Illinois women's gymnastics takes on Big Ten rival Michigan

By Tyler Fedak

Tweet: @IlliniWGym will take on No. 3 Michigan at home Friday. #Illini | Link

After a very short holiday break, the Illinois women’s gymnastics team has been preparing nonstop for the 2016 season.

The No. 17 Illini started off the new year diving straight into training five days a week to get themselves prepared for the early meets.

“The training was definitely intense, we got to work on a lot of the minor details we don’t usually get to,” sophomore Bridget Hodan said. “We got a lot of extra time in the gym.”

Outside of training, the team has already taken on Missouri and fellow Big Ten opponent Rutgers. The lost against Missouri-195.075, rallying the next week against Rutgers for a 195.500-191.600 win — their first conference win of the season.

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    A strong opener for senior Giana O’Conner was helpful to the team — she racked up seven event titles. But the rest of the Illini were unable to capitalize and senior Sunny Kato sees the first two meets of the season as learning points.

    “The beginning of the season was kind of a disappointment,” Kato said. “But I think that has motivated us to work a lot harder.” 

    The Illini are faced with a conference match up with No. 3 Michigan this Friday night. The women are working on the minor details that will gain points to keep them in the meet.

    “I think our team has so much talent and we’ve been working really hard
    on details in the gym,” Mary Jane Horth said. “We just need to get out
    there and show it.”

    The Michigan meet is no regular matchup — It is between the top two teams from last year’s Big Ten Championships. While the pressure is not unnoticed, Hodan is feeling well entering the meet and feels they will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season.

    “It’s really about coming together as a team and proving that we can be a top competitor in the Big Ten and the nation.”

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