Illini gymnast named finalist for top award

By Wesley Deberry

Senior Cara Pomeroy of the Illini women’s gymnastics team was named an American Award finalist recently at the NCAA Championship award banquet in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The American Award is meant to honor the female gymnast who best demonstrates excellence in competition, leadership, academics, and in the community throughout the duration of her collegiate career.

“For her, it was well deserved and a nice ending point to her career,” head coach Bob Starkell said.

Edging out Pomeroy in the race for the American Award was eight-time All American Janet Anson of Iowa State.

However, Pomeroy is still in an elite class of that includes fellow Big Ten foe, Lindsey Bruck of Michigan, Nicolle Ford of Utah, Brittney Koncak-Schumann of Okalahoma, and Ashley Kupets of Georgia.

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This award adds to the already impressive gymnastics resume of Pomeroy, as she is the first Illini gymnast to be nominated as a finalist.

In her senior season, Pomeroy was also named the first team All-Big Ten and captured first pla on the uneven bars at the Big Ten Championships, turning in a nearly flawless score of 9.950.

Few Illini gymnasts have matched Pomeroy’s 41 career titles, or the four consecutive years of All Big-Ten team nominations.

“I was completely in shock,” said Pomeroy when recalling her first reaction after she was made aware of the nomination.

Pomeroy admitted that at first she did not realize the American Award’s significance.

“To be nominated and recognized by the whole country is an honor,” she said.

Starkell was very happy with the news of Pomeroy’s nomination. He admits that it is too early to see if her nomination will have a ripple effect on recruiting.

However, he hopes that the nomination will show the younger team members that they can compete not only with other elite gymnasts on a personal level, but also as a team.

Pomeroy is happy to draw attention to the Illini gymnastics on a national level.

“We are definitely an up and coming team,” she said.