Illini women's gymnastics falls in Minnesota

By Tyler Fedak

The Illinois women’s gymnastics team fell short of its recent standard of performance in its road meet against Minnesota, falling 195.775-195.000.JT

With Illinois’ All-American Mary Jane Horth sidelined with an injury, the team had a setback from the beginning. Horth, who ranks 24th in the nation in the all-around, is the only Illinois gymnast to boast top-three all-around finishes in every meet this season.JT

With Horth out of the meet, Illinois head coach Kim LandrusJT put several Illini in positions to step up.

“With MJ out of the lineup, I am hoping that this will fuel individuals to step up and fill the void,” Landrus said. “They have had very successful high school careers, so they are fully capable of it.”

Illinois gathered a .050 lead over Minnesota after the first rotation. The team performed its second-best score of the season on the uneven bars, totaling a 48.750.JT Senior Giana O’Connor led the Illini with a season-best 9.850, placing her second in the event and sophomore Bridget Hodan scored a 9.700 in the first competitive bars routine of her Illinois career.

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    On vault, O’Connor shared the event title with her score of 9.800 — her ninth event title of the season and her 30th career title.JT The team scored a 48.425 overall on the event, placing them behind Minnesota going into the second half of the meet.JT

    The Illini faced a high-set bar going into the last two events — they had just set season-best totals in each of the events last week at Penn State.

    In the floor competition, Erin Buchanan and Lizzy LeDuc managed to place second and third respectively in the event. As a team, the Illini didn’t match up to their expectations, scoring a 48.875, a season-low in the event for the season.JT

    The gymnasts closed out the meet producing a 48.950 on beam. Sunny Kato made a second place finish with a 9.875 and O’Connor tied her season best with a 9.850.JT

    The effort from Illinois wasn’t enough to take down their undefeated Big Ten competitor. In the 195.000-195.775 win, the team managed to rack up one event title and seven top-three finishes.

    Illinois struggled with the absence of Horth, who won her first all-around title of the season against Penn State. O’Connor and LeDuc helped bridge the loss, placing second and third all-around.

    The loss to No. 18 Minnesota makes No. 19 Illinois 2-3 on the season, 2-2 in the conference.JT The 195.000 finish marks a season-low total score for the team, a major rebound from last week’s season-high total of 195.725.

    “Obviously, today was not the outcome that we wanted,” Landrus said. “The team must commit to their gymnastics and expect success each and every day in the gym. When that happens, the results will follow.”

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