Women’s gymnastics seeks ‘second chance’

By Wesley Deberry

The hunger for redemption after a disappointing performance last week in Ann Arbor, Mich., fueled the Illini women’s gymnastics team this week.

While many used the snow days on Tuesday and Wednesday to catch up on sleep, the Illini still had practice.

“The snow was not going to stop us,” head coach Bob Starkell said.

The Illini hope that their efforts will pay dividends this Saturday as they travel to East Lansing, Mich., to face No. 18 Michigan State.

“They see this weekend as a second chance,” Starkell said. “They are trying to prove that they are not the team that they were last week.

On paper the Illini are not the same team as they were last week as they welcome back senior captain Danye Botterman. The senior has been sidelined since the beginning of the season with a foot injury but she is expected to participate on vault and balance beam for the Illini.

More importantly, Botterman’s return brings more leadership to the team, which Starkell said is an intangible asset on the road.

Starkell hopes to get a stronger performance out of his sophomore class on this road trip. With his sophomores participating in so many events, their performance can shift the momentum of the meet one way or the other.

Sophomore Julie Crall admits that in the past few weeks there has been a lack a spirit and hard work, but this week she says all that has changed.

“We were a lot more hardworking and our whole outlook was very positive, so I think this is going to be a good week for sure,” she said.