Junior Kelsey Joannides
March 23, 2011
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this year's 23rd edition, junior Kelsey Joannides looks back at the Big Ten weekend and talks about the team's schedule over Spring Break and the upcoming NCAA regional.
Hello Illini Fans!
I can't believe I am finally writing to you on week 12 of our season! The competition weekends have done nothing but fly by since January and we are now well into the post season meets, having just come off of a great Big Ten Championship! We traveled up to "Gopher Country" and were able to secure a solid third place team finish in the conference. The trip was a ton of fun and lived up to all of our expectations. Like Alina said last week, all of our families made it out there bleeding orange and blue, the parents (along with Liz's younger brother, William☺) sported the overalls, and we cracked a team score of 196 for the third time this year! The energy was the highest it has been thus far, and, needless to say, the weekend finished with some definite Illini victories. Freshman Amber See walked away as the Big Ten Vault Champion, and senior Melissa Fernandez went out with a bang by placing second in the all-around in the entire conference. We could not have been more proud of our performance and are more motivated than ever to keep up with the preparations for NCAA Regionals on April 2nd!
That's actually what all the hype has been about this week. We patiently waited for the rankings to come out and found that we moved up to 14th in the nation! GO ILLINI! It turns out that we have been seeded to head to Alabama for Regionals and will be facing off against our conference rivals, the Penn State Nittany Lions, along with Alabama, Central Michigan, Kentucky, and Auburn. SEC here we come! The team is very excited. We are taking advantage of every opportunity to fine tune routines and qualify for the NCAA Championships for the second time in school history!
Conveniently enough, this week is actually our Spring Break, so all the focus has been on gymnastics. It has been a busy semester for everybody, so the time off from school is definitely refreshing. We are working hard at practice, catching up on sleep, and getting some much needed "down time." Since the dorms are currently closed, the underclassmen have been staying at a hotel, and the past few days we have been able to hang out there with the boy's team at the indoor pool. It has been a lot of fun.
With four more days of break to soak up and a weekend with no competition, we will be cheering loudly at Huff Hall for the boys as they take on UIC on their Senior Night this Saturday. Stayed tuned for updates on our countdown to 2011 Regionals, and thanks for reading!