Gymnasts achieve high score

Illinois gymnast Julie Crall performs on the balance beam during the meet at Huff Hall on Sunday. Scoring 9.875 on the beam with a first place finish, Crall helped Illinois take second place overall at the meet. ME Online

By Wesley Deberry

Standing in a parallel line between opponents Iowa State and Northern Illinois, the Illini women’s gymnastics team listened with smiles on their faces as the official scores of Sunday’s meet were announced.

Scoring a 195.925, the Illini defeated Northern Illinois’ score of 191.225, but took second to Iowa State’s score of 196.425.

However, the smiles of the Illini were not due to their second-place finish.

It was because they posted their highest team score of the year and put their potential on display for all 474 fans at Huff Hall to see.

“We came in wanting to beat Iowa State, but they had a really good meet,” senior captain Cara Pomeroy said. “But we posted our highest score of the season so we are really excited.”

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Leading the way for Iowa State was senior Janet Anson, who won the vault title with a score of 9.950, the floor exercise title with a score of 9.925 and the all-around title with a score of 39.525.

For the Illini, head coach Bob Starkell admitted that his hopes of getting a solid performance out of everyone on the team came true in this meet. Starkell credited the first gymnast of each event for getting the Illini going in the right direction.

“They started the event off strong and I think that was the momentum we needed to take us through the events,” Starkell said.

Scoring well for the Illini was freshman Nicole Cowart, recording a personal best of 9.775 on balance beam, taking third place and scoring a second-place all-around score of 39.025.

Senior Cara Pomeroy hit a season-high mark of 9.925, tying for first place with senior Katie Lasher of Iowa State.

Leading up to Sunday’s meet, Starkell said that he wanted to see a better performance out of his sophomore class.

“Looking at all four events, I feel that we had a real strong performance, and there was no class that did not step up,” Starkell said after the meet.

Marijka Botterman led the way for the sophomore class, finishing third in the all-around with a score of 38.875 and tying fellow sophomore Lindsey Smith on vault with a score of 9.850.

She also tied Cowart for third on balance beam with a score of 9.775.

Sophomore Kim Kruk took fourth place in the all around with a score of 38.875.

While the Illini performed well in Sunday’s meet, Starkell said he knows that there is still work to be done and hopes to improve floor routines this week in practice.

“Even though we came in second, I feel that we are a lot closer to reaching our full potential, so I am really excited,” Cowart said.