Women's Gymnastics
No. 21 Illini Face Off Against No. 25 Buckeyes

Freshman Kim Kruk recorded the first three title of her career last weekend against UIC.
Freshman Kim Kruk recorded the first three title of her career last weekend against UIC.

March 1, 2006

Champaign, Ill. -

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This Week
The No. 21 Fighting Illini women's gymnastics team heads to Columbus, Ohio to face Big Ten rival, No. 25 Ohio State on Saturday, March 4. Illinois (6-3, 1-0) is coming off its best performance of the season in a victory Illinois-Chicago, 195.300-190.775. The Buckeyes (8-5, 0-3) are coming of a 196.625-193.675 loss to Penn State.

Last Year Against The Buckeyes
The Illini and Buckeyes competed against each other twice in the 2005 season. In mid-March, the Illini defeated Ohio State in a home dual meet by a score of 195.425-194.625. Later that month, Illinois met Ohio State at the Big Ten Championships in Iowa City where the Illini placed fifth with a score of 193.725 and the Buckeyes finished seventh with a score of 192.875.

Buckeye Scouting Report
Ohio State heads into Saturday meet against the Illini coming off back-to-back losses to Penn State and Denver. Last weekend the Buckeyes fell to Penn State at home by a score of 196.625-193.725, however managed to post team season-bests on vault (48.755) and floor (49.075).

In the loss to the Nittany Lions, sophomore Kaylan Clevinger was awarded the Buckeye Performance Award for being the top Buckeye women's performer by Olympic medalists Paul and Morgan Hamm. Clevinger and sophomore Maalika Moore-Thomas tied for second place on the team on floor with with a score of a 9.825. Clevinger's mark was a career high, while Moore-Thomas' was a season best. Clevinger also notched a 9.700 on beam and a 9.625 on vault.

Moore-Thomas recorded a career best and team season best 9.900 on vault which placed second. She finished third in the all-around with a 38.300 and was the only Buckeye to perform on all four event

Staying Steady
The Illini remain at the No. 21 position on this week's GymInfo rankings (Feb. 27, 2005) after hitting 24 of 24 routines against UIC to record a season-best team score of 195.300. This is the second week of rankings being determined by regional qualifying score (RQS).

McGrady Magic
Last weekend's meet marked the fifth time sophomore Michelle McGrady finished with two top-three finish in a competition. Last Saturday against UIC, McGrady recorded second-place finishes on vault (9.800) and floor (9.775). The sophomore ranks No. 11 on vault and No. 13 on floor in the South Central Region and leads the Illini in both events.

Pomeroy Racking Up Titles
Junior Cara Pomeroy tied a personal best on beam last weekend with a 9.900 against the Flames. The junior last recorded the score at the Ohio State Triangular on Jan. 31, 2004 in an Illini victory over Ohio State and Illinois State. Pomeroy currently ranks eighth on beam and 10th on bars in the South Central Region.

Phenomenal Freshmen
After an impressive first six meets, freshman Marijka Botterman took it one step further last Saturday against UIC by recording titles on vault and bars, and recording three personal-best scores to lead the team to their best team score of the season. The two titles were the first of Botterman's career.

Freshman Kim Kruk also recorded the first three title of her career last weekend. Kruk tied for the title on bars (9.725) and won outright titles on floor (9.825) and all-around (38.950) while recording four personal bests

Starkell on Freshmen
"We knew their potential this whole time. We are extremely delighted that they are coming around halfway through the season. It is more important for them to gain confidence since they are individuals who are competing in seven or eight routines out of the 24. They are very important individuals for our team score. It also shows a good sign for the future of our program. "

Starkell on Competing in Columbus
"From prior experience we know that it isn't easy to go into Columbus and bring home a victory. We definitely have to pay attention to what we've been doing in practice. We have to rely on our ability and not worry about the things we cannot control. For us to improve, we need to start the meet a little bit stronger. We need to come out right away and improve on bars."

Follow The Illini At Home
For the second straight year fightingillini.com will feature live streaming video of all Illinois home gymnastics meets as part of Illinois' All-Access package ($6.95/month). The next opportunity to catch all the action takes place on March 11 when the Illini host their final meet of the season in Huff Hall against conference rival Michigan State.

In addition to the live video, each home meet also features live scoring updates. Check fightingillini.com for more details.

Up Next
After their trip to Columbus, the Illini come home to host No. 23 Michigan State in Huff Hall for "Senior Day" on March. 11. The Spartans are currently ranked No. 5 in the Central Region with an RQS of 193.205 and travel to Raleigh, N.C. to face North Carolina State Friday.