Women's Gymnastics
Four Illini Earn All-Big Ten Accolades

Amber See earned her third career All-Big Ten honor on Tuesday, picking up her first ever First-Team honors in the process.
Amber See earned her third career All-Big Ten honor on Tuesday, picking up her first ever First-Team honors in the process.

March 18, 2014

B1G Release

ROSEMONT, Ill.  - With the Big Ten Championships awaiting this Saturday, that can only mean the announcement of the 2014 All-Big Ten teams. This year, the conference office named Sunny Kato and Amber See as First-Team selections and awarded Erin Buchanan and Giana O'Connor Second-Team honors. It marked the sixth straight year the Illini had at least three gymnasts claim All-Big Ten accolades. All-Conference teams are determined by regional qualifying scores. 

"To have four athletes placed on the All-Big Ten program shows a lot about the strength of our program," said Illinois head coach Kim Landrus. "Erin, Giana, Sunny and Amber understand the importance of constantly striving to reach our goals as a team. This drive and dedication has helped them to have consistency in practice and competitions. I could not be more proud of them for earning All-Big Ten honors." 

Amber See garnered her third career All-Big Ten selection and first First-Team nod. See becomes the seventh member of quite the prestigious group of Illini gymnasts who have received at least three all-conference awards (Denise Lamborn, Ashley Williams, Nicole Cowart, Cara Pomeroy, Allison Buckley and Kelsey Joannides). 

See is nationally ranked 31st on vault (9.89) and 13th on floor (9.910), while ranking seventh and fourth, respectively, on those events in the Big Ten. In addition this season, See has scored a perfect 10 on vault, tied her career high of 9.85 on beam three times and scored a 9.9 or higher on floor six times through 11 meets. 

"To be honored amongst the best in the conference three years in a row is a true accomplishment," explained Landrus. "After picking up second team honors the past two years and to earn first team in her senior season is exciting for Amber and the University of Illinois."

A Second-Team selection last season, Sunny Kato emerged with her first First-Team honor as well. Kato is ranked 23rd nationally on beam and tied for fourth in the conference with a RQS of 9.87. Kato also specializes on the uneven bars where the junior is tied for 31st in the country and tied for third in the Big Ten (9.875).

Both See and Kato are tied for the most individual titles on the team this season with 10 each. See has captured five vault, four floor and one all-around title while Kato possesses an even split of five and five on bars and beam. 

Giana O'Connor earned her second consecutive Second-Team accolade after tying for eighth in the Big Ten on floor exercise with a RQS of 9.875 (T-38th nationally). The sophomore has tied her career high of 9.9 three times on the event this season and has not scored below a 9.825 in the last three meets. O'Connor is also ranked 12th in the conference in the all-around, boasting a RQS of 39.175. 

"Both Giana and Sunny earned back to back honors with their selection this year," stated Landrus. "Once again, these two understand hard work and what it takes to be a championship caliber athlete. This mentality was a driving force for them earning All-Big Ten honors."

Erin Buchanan's solid first year donning the Orange and Blue was vindicated with a Second Team selection. The freshman is tied for eighth on vault in the Big Ten (T-41st nationally) with a 9.875 and 14th on floor with a 9.865. Buchanan has posted a career high of 9.925 on both events this year. 

"This is only the beginning for Erin," concluded Landrus. "She is such a talented athlete who loves to compete. It is exciting that in her first year she earned a spot on the All Big Ten team."


Sunny Kato, ILL

Amber See, ILL

Natalie Beilstein, MICH

Joanna Sampson, MICH

Austin Sheppard, MICH

Alina Cartwright, MSU

Lindsay Mable, MINN

Jessie DeZiel, NEB

Emily Wong, NEB

Sarah Miller, OSU

Melanie Shaffer, OSU

Kassidy Stauder, PSU


Erin Buchanan, ILL

Giana O'Connor, ILL

Sydney Hoerr, IOWA

Nicole Artz, MICH

Shelby Gies, MICH

Madie Hanley, MINN

Hanna Nordquist, MINN

Kylie Schermann, MINN

Cierra Tomson, MINN

Hollie Blanske, NEB

Victoria Aepli, OSU

Sidney Sanabria-Robles, PSU

Krystal Welsh, PSU