April 3, 2007
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. This week, freshman Nicole "Suki" Cowart talks about the Big Ten Championships.
Hey Illini Fans!
Yet another exciting and AMAZING meet has come and gone this past weekend. We traveled to Penn State to compete against all of our closest rivals for the Big Ten Championship. Going into this meet, six of the seven schools were ranked in the top 25. We all knew that we would have to hit our routines, but also hit them well in order to be competitive against the other high ranked teams.
Festivities started the day before the meet when Penn State held the annual Big Ten Banquet on Friday night. All the seniors were recognized for their team leadership and contributions over the past four years. Representing Illinois were Danye Botterman, Cara Pomeroy, and Melissa Singer. Towards the end of the banquet, each school stood and sang their fight song. In my opinion ours was by far the loudest and best! Soon after, we got to find out the rotation order for the following day and also got to eat some amazing Penn State dessert with some fudge, caramel, Oreo, and Reeses toppings!
Going into this weekend, I think that we all had very high expectations of ourselves and knew that we could put some people on the podium. It was going to be a tough task though, because of the excruciating long byes between warm up events and event rotations, but as senior co-captain Melissa Singer said, "This is a marathon, not a sprint." As a freshman I have never experienced a meet quite like Big Tens, and realized that there were ten other girls who had been there before that I could look up to for support.
As we marched to our first event, beam, I think we were all ready to show the crowd and other teams the hard work, dedication, and persistence that has made us the Fighting Illini Gymnastics of 2007, where "We Bleed Orange." After hitting five of six beam routines, we were very enthusiastic and pumped for the rest of the meet. As the meet continued, the momentum seemed to pick up more and more which seemed impossible considering that we had so much energy to begin with.
We went into the last rotation with so much Illini pride; I know that I could hardly contain myself. After we hit six for six amazing bar routines, we were ecstatic. The feelings that overcame us afterwards will be unforgettable. We all stood on the third place podium with immense grins on our faces knowing that we had accomplished something that had not been achieved for 17 years at Illinois. We had finished in the top three at Big Tens.
We have had an exciting season thus far, and looking back now, there have definitely been some obstacles and barriers that seemed to stand in our way. However, being an Illini means that we stand together as one tribe, and through thick and thin, we take pride in our school and all of its accomplishments. The road ahead of us for this season seems to be coming to an end soon, but not yet. We've secured a position to NCAA Regionals, so you can be sure that we won't go out without making some more Illinois noise!
Go Illini! SUKI