Jan. 12, 2005
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After opening the season on a high note with a win over Illinois State and Central Michigan, the Illini welcome a national ranking of No. 18 and another road trip where they will be challenged by Big Ten opponent Penn State and Pittsburgh in a triangular hosted by the Nittany Lions.
The Orange and Blue broke into the GymInfo Women's Top-25 poll after posting a 193.825 team score in the season opener. The Illini are one of four Big Ten teams that made the cut, with Michigan leading the conference at No. 3, Michigan State following at No. 6, Illinois next at No. 18, and Minnesota rounding out the group at No. 19.
"I" on Penn State and Pittsburgh
The Nittany Lions are fresh off a fifth-place finish at the Super Six Challenge, hosted by the University of Florida. In its season opener Penn State faced some tough competition, as every opponent was ranked in the top-25. While PSU, which was ranked 19th nationally in the GymInfo Preseason Top-25 Poll, beat out then-17th ranked Iowa 193.000-190.375, both teams fell from this week's list as Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota made their debut.
This weekend will mark the season opener for Pittsburgh, which finished the 2004 season tied for 38th nationally and had two Regional qualifiers.
New Year for Newcomb
After falling just short of qualifying for Nationals in the all-around in 2004, senior Lauren Newcomb has gotten off to a good start in 2005 with a career best on vault and tying for first in the all-around last week. The Evansville, Ind. native quickly became one of the Illini's top all-arounders in 2004 and is on the fast track to reclaiming that title again this season.
Up Next... The Illini continue their road tour, traveling to Muncie, Indiana for a meet against Ball State Saturday, January 21 at 7 p.m.