Junior Jaclyn Kantecki and the Illini will face a loaded field at the Chicago Style Invitational on Friday.
Feb. 8, 2012
The No. 19 Fighting Illini head to Navy Pier in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for a top-25 quadrangular showdown with No. 7 UCLA (4-1), No. 15 Boise State (3-2) and No. 18 Missouri (5-0). The collegiate meet is part of the Illinois Gymnastics Institute (IGI) Chicago Style Club Gymnastics Meet, which is one of the largest women's gymnastics invitationals in the world. The Illini last competed at the event from 2008-10, which included a victory at the 2009 edition. Last season, Illinois topped Missouri at a dual meet but finished behind UCLA in the NCAA semifinal. The Illini last squared off against Boise State in 2009, finishing ahead of the Broncos at Navy Pier.
Scouting the Loaded Field
Six-time NCAA champion UCLA enters the meet with the highest ranking of the four squads at No. 7 overall (196.435) while also sitting in the top 10 on all four events: vault (2nd, 49.400); floor (6th, 49.065); beam (8th, 48.930); and bars (9th, 49.000). Boise State checks in at No. 15 overall (194.963) and in the top 25 on vault (9th, 49.169); beam (18th, 48.494); and bars (21st, 48.650). Undefeated Missouri is at No. 18 overall (194.915) and among the top 25 on all four events: beam (14th, 48.580); vault (16th, 48.940); bars (20th, 48.660); and floor (t-24th, 48.735).
A Look Back
After two weeks on the road, No. 19 Illinois returned home and posted its season-best score with a 195.700-195.575 victory over No. 11 Ohio State. The Illini turned in season highs on vault (48.925) and bars (49.025) before closing the contest with solid showings on beam (48.775) and floor (48.975). Senior Kelsey Joannides and sophomore Amber See tied for the all-around crown at 39.175, and Illini gymnasts took home individual titles on bars, beam and floor. With the meet on the line and the Illini needing a 9.800 or better to clinch the win, See sealed the victory with a 9.900 in the final floor routine.
Four on Floor
Sophomore Amber See, who took first on floor once as a freshman, has won the event crown at each of the first four meets this season. The Minnetonka, Minn., native opened the year with a 9.850 followed by three consecutive 9.9s to earn top honors. She has notched a score of 9.800 or higher at each of the last 10 meets dating back to last season and owns five career floor titles.
Weinstein Named Big Ten Gymnast of Week
Junior Alina Weinstein earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors for the first time in her career following a personal-best meet at Michigan. The Plainsboro, N.J., native scored a career-high 39.400 in the all-around to take home top honors while also winning event titles on bars (9.875) and beam (9.825). Weinstein's all-around score tied the ninth-best mark in school history and ranks as the top score by an Illini gymnast this season. Along with her victories, she also tied for third on vault (9.825) and floor (9.875) with career-high scores.
Taking the Top Spot
Illini gymnasts have totaled 20 individual titles at the first four meets of the season. At the season opener against Minnesota, sophomore Amber See rated first on floor and there was a three-way tie for first between juniors Macy Hyatt and Jaclyn Kantecki and sophomore Sarah Fiedler on bars. The event title was the third career for Kantecki and first ever for Hyatt and Fiedler. Against the Hawkeyes, senior Kelsey Joannides took the top spot on vault, bars, beam and in the all-around while See came away with the floor crown. At Michigan, junior Alina Weinstein grabbed first in the all-around and bars while also sharing top honors on beam with Joannides, and See won the floor title. Against Ohio State, Joannides snagged first on bars and tied for first in the all-around with See, who tied for first on beam with Elizabeth McNabb and captured the floor crown for the fourth meet in a row. Joannides now leads the team with seven victories this season followed by See with six and Weinstein with three.
Illinois has three all-around competitors during the 2012 season and each has earned the top spot at a meet this season. Junior Alina Weinstein, who has two scores over 39, turned in the ninth-best performance in school history with a career-high 39.400 at Michigan and hit all four routines against Iowa to score a 39.075. Senior Kelsey Joannides owns two titles at Iowa (39.175) and vs. Ohio State (39.175) while also notching a season-best 39.300 in a runner-up showing at Michigan. Sophomore Amber See made her career debut in the all-around at Iowa with a 39.100 and tied for first against Ohio State the a personal-best score of 39.175.
Illini in the Rankings
The Illini remained at No. 19 in the national rankings for the second week in a row with an average of 194.800. Illinois spent the first two weeks of the season at No. 15 and reached as high as No. 14. The Orange and Blue are ranked in the top 25 on three events, including 12th on bars (48.850), tied for 13th on floor (48.919) and 22nd on beam (48.431). Individually, sophomore Amber See is tied for seventh on floor (9.888).
A Look Ahead
Illinois will return to Huff Hall for its annual "Pink Meet" on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. against Michigan State. The Illini will sport pink leotards to promote breast cancer awareness while the Victory Plank, the rivalry trophy between the two squads, will be on the line. Two days later on Feb. 19, the Orange and Blue will compete in Tempe, Ariz., against Arizona State at 4 p.m.
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