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.
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: Alexandria Ruiz, Alexis Vasquez, Big 10, Big 12, Courtney Loper, Denver, Denver Pioneers, Diana Chesnok, Emily Glynn, Illinois, Illinois Fighting Illini, Kaitlyn Schou, Kasey Meeks, Kylie Noonan, Lynzee Brown, Maddie Karr, Mary Jane Otto, Mia Sundstrom, NCAA Gymnastics, Rachael Donovan, Shylah Scott