Women’s gymnastics team faces first two-competition weekend

By Wesley Deberry

Rest will be a scarce commodity this weekend for the No. 24-ranked Illini women’s gymnastics team.

For the first time this season they will face the demanding task of competing in two meets in the same weekend.

“Even though the team hasn’t competed twice in one weekend, they do regularly compete, take one day off and then come back the next day and do routines on every event,” assistant coach Kim Landrus said. “This weekend is really going to be no different; it’s just in a competition setting.”

The Illini’s two-competition weekend will begin in the familiar surroundings of Huff Hall, Friday at 7 p.m. when they face the No. 16 Auburn Tigers.

The Illini won’t have much time for sleep after the Auburn meet, as their flight for Denver leaves at 7 a.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, the Illini will face No. 14 Denver University.

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Auburn University will enter Huff Hall with a four-meet losing streak. However, Auburn’s last four opponents have been ranked in the top 12.

Denver University will come into Sunday’s meet on a high note after it beat No. 18 Ohio State, 195.550 – 195.100.

The Illini have showed much improvement on the score card in every meet of the season, and after their breakout score of 195.925 two weeks ago against Iowa State, the team is confident in its chance to win.

“I think we are all anxious about having a back-to-back meet just because we haven’t done it this season,” freshman Nicole Cowart said. “But we look stronger than ever, so were expecting to do well.”

The phrase “regional qualifying score” is heard throughout interviews with the Illini.

The Illini’s main goal at this point of the season is to solidify a top-18 seed for the regional tournament.

This weekend marks a pivotal point for the Illini as they try to boost their regional qualifying score.

High scores in both meets will put the Illini in their best position of the season. The meet against Denver University is especially important to the Illini as they try to raise their regional qualifying score on the road.

“We only had a few hard days of practice this week,” Cowart said. “So by this weekend we will be well rested and ready to go.”