we were strive 93 today."
The Orange and Blue started on bars where they tallied a 49.025. The opening trio of Jordan Naleway, Giana O'Connor and Jaclyn Kantecki got the Illini going by all sticking their dismounts. In fact, Naleway recorded a new career high of 9.8, the same score as O'Connor, while Kantecki posted a 9.775. Sarah Fiedler and Alina Weinstein then followed those performances by both scoring above their season averages, with Fiedler notching a 9.8 and Weinstein a 9.85.
Illinois moved to beam next where they continued to stick their routines to score a 49.100. Junior Elizabeth McNabb led the squad with a 9.85 which tied her career high. Jordan Naleway continued her breakthrough day by setting yet another career high, this time a 9.825 in just her second beam performance of her career. Junior Amber See started her championships competition on beam where she too tallied a 9.825. Finally, Sunny Kato's and Giana O'Connor's 9.8 rounded out the team total.
Next, the Orange and Blue achieved a 49.325 on floor, which is the second highest mark this season on the event and ties for the seventh best all-time. The Illini were powered by the trio of O'Connor, See and Weinstein who all scored a 9.9 or higher. In fact, O'Connor's 9.9 set a new career high for the freshman, as both Weinstein and See scored a 9.95, which tied the career high for the latter.
The Illini finished the day on vault where they posted a 49.025. Heather Foley set the tone by scoring a 9.85, 0.075 higher than her previous best mark in the event. Other big scores for the Orange and Blue on vault include See's 9.875 and Weinstein's 9.9.
After the second session concluded, Illinois wound up in fourth place as Nebraska took their second straight title with a 197.8 fueled by a 49.725 on vault. Amber See and Alina Weinstein's 9.95 on floor resulted in a four-way tie for second place with Nebraska's Jessie DeZiel and Michigan's Joanna Sampson. Nebraska's Emily Wong took the floor crown with a 9.975. Finally, Weinstein finished in fifth place in the all-around with a score of 39.450 as Wong took first with a 39.725.
"I'm so happy," said Alina Weinstein. "I'm so proud of every one of my teammates and stepping up and doing the best they possibly could. It was a total team effort today. It was an emotional day for me."
As a result for their individual accomplishments today, both Amber See and Alina Weinstein made the 2013 All-Championship Team, which consisted of the top-three finishers in every event. The last awards of the day went to Michigan's Joanna Sampson for Gymnast of the Year and Minnesota's Lindsay Mable for Freshman of the Year.
The Illini will find out where they are going for NCAA Regionals this coming Monday when the NCAA and WebStream Sports will be producing a National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Selection Show at 2 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.