Women’s gymnastics again earns in-state bragging rights

No. 13 Illinois flexed its muscles Saturday, winning its third consecutive State of Illinois Classic after defeating a second place Northern Illinois, Illinois-Chicago and Illinois State.

Saturday marked the eighth time Illinois has won the unofficial state championship since 1991, the most of any school.

The Fighting Illini notched a season-high score of 196.650, including season-best performances on both the bars and the floor, tallying 49.450 in both events en route to the victory.

The Huskies won the battle for second, edging the Flames 192.650 to 192. 475. The Redbirds of Illinois State finished fourth after posting a 191.975. For Illinois, the score was the fourth-best overall performance in school history.

Led by junior Allison Buckley and senior Sarah Schmidt, Illinois captured event titles on the vault, bars, floor and the all-around.

Buckley garnered the vault crown posting a 9.900, and the all-around title with a score of 39.400. Schmidt ran away with the bars title with a 9.975, the second highest score in school history.

Buckley and Schmidt shared the floor title, each scoring a 9.925. With three more individual titles to her name, Buckley moved into a second-place tie on the Illinois career event titles list with 41.

Illinois will head to Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, March 27, for the Big Ten Championships. After a third-place finish in 2007 and back-to-back runner-up finishes in the last two years, the Illini will look to get over the hump and win their first title since 1990.