Illinois splits tri-meet with Ohio State, Michigan State


Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Sophomore Mia Takekawa performs her balance beam routine during the tri-meet against Michigan State and Ohio State. The Illini placed second.

By Jonah Perez, Staff Writer

Illinois got its highest point total of the season, led by sophomore Olivia O’Donnell, sophomore Mia Takekawa and senior Kylie Noonan’s individual event titles, but placed second in the tri-meet against No. 17 Michigan State and No. 26 Ohio State on Sunday.

“We asked the athletes to dig deep this weekend and go after every little thing. We wanted to make sure they enjoy the process instead of making it work and I think they did a great job of that,” said head coach Nadalie Walsh. “We had a lot of really strong performances, and sometimes you think you might deserve to be scored a little higher, but we just have to go back and keep working.”

Ohio State had 196.375, Illinois had 196.075 and Michigan State had 194.500.

The Illini only won one event. They won vault with a score of 48.875 as O’Donnell individually won on vault with a score of 9.825; it was her first title in the event. Also, sophomore Julia Waight had a career-high on vault with a score of 9.750.

Ohio State won the other events. They won on bars, beam and floor with scores of 49.300, 49.175 and 49.200.

Illinois totaled 48.975, 49.125 and 49.100 in those events. The highest Illini individual score on bars was 9.825 by senior Rachel Borden and she placed tied for sixth in the event, this was her event high.

On beam the highest individual Illini scores were 9.875 by Noonan and Takekawa, they tied for first. On floor the highest Illini score was 9.875 by junior Mia Townes as she placed third in the event.

Tri-meets are technically two meets combined so the Illini got a win against Michigan State, bringing their record to 4-2. They are 4-1 on the road and 0-1 at Huff Hall.

This season’s results against these two teams flipped from last year. Last year the Illini beat Ohio State and lost to Michigan State.

Junior Shaylah Scott was a little off this week on floor in comparison to her usually clean routine and got penalized 0.1 points. She would have won the individual title and the Illini would have won the event without it.

Illinois was originally scheduled for a home meet against No. 7 Michigan but COVID issues within the athletic department caused it to be delayed. No word yet on whether it will be rescheduled.

The Illini have two more meets before the Big Five, which is a big event when considering conference title seeding.

Next, the Illini travel to University Park, Pennsylvania for a meet against No. 31 Penn State Feb. 13.



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