Eggleston, Bloch-Jones Named Newcomers of the Year
June 17, 2014
Champaign, Ill. - The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) announced Tuesday its 2013-14 Newcomers of the Year. Men's gymnast Chandler Eggleston (Jamestown, North Carolina) a two-time All-American and Big Ten floor exercise champion, and women's track & field standout Kandie Bloch-Jones (Oreana, Illinois), the Big Ten indoor high jump champion, were named winners of the annual awards presented to the top male and female newcomers competing in their first season with the Fighting Illini.
Eggleston made an immediate impact for the Illini, finishing as the national runner-up on floor and vault at the 2014 NCAA Championships to earn All-America accolades in both events. He won a combined 11 titles during the season on those two events, including the floor title at the Big Ten Championships where he posted a career-high score of 15.725. Eggleston was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for a staggering five consecutive weeks and set the fifth-highest vault score in school history with a 15.400 against UIC.
Eggleston is the third straight men's gymnast to garner Newcomer of the Year honors, following teammates C.J. Maestas (2012) and Fred Hartville (2013).
Bloch-Jones had a banner freshman season with the Orange and Blue. She won the high jump at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships, becoming the first Illini to win a conference crown in that event since 1997. She went on to earn second-team All-America honors by placing 14th in the high jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Bloch-Jones set a personal best by clearing a height of five feet, 11-1/2 inches at the Tyson Invitational, the fourth-best jump in school history. She rounded out the spring by finishing runner-up at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
Bloch-Jones becomes the third straight women's track & field performer and eighth overall to win Newcomer of the Year since the award began in 1990, the most recipients of any UI sport.
Eggleston and Bloch-Jones join an elite club of past Newcomer of the Year winners, including Illini greats Deon Thomas (basketball, 1991), Simeon Rice (football, 1993), Adam Tirapelle (wrestling, 1998), Jennifer McGaffigan (tennis, 2001), Susanna Kallur (track, 2001), Amer Delic (tennis, 2001), Cassie Hunt (track and cross country, 2004), Kevin Anderson (tennis, 2005), Angela Bizzarri (track and cross country, 2007), Arrelious Benn (football, 2008), Michelle Bartsch (volleyball, 2009), Andrew Riley (track, 2009), Vanessa DiBernardo (soccer, 2011) and many others.