Illinois women’s gymnastics opens 2022 season at Central Michigan


Photo courtesy of Tony Walsh/Illini Athletics

Gymnast Mia Townes balances for her balance beam event during the 2021 NCAA Regionals in Georgia on April 2. The Illini will begin their 2022 season in Central Michigan on Sunday.

By Jonathan Alday, Staff Writer

Illinois travels to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to take on Central Michigan in its 2022 season opener. 

The Chippewas are 3-0 against the Illini since 2015. The last time these two teams met was on March 1, 2020, when the Illini pulled off a narrow victory over the Chippewas, 196.225-195.500. 

Since this meet, Central Michigan finished 3-3 in its 2021 season, finishing second in the Mid-American Conference behind Ball State. 

They then went on to finish fourth in the NCAA Regionals and 26th nationally.

CMU also begins its 2022 season on Sunday and is ranked No. 28 in the WCGA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. 

They’ll be looking to have strong performances by 2021 All-MAC gymnasts Hannah DeMers and Katie Kowalski. DeMers won the MAC individual bars title in 2021, while Kowalski was dominant on the vault throughout the season. 

CMU also returns reigning MAC balance beam champion Morgan Tong. The Ontario native looks to start their final collegiate season strong after a historic career at CMU.

The Illini finished the 2021 season 3-2, finishing in a third-place tie with Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. They went on to place third in the NCAA Regionals.

The Illini start the season ranked No. 23 by the WCGA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. 

Illinois is also slated to finish fifth in the Big Ten conference even as head coach Nadalie Walsh never has finished below third during her tenure.

Illinois will look toward 2021 Big Ten Honorees junior Mia Townes and sophomore Amelia Knight to kick things off for the team. Townes finished third on the vault in the NCAA regionals, while Knight proved dominant in the 2021 postseason.

Both teams will be looking to start off on the right foot and provide the necessary momentum for a strong season.

The meet will take place in McGuirk Arena at 12 p.m.. in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

See the scores here and watch it live here.



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