Sophomore Sarah Fiedler and the No. 19 Illini will face Western Michigan on Sunday, March 11 at noon.
March 9, 2012
No. 19 Illinois will travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., for its final road dual meet of the season when it squares off with Western Michigan on Sunday, March 11 at noon. The Illini and Broncos will meet in University Arena for the competition. Last season, the Orange and Blue topped WMU at home by a score of 196.425-193.925
Scouting the Competition
Western Michigan won its first five meets of the year and has a record of 8-5 in 2012. The Broncos own a season high of 195.300 and an RQS of 194.315, which is ranked 32nd nationally. The top event for WMU is bars (27th, 48.730) followed by floor (30th, 48.815), vault (33rd, 48.700) and beam (46th, 47.965).
A Look Back
On Senior Night at Huff Hall, No. 21 Illinois scored its second-highest total of the season, but came up short against Kentucky, 195.950-195.750. The Illini saw gymnasts earn the top spot on all four events while senior Kelsey Joannides and junior Alina Weinstein shared top honors in the all-around at 39.250. As a team, the Orange and Blue turned in season highs on vault (48.975) and beam (49.175).
A stellar season-high performance on beam tied the fourth-best score in school history with a 49.175. Joannides captured her fifth beam crown of the year with a career-high 9.925, tying the fourth-best individual mark in program history. Weinstein grabbed the runner-up spot with a personal-best 9.875, and sophomore Elizabeth McNabb tied for third at 9.825. The Illini started the meet off with a bang, recording a season-high 48.975 on vault. Weinstein's career-best 9.875 earned her the first vault title of her career and the fourth this season by an Illini gymnast. On uneven bars, Illinois hit all six of its routines for the second time this season and totaled a 48.900. To close out the meet, the Illini finished with a 48.700 on floor, as sophomore Amber See tied for first with a 9.850 to nab her sixth floor title of the year.
Joannides Leads All-Around Trio
Illinois has showcased three all-around competitors during the 2012 season and each has earned the top spot at a meet this season. Senior Kelsey Joannides owns five titles, including at each of the past three meets with a 39.350 at Arizona State, a career high-tying 39.375 at UIC and a 39.250 vs. Kentucky. She also notched a 39.300 in a runner-up showing at Michigan and boasts six scores over 39. Junior Alina Weinstein, who has five scores over 39, turned in the ninth-best performance in school history with a career-high 39.400 at Michigan and notched her second-highest score of 39.250 in her victory vs. Kentucky. Sophomore Amber See made her career debut in the all-around at Iowa with a 39.100 and tied for first against Ohio State with a personal-best score of 39.175.
A Must "See" on Floor
Sophomore Amber See, who is tied for 11th in the nation on floor with an average of 9.885, has won the event crown six times this season, including at each of the first four meets and against Michigan State and Kentucky. The Minnetonka, Minn., native opened the year with a 9.850 followed by three consecutive 9.9s to earn top honors. She grabbed the runner-up spot with a 9.875 in a loaded field at the Chicago Style Invitational and has not finished outside the top three after also taking second at UIC and third at Arizona State. She has notched a score of 9.800 or higher at each of the last 15 meets dating back to last season and owns seven career floor titles.
Illinois has scored over a 195 in six of nine meets in 2012, which is tied for the most number of times they have eclipsed that mark in the first nine meets in program history. The Illini did the same last season on their way to recording a school-record 11 scores of 195 or higher in 14 competitions. The Orange and Blue boast an RQS of 195.360 along with a season-high 195.775 against Arizona State. They also turned in the highest season opener ever with a 194.725 against Minnesota.
Taking the Top Spot
Illini gymnasts have totaled 37 individual titles during the 2012 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.
Junior Elise Gill earned her first career title by tying for first on floor with See, who also took first in the all-around against Michigan State. Joannides notched three titles at Arizona State (VT, BB, AA) and again at UIC (BB, FX, AA) while Weinstein nabbed her first floor crown with a career high (9.900) at ASU and See tied the second-best score in school history (9.925) to win on vault at UIC. The Illini boasted winners on every event against Kentucky, with Weinstein winning her first career vault title and taking first on bars, Joannides tying the fourth-best beam score (9.925) in school history for top honors and See earning her sixth floor crown of the season. Joannides and Weinstein also shared the all-around title against the Wildcats. Joannides leads the team with 15 victories this season, which ties the seventh-most in school history, followed by See with 10 and Weinstein with seven.
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 Illini score this season. Along with her victories, she also tied for third on vault (9.825) and floor (9.875) with season-high scores.
All Tied Up...Again
Ties in dual meets are a rare occurrence for Illinois gymnastics, as the Illini did not have a single dual meet tie during the program's first 37 years of competition. Last season, Illinois had its first tied dual meet ever when they finished at 195.350 along with Ohio State in Columbus. This year, the Orange and Blue have already twice ended a meet with the same team total as their opponent. Illinois tied with Iowa on Jan. 21 at 195.075 and with Michigan State on Feb. 17 at 195.175.
Illini in the Rankings
The Illini moved up to No. 19 in the national rankings with an RQS of 195.360. Illinois spent the first two weeks of the season at No. 15 and reached as high as No. 14 before spending two weeks apiece at No. 19 and No. 18. Last week, the Orange and Blue checked in at No. 21 following the first set of rankings based on RQS. The remainder of the year's rankings are based on a team's regional qualifying score, while the first six weeks were based on season average. Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) takes each team's top six scores from the season, three of which must be away meets, throws out the high, then averages the remaining five scores. Over the past three seasons, the Orange and Blue have been ranked for 31 straight weeks.
The Orange and Blue are ranked in the top 25 on three events, including 13th on beam (48.970), and 18th on floor (49.005) and bars (48.865). Individually, sophomore Amber See is tied for 11th on floor (9.885) while senior Kelsey Joannides is tied for 14th on beam (9.865) and 18th in the all-around (39.250). Junior Alina Weinstein is also a top-30 all-arounder, as she is tied for 29th (39.065).
A Look Ahead
Illinois will host the State of Illinois Classic on Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m. at Huff Hall. The quadrangular meet features all four Division I women's gymnastics programs in the state of Illinois, including the Illini, Illinois State, Northern Illinois and UIC.
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