Redbird Gymnasts Place Third in Louisiana
March 10, 2012
SHREVEPORT, La. - The Illinois State gymnastics traveled a long way from home Saturday night to compete against a pair of Midwest Independent Conference foes in Illinois-Chicago and host Centenary. The Redbirds had solid performances, but struggled to a third-place finish in the tri-meet in Shreveport, La.
The Redbirds placed third overall with a team score of 192.800, behind Centenary in second place with a score of 193.200 and UIC in first with a top score of 193.650. ISU head coach Bob Conkling was pleased with the way his team responded to some adversity during the meet and competed hard throughout the night.
"It was a tough night for us," Conkling said. "We really didn't fail on any of the events, but didn't really hit anything either. There were a few solid individual performances, but we could never really put an entire rotation together for a solid team score. Overall, there was nothing really terrible, but nothing spectacular either."
Freshman Samantha King had the performance of the night for the Redbirds, as she tied for first on the balance beam with a score of 9.800. Teammate Melissa Mann was right behind with a score of 9.725 and Kim Genereux and Tori Sarantakis each posted scores of 9.675 to round out a solid team effort with a score of 48.375.
The team's highest score of the night came on the vault, with Elise Gray leading the way with a first-place effort and a score of 9.800. Marissa Stom was close behind with a score of 9.750 to help the Redbirds post a score of 48.475 for the event. Conkling acknowledged the individual efforts of his gymnasts, but would have liked to have his full team available throughout the competition.
"I thought Sami's performance on the beam was the highlight of the night for us," Conkling stated. "I thought Kim also had a solid effort on the Bars and Elise and Marissa were good on the vault. However, I would have liked to have the full team healthy for every event tonight. We had to pull a few of them out last-minute due to some pain and soreness and it's really hard to replace the ones who have competed for us all season with those that haven't had as much competition time. But, that's how it goes sometimes and we just have to improve this week in practice and get ready for the next meet."
The Redbirds will wrap up the regular season, March 17, at the Illinois Classic hosted by Illinois in Champaign, Ill. That will be the final tune-up for ISU before the Midwest Independent Conference Championships, held March 24 in Chicago.
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