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Horth and LeDuc lead Illinois women’s gymnastics at Big Ten Championships

Illinois%27+Mary+Jane+Horth+performs+a+routine+on+the+uneven+parallel+bars+during+a+meet+against+Minnesota+at+Huff+Hall+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+7%2C+2015.+
Illinois' Mary Jane Horth performs a routine on the uneven parallel bars during a meet against Minnesota at Huff Hall on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015.

Illinois' Mary Jane Horth performs a routine on the uneven parallel bars during a meet against Minnesota at Huff Hall on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015.

The Daily Illini file photo

The Daily Illini file photo

Illinois' Mary Jane Horth performs a routine on the uneven parallel bars during a meet against Minnesota at Huff Hall on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015.

Danielle Williams, Staff writer

The Illinois women’s gymnastics team took second place at the Big Ten Championship Meet. The Illini scored a 196.875, good for the fifth-highest team score in program history.

Michigan took home its fourth consecutive win with 197.300 points. Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State followed with a 196.725, 196.475 and 195.525, respectively.

Illinois started its meet on bye, and head coach Kim Landrus said her team used that time to mentally prepare itself to perform the best.

“I can’t even put into words what a great feeling this was tonight,” Landrus said. “As I said, this week’s word was purpose. We came in here with a purpose from the very start. They called it ‘our house’ and they acted like it was our house tonight.”

Illinois earned a 49.375 on the floor rotation, the team’s eighth-highest score on floor in program history. Lizzy LeDuc and Bridget Hodan led the Illini with 9.90 tallies. Freshman Karen Howell followed with a career-high 9.875, while Erin Buchanan and Brielle Nguyen scored 9.85s.

On the vault rotation, the Illini garnered their season-best score of 49.000. With a career-high 9.85, Jordyn Givens led the Illini in the third rotation. Mary Jane Horth and LeDuc each recorded a 9.80 with the help of seniors Sarah Lyons and Buchanan collecting season-high marks of 9.775. This rotation placed Illinois .15 points behind Big Ten champion Michigan.

The Illini moved on to the bars to match their season-best score of 49.225. Horth led the Illini with a 9.925, enough to take home the Big Ten bars title. Howell matched her career-high of 9.875, while Lyons helped the Illini with 9.825 more points. Rae Balthazor and LeDuc both earned a 9.80.

Illinois carried its momentum over to the beam rotation, earning a 49.725. LeDuc scored a 9.925, giving her the Big Ten beam title. Hodan recorded a 9.00 and Horth put in a 9.85. Haylee Roe’s 9.825 and Nguyen’s 9.775 both helped add to the Illini’s overall score.

Horth and LeDuc’s individual wins are the most from Illinois since Kelsey Joannides and Sarah Schmidt won the vault and floor titles, respectively, in 2009.

Illinois will next compete at the NCAA Regional at the State Farm Center on April 1.

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