Weichmann Wins Beam Title - 3/28/99
Illinois sophomore Gina Wiechmann (Clearwater, Fla.) scored a 9.875 to win the balance beam competition at the Big Ten championships Saturday night, and became the first Illini to win on beam since the duo of Laura Knutson and Peggy Pullman tied for the top spot in 1990. In addition, Wiechmann becomes the seventh individual to earn all-Big Ten honors and is head coach Lynn Brueckman's first individual Big Ten champion in her six years at Illinois.
"It's a tremendous honor to earn first place at the Big Ten championships," Wiechmann said. "This accomplishment is the highlight of my career and is very exciting. I just prepared for it as being a normal routine that we practice every day in the gym."
Wiechmann is the fourth Fighting Illini to win the balance beam at the Big Ten championships and is the seventh Illinois individual to earn all-Big Ten honors.
"She (Wiechmann) had a great beam routine tonight and it came against some of the toughest competition in the country," Brueckman said. "She did a great job, she earned this title and she deserves it."
As a team, the Fighting Illini finished fifth, after finishing sixth the past two seasons, with a score of 193.800. The University of Michigan claimed the team championship, its seventh title in the last eight seasons, with a score of 196.300.
A highlight for the Fighting Illini was its team finish on beam. Illinois, which was ranked third in the Big Ten going into the championships, finished with a 48.900 to top the field. In addition to Wiechmann's win, Pheadra Dixon (Chicago, Ill.) and Melanie Dorwart (Effort, Pa.) each tied to career highs to help the Illinois effort. Dixon scored a 9.775 and Dorwart a 9.725.
"We had a rough start in our first event (uneven bars)," Brueckman said. "But our kids came back really well so I was proud of the way they finished."
Illinois will next compete in NCAA regional competition on April 10. The Illini will travel to Lincoln, Neb., with the rest of the field to be announced Monday, March 29.
1998 Big Ten Women's Gymnastics
1. Michigan 196.300
2. Penn State 195.550
3. Ohio State 194.625
4. Minnesota 194.150
5. Illinois 193.800
6. Michigan St. 191.600
7. Iowa 136.825