Illini's Season Ends at NCAA Championships
April 18, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Illinois women's gymnastics team scored a 195.8 on Friday in the first NCAA Championships semifinal session, marking its highest total at nationals in their four year history there. The Illini needed to score in the top-three in their session to advance but finished in sixth place, officially ending a memorable season in which more records were broken than any other year. Overall, the Orange and Blue accomplished an 11th place showing, tying its best finish in school history.
Although today's meet was the final chapter of 2014, it also displayed the potential that lies ahead as the Illini freshmen made the most out of their NCAA Championships debut. Erin Buchanan just missed out on Second-Team All-American status twice today, needing a 9.9 on both her events. The Virginia native tied for 10th on vault with a 9.85 and tied for 13th on floor with a 9.875.
Mary Jane Horth led the squad on both bars (9.775) and beam (9.8) while recording a solid 9.825 on vault. Horth's 9.8 on beam was her third straight of the postseason on the event.. Lastly, Emily Lennon contributed a 9.825 on vault, resulting in the freshmen trio scoring five of the 11 scores that were 9.8 or higher.
Illinois begun its 2014 NCAA Championships on bars where they scored a 48.725. Senior Elizabeth McNabb co-led with Horth, tallying a 9.775. Jordan Naleway came next with a 9.75 followed by Kato's 9.725 and Sarah Fiedler's 9.7.
The Illini's next rotation was balance beam where they delivered a 48.8. McNabb produced her second straight 9.775 of the day, tying Giana O'Connor's score, who led off on the event. See's 9.75 and Fiedler's 9.7 rounded out the team scoring.
Following their second bye, the Illini came out and produced a strong second half of the meet, starting with floor. Illinois recorded a 49.2 on the event, tying their NCAA Championships high from a year ago. Scoring right behind Buchanan was See's and O'Connor's 9.85. Fiedler's first and last floor routine at nationals resulted in a 9.825. Finally, Naleway and Eberly both scored above their season averages with a 9.8.
Illinois concluded its meet on vault where they scored a 49.075. O'Connor also tied for 10th on vault along with Buchanan. The sophomore tied her career high of 9.85 for the fifth time this season and bested her score from NCAA's last year (9.75). Last but certainly not least, Heather Foley scored above her season average, accomplishing a 9.725.
Advancing to the Super Six from today's semifinal session was Oklahoma (197.500), Georgia (197.3) and LSU (197.1). Stanford finished in fourth with a 196.6 as fellow Big Ten foe Michigan followed suit with a 196.425.