Freshman Kelsey Joannides
April 10, 2009
Get behind the scenes of Illinois Gymnastics with Illini Ink - the weekly women's gymnastics journal. In this week's edition, freshman Kelsey Joannides talks about the last month of competition and the team's excitement heading into the NCAA Championships.
Hi Illini Fans! I am sorry it has taken so long to provide updates on the wrap-up of our season, but with school and traveling, we have been on the go constantly. Well, a lot sure has gone down in the past month, and it's about time we get you all caught up on the excitement!
A few weeks ago we finished up a shaky meet in Kentucky and were prepared to come home to Huff Hall and fix our mistakes at the very last home meet of the season - Senior Meet. And fix them, we did! The seniors sure went out with a bang! Kimmy, Lindsey, Julie, and Marijka all posted solid routines: Marijka's vault earned her third place with a score of 9.8, and Julie's beam score of 9.85 earned her second. The girls bid a happy farewell to Huff Hall as the team came in first to UIC!
Following Senior Meet was the State of Illinois Classic in Chicago. We all took this as great practice for the important weekend that would follow (Big Ten's!) and ended up coming out on top! We were able to defeat Illinois State, UIC, and Northern Illinois, for the team title. We really focused on the details and had a lot of fun.
Finally March 21st rolled around and we entered the Big Ten Championships with high hopes! As a freshman, it is safe to say that this was the most adrenaline-filled, exciting competition of my whole life! Huff supported nearly 1,500 people as the team put forth our best gymnastics of the year. We set record-breaking team event scores (vault- 49.375 and floor- 49.5) and also broke our very own team score of 196.7 to top off the school record yet again with a 196.75! Although we finished second to Michigan, it was a very successful evening, and I know our seniors could not have been more thrilled to have had their last Big Ten Championship at home.
Having had such strong scores throughout the year, we reached the NCAA West Regional Championships being seeded 14th in the nation. We wound up back in Seattle to compete against San Jose State, Boise State, Auburn, Utah, and Washington in attempts to earn our very FIRST bid to Nationals! We all were pumped up and ready to go! Knowing only the top two team¡¦s advance to the championships, we put solid routines together and got second place with the second highest team score in school history, 196.7! We reached our goal for the season, and had the most exciting night of Illinois gymnastics imaginable.
And now, I am SO proud to say that our season is not over yet! We are all back in the gym still soaking up the success of the year so far and training super hard for the NCAA Championships on April 16th-18th in Lincoln, Nebraska. Moving up in the rankings, we are headed to Nebraska as #11 in the nation and couldn't be more proud for we are setting our goals high for a final time this year in hopes of being a part of the Super Six!
With less than five weeks of school left, we are hitting the books, preparing for exams, and looking to bring the school year (and the season) to a great close!
I hope you have enjoyed this week's edition of the Illini Ink, and I am sorry again for playing catch up! Look out for us this coming week at NCAA's where we will wrap up the 2008-2009 season on our highest note yet! Thanks for reading & GO ILLINI!!!