Sarah Schmidt and the Illini head to East Lansing, Mich.
Feb. 15, 2007
The Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team (2-4, 2-1) travels to East Lansing, Mich. on Saturday, Feb. 17, to face #18 Michigan State at the Jenison Field House. The meet marks the fourth Big Ten opponent the Illini will face this season. So far, Illinois is 2-1 against Big Ten foes, beating Iowa and Ohio State at home and falling to Michigan last week on the road. Illinois is ranked #27 in the latest GymInfo rankings with a 193.305 average, while the Spartans are #18 with an average of 194.370. Live stats for the meet will be available at fightingillini.com or msuspartans.com.
Scouting The Spartans
Michigan State posted a 194.000 and a first-place finish at the Fox Run Invitational in New Hampshire last weekend. Host New Hampshire took second with a 193.925, followed by No. 22 West Virginia (193.075) and Brown (184.500). MSU freshman Rochelle Robinson turned in the first perfect 10.0 score in Spartan gymnastics history on vault at the meet, earning Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors for her efforts. The Spartans are coached Kathie Klages, who is in her 17th season as head coach.
Last Week vs. Michigan & Nebraska
Last Friday the Fighting Illini traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face its toughest competition to date. After steadily improving their score in each of the first four meets, the Illini took a step back, struggling to a score of 192.525 to finish third behind No. 8 Michigan (195.825) and No. 6 Nebraska (195.350).
Cowart Leads the Team
In the Feb. 3 win over Ohio State, freshman Nicole Cowart paced the Illini by winning two events in front of the home crowd at Huff Hall. She surpassed her previous highs in both the floor and the bars with scores of 9.800 and 9.775, respectively. Her floor score was enough to carry her to her first event title of the night. She also won the all-around with a score of 39.125. Then last week at Michigan Cowart led the way again, tying or setting three career-highs while taking fourth on vault (9.875), beam (9.775) and in the all-around (39.125) against top competition.
Seniors Lead The Way
Seniors Danye Botterman, Cara Pomeroy and Melissa Singer are the tri-captains for this year's Illinois women's gymnastics team. Pomeroy, the team's top gymnast over the past three years, is a two-time first team All-Big Ten selection as well as the only Illini gymnast to ever record a perfect 10.0. She accomplished this with her uneven bars performance at the 2004 NCAA South Central Regional Championships. In addition to her impressive list of accolades, she has also won 33 career event titles in her illustrious career. Fellow seniors Botterman and Singer have also contributed greatly during the previous three years, but have been inactive so far this year due to injury.
Freshmen Catching on Fast
Freshmen Nicole Cowart and Sarah Schmidt have shown no signs of inexperience in their first five performances of the season. Cowart has won a team-high three event titles thus far, and has posted the top the top two all-around and vault scores by an Illini this season. Schmidt, meanwhile, has competed regularly on bars, beam and floor for the Orange and Blue. She had the best meet of her young career on Feb. 3 against Ohio State, tying for second on both bars (9.800) and beam (9.750) while posting career-high scores on each event.
Illini in the National Rankings
Illinois ranks 27th nationally in the Feb. 12 GymInfo rankings with an average of 193.350. Balance beam has been Illinois' strongest event so far. The Illini rank 21st in the nation with an event average of 48.375 on beam. Illinois posted its top score of the season against Iowa with a 48.850. Cara Pomeroy and Julie Crall have led the way, posting season-high scores of 9.900 and 9.875, respectively.
The Illini have yet to be at full strength this season as senior tri-captains Danye Botterman and Melissa Singer, and freshman Lori Hamilton have missed the first five meets recovering from injuries. Botterman and Hamilton are close to returning to action, while Singer continues her recovery.
Keep up with the Orange and Blue at fightingillini.com
Gymnastics fans can get the latest on the Illini at fightingillini.com, the official website of Illinois athletics. Live scoring will be available for all home meets at fightingillini.com, and Live streaming video will be available for the four remaining home meets of the season with a CSTV All-Access subscription ($6.95 per month). Be sure to check out what life is like outside the gym for the Fighting Illini by reading "Illini Ink", the weekly blog that is written by a different UI gymnast each week. Also, photo galleries are added to the site on a weekly basis, making it easy to follow the Orange and Blue.
After Saturday's contest in East Lansing against Michigan State, the Illini will return home after two consecutive weeks on the road to welcome Iowa State and Northern Illinois to Huff Hall on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. The meet will be the Illini's second of three tri-meets on the season and the only one at home.