The Fighting Illini of Illinois faced off against the Denver Pioneers in Champaign, Illinois Friday, scoring a 195.025 to the Pioneers’ huge 197.775. Denver continues to break records, scoring the second-highest score in program history for the second week in a row.

Illinois performed solidly on vault, beam, and floor, but had to count two falls on bars. Maddie Karr won the all-around with a 39.675, followed by teammate Lynzee Brown, who scored a 39.650. Mary Jane Otto of Illinois won the uneven bars with a 9.925 in addition to placing third in the all-around with a 39.500.

Illinois started strong on vault, scoring a 49.000, just one tenth below their season best. Kasey Meeks and Mary Jane Otto scored 9.850s to tie for third on the event with big, clean Yurchenko fulls. In a lineup without any vaults starting at a 10.0, the Illini rely on good execution to score into the 9.800s. On the uneven bars, Denver posted a 49.475 with four scores of at least a 9.900. Emily Glynn and Brown tied for first place with a 9.925, while Diana Chesnok and Karr scored 9.900s to tie for fourth.

On vault, Denver posted a 49.250, with Brown and Karr hitting their Yurchenko one-and-a-halfs for a 9.875 and a 9.900, respectively. Even with some lineup changes due to the absence of Mia Sundstrom, Denver’s vault total was only a tenth below their season best. On the uneven bars, the second event for Illinois, they were only able to count three hit routines for a total of 47.800. After falls early in the lineup, they recovered well, with just one major mistake and two clean routines from Rachael Donovan and Otto. Donovan scored a 9.875, the third highest score of the night.

Alexis Vasquez performs on the balance beam for the Denver Pioneers against the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign, Illinois/Denver Athletics

Illinois recovered well from a rough bars rotation, scoring a 49.175 on the balance beam, a season high. Shylah Scott posted their top score of the night with a 9.900, tying for third place. Otto and Kylie Noonan posted scores of 9.875, continuing a solid beam rotation for the Fighting Illini. Denver kept the momentum going on floor, where Brown won the event with a 9.950 and Karr placed second with a 9.925. Courtney Loper debuted on floor, where she scored a 9.700. All five counting scores for the Pioneers were over a 9.800, showing that Denver is truly a top team to watch this year.

Finishing on the balance beam, the Pioneers posted a 49.600, their highest rotation total of the night and a season high. Freshman star Alexis Vasquez won the event with a 9.950, showing off her exquisite execution and consistent beam work. She tied with teammate Karr, who also scored a 9.950. Brown, Alexandria Ruiz, and Kaitlyn Schou tied for third place with a 9.900. Despite a fall in the first routine, Illinois came back strong to score a total of 49.050 on floor. Noonan tied for third with a 9.900, and the Fighting Illini counted three more scores of at least a 9.800, finishing their home meet with clean performances.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,