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    Illini Ink: Women's Gymnastics Online Journal Week 14
    Senior Melissa Fernandez

    Senior Melissa Fernandez

    Jan. 11, 2011

    Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this year's 14th edition, senior Melissa Fernandez recaps the squad's first meet in Lexington, Ky.

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    Hey Illini fans!

    Finally, competition season is here!! Last weekend we traveled to the University of Kentucky for our season opener. For all of us except the freshman, it was very familiar territory to be around, especially since our last competition last year was at the same venue. After preparing all pre-season, we were more than ready and anxiously awaiting this meet. We hit the road mid-morning on Friday and to add to the excitement, the seniors surprised the team by decorating the inside of the bus!

    We had streamers, balloons, and stars lining up the bus--all orange and blue of course. Upon arrival in Kentucky, we settled in nicely into our hotel rooms and gave hugs all around to the family members who made the trip for the weekend. Before heading to bed, we had our team meeting where line-ups were announced and we were each given a link to a chain with the quote "We're stronger together than we are alone." A great quote that was highly motivating for us all.

    On meet day, we did our normal routine of stopping by the mall. As with everything about this trip, we were soooo excited to be shopping! The girls made some great purchases at some of our favorite shops including Victoria's Secret, Sephora, J. Crew, Bare Escentuals, and Express. When the shopping madness was over, we had some time to eat lunch and relax/get ready before heading to the meet. Once we were all dolled up and downstairs in the hotel lobby, our parents snapped our pictures like the paparazzi and then we were off to begin our season!

    The atmosphere of our team throughout the entire warm-ups and competition was energetic, lively, and high-spirited. Along with getting some business done, we truly had such a fun time performing in front of a crowd and representing the University of Illinois. Also, all three of our freshmen made their collegiate debut, and we couldn't have been more proud of them!

    Although we had a few bumps along the road, we had some really great performances and we definitely made strides in the direction of success. I'd like to also point out that on our last rotation we finished the meet strong by sticking FIVE vaults! Way to go Illini!

    Overall, we were happy with our performance and we're already back in Kenney Gym perfecting our routines to be ready for the tri-meet at Michigan this weekend. We're hungry for success and ready to IGNITE!!

    Thanks for reading and GO ILLINI!

    Mel

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