Women’s gymnastics wins first road test

By Wesley Deberry

The University of Illinois women’s gymnastics took a big step as they hit the road last Saturday to East Lansing, Mich., to face the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans.

“It doesn’t matter where you compete,” head coach Bob Starkell said before the competition. “(We need to) walk into this gym tonight like its your own and take care of business.”

The Illini posted their highest road score of the season beating the higher ranked Spartans 194.700-193.925 in their first road victory.

“We were most impressed with the whole team effort but also in the performance of the experienced individuals,” Starkell said.

This meet marked the return of senior captain Danye Botterman who competed in vault for the Illini scoring a 9.550.

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“Danye’s presence while competing is much stronger than Danye sitting on the sidelines and cheering,” Starkell said.

Senior Cara Pomeroy set the tone for the meet with her title winning performance on the uneven bars, scoring a 9.875.

Freshman Nicole Cowart won the all-around title for the Illini with a score of 39.025, with a career best 9.775 on uneven bars. Freshman Nicole Schmidt scored a career-best 9.800 on uneven bars.

Sophomore Julie Crall took first place on balance beam with a score of 9.850. Kim Kruk and Marijka Botterman each finished with season highs in the floor exercise, 9.750 and 9.675 respectively. Fellow sophomore Lindsey Smith finished with a score of 9.258 in the floor exercise, a new career high.

Women to face No. 10 Iowa

The University of Illinois will return home this week to face Northern Illinois and No. 10 Iowa State on Sunday at Huff Hall at 2 p.m. The Illini hope to build off of last week’s momentum and continued to improve.

While the Illini defeated Northern Illinois meet last year in Dekalb, they fell short in their meet against Iowa State last year. However, Iowa comes into Champaign this year on a two-meet losing streak. Northern Illinois is also on a two-game losing streak and will be forced to compete in two competitions in three days as they take on Ball State on Friday before coming to Champaign for the meet on the Sunday.