New Illini gymnasts gain experience

By Wesley Deberry

The women’s gymnastics team enters the 2007 season with a young roster.

With nine freshmen and sophomores on a roster of 14, the Illini are lead by only three seniors – captains Cara Pomeroy, Melissa Singer and Danye Botterman.

The season began with a two-competition road trip. In the season opener on Jan. 12 the team traveled to Columbia, Mo., for a meet against the No. 18-ranked Missouri Tigers.

The Illini were defeated by a score of 194.025-191.025. Then they traveled to Baton Rouge, La., on Jan. 19, for a meet against the No. 14-ranked LSU Tigers.

There the Illini suffered a close defeat, falling to the Tigers 193.850-193.300.

Despite Illini women’s gymnastics teams’ slow start, head coach Bob Starkell is staying optimistic.

“The team now has a more positive outlook for the rest of the season as a result of this meet. LSU is a tough team, and we felt like we were just as good as them tonight,” Coach Starkell said in a press release after the LSU meet.

In both meets the young talent of the Illini was displayed.

Freshman Nicole Cowart won the vault title with a score of 9.850 against No. 18 Missouri in her first collegiate competition.

Sophomore Julie Crall finished second in the all-around results with a score of 38.325 in the meet.

In the meet against LSU sophomore Marijka Botterman won the all-around title with a score of 38.925.

Also performing well in this meet was senior Cara Pomeroy as she tied for first place on the balance beam with a score of 9.825 and placed second on the uneven bars with a score of 9.825.

The Illini will begin their home schedule Jan. 27, when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes at Huff Hall at 7 p.m.