The Illini will compete against six opponents that ranked in the top 25 in the final GymInfo/Troester poll, including three foes that qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Sept. 21, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois women's gymnastics head coach Kim Landrus announced the 2014 schedule on Friday. This year's slate features five home contests held inside Huff Hall, one more than a season ago. This upcoming season, Illinois will compete against six opponents that ranked in the top 25 in the final GymInfo/Troester poll, including three foes that qualified for the NCAA Championships.
The Orange and Blue are fresh off tying their program best finish of 11th in the nation last season and qualifying for their third NCAA Championships in the past five years. The women's squad will once again kick things off with the Orange and Blue exhibition alongside the men's team. Fans can get their first glimpse of the squads Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m.
The Illini then jumpstart their 2014 campaign on the road in East Lansing on Jan. 10 when they battle Michigan State for the Victory Plank trophy. Illinois has not lost to the Spartans since the trophy was established in 2010, recording three wins and a tie. Illinois will then host its season opener on Jan. 18 when it welcomes Centenary to Huff Hall.
Next up, the Orange and Blue will compete in four-straight dual meets against conference opponents, two of which reached the NCAA Championships last year (Minnesota and Michigan). First, the Illini hit the road on Jan. 25 for a Saturday showdown in Minneapolis against Minnesota. Then, the Illini return to Champaign for consecutive home meets against Iowa on Feb. 1 and Michigan on Feb. 7. On Feb. 15, Illinois embarks to University Park, Pa., for its last Big Ten road dual against Penn State.
Illinois will then head up I-74 on Feb. 21 to Normal for the annual State of Illinois Classic against Illinois State, Northern Illinois and UIC. The Illini have won six straight Classics where they have captured 31 individual titles in that span. Last season, Alina Weinstein scored the program's second-ever perfect 10. Next, the Orange and Blue have a short turnaround when they welcome Central Michigan and Ohio State to Champaign on Feb. 23.
The Illini conclude the month of February by traveling to Norman, Okla., for a dual meet against last year's NCAA Championships runner-up, Oklahoma, on the 28th. Following that meet, Illinois will have its senior meet inside Huff Hall on March 8 when it takes on Lindenwood.
To wrap up the regular season, the Illini will compete in the newly introduced Big Ten quad meet in East Lansing, Mich., on March 15 against Ohio State, Nebraska and host Michigan State. The other quad meet will be held at Ann Arbor, Mich., and consist of Minnesota, Iowa, Penn State and host Michigan. The top two teams at each quad meet will advance to the evening session of the Big Ten Championships at Penn State on March 22.
"I am very excited about our schedule for the 2014 season," Landrus said. "We open up with our annual Victory Plank competition against Michigan State. This is always a fun competition as it is our only rivalry trophy. Additionally, the Big Ten Conference has a new format this year to qualify for the evening session of Big Tens. We will compete in a quad meet the week before the championships with the top two teams advancing to the evening session. This format should make championship season even more exciting."
NCAA Regionals start April 5 and include site locations Minneapolis, Minn., Athens, Ga., Fayetteville, Ark., Baton Rouge, La., State College, Pa. and Seattle, Wash. Last year, Weinstein took home the regional beam, floor and all-around titles as the squad beat out Nebraska to claim second place in Morgantown. This year's NCAA Championships will take place in Birmingham, Ala., starting on April 18.