The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 23 Illinois women’s gymnastics gets 3 weekend wins

Isaac Pinkus
An Illini Gymnast flips over the vault during the meet with Minnesota on Feb. 18.

No. 23 Illinois women’s gymnastics finished its doubleheader weekend with a second-place finish and win over Bowling Green. On Friday, the Illini traveled to the All Ohio tri-meet and earned 196.325 points compared to No. 15 Ohio State (196.825), Kent State (196.125) and Bowling Green (194.275). On Sunday, Illinois returned home to face Bowling Green once again and claimed a 196.125-194.500 win.

After this weekend, the Illini are 13-9 overall and 4-5 in conference. Head coach Nadalie Walsh spoke on how she felt after the team’s performances this weekend.

“After having a double meet weekend, the team, they were high energy, they were rallying around each other,” Walsh said. “They pushed all the way to the end. We are just excited about the next couple of meets that are coming up.”

At Friday’s meet, Illinois and Kent State tied on the vault with 49.175 each. Graduate Mia Townes was the highest-scoring Illini on the vault — also in a tie for first place with a score of 9.875. Senior Abby Mueller also finished in a tie, sitting in second place and a score of 9.850.

On the bars, both freshman Lyden Saltness and graduate Mia Takekawa earned 9.900s and finished in a three-way tie for first place. On the beam, senior Kaitlyn Ewald was the highest-scoring Illini with a score of 9.850.

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For the floor, Townes and Ewald both earned 9.875 points and Mueller came in third place for the all-around competition (39.150).

On Sunday, the Illini scored fewer points overall but still secured wins in each of the four events. Starting off strong on vault, Takekawa, Townes, Mueller, freshman Olivia Coppola, sophomore Alea Byrne and sophomore Arielle Ward scored for a combined 49.125 points. Vault was Illinois’ highest-scoring event of the meet as a result. Coppola’s score of 9.850 earned her second place, while Ward took first with a 9.900.

Bars was the lowest-scoring event for the Illini, who finished with 48.950. Takekawa and senior Amelia Knight were in a three-way tie for second place, while Saltness won the title with a 9.900.

The Illini scored 49.000 on the beam, where there was a lot of impressive talent from both the Illini and the Falcons. There was a four-way tie for second place at 9.825, with Townes and Ewald sitting even with two competitors from Bowling Green. Takekawa’s performance stood out by an additional 0.025 points, giving her 9.850 points and the first-place title.

On the floor, there was yet another tie for second place, with both Townes and Byrne earning 9.825 points. Ward earned the first-place title with a score of 9.875. In total, the Illini totaled 49.050 thanks to Ward, Ewald, Mueller, Byrne, junior Kadyn Fitzgibbon and Townes’ contributions.

Ward also came in first place for the all-around competition thanks to a combined total of 39.275 across the four events. Ward tied career highs for both the vault and floor.

As the postseason draws near, Walsh said that the Illini are closing in on who will be their final competitors in each event.

“We are narrowing in on who our final decision will be for the postseason,” Walsh said. “There’s a lot of battling going on on the team in a healthy way for lineup spots, particularly on the floor.”

Walsh also said that the team is looking forward to their upcoming trip to Alabama and the opportunity to compete in an extremely large arena.

“Being in an arena with 10,000 people will just make these girls feel more valued,” Walsh added. “We’re excited to go to Alabama, show our stuff and get the benefit.”

No. 23 Illinois women’s gymnastics will be competing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Friday at 8 p.m. Illinois will be taking on No. 9 Alabama and No. 16 Minnesota.


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Isaac Pinkus
Isaac Pinkus, Assistant Photo Editor
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