Redbird Gymnastics Opens 2013 With Pair of Meets
Jan. 10, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State gymnastics team will open the 2013 season Friday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m., when it hosts Lindenwood inside historic Horton Field House for the first of two meets on the weekend. The Redbirds will also travel upstate to DeKalb, Ill., for a 1 p.m. Sunday showdown with Northern Illinois.
ISU returns several key members from last year's Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) championship team and will look to defend its title this season. Last year's MIC all-around champion and NCAA Regional qualifier Kim Genereux returns for her senior season, along with sophomore Sami King, who joined Genereux at the NCAA Regional as an all-round competitor last year. Also returning are juniors Apollonia Barrientos and Elise Gray, who earned All-MIC First-Team honors in 2012 on the floor and floor and vault, respectively.
Head coach Bob Conkling, who is beginning his eighth season at the helm of the Redbird gymnastics program, believes his team is ready to get the season started and is looking forward to the busy weekend.
"I feel like the team has been biting at the bit for about a month now to get back to competition," Conkling said. "They have worked hard to get ready for the season early and get to the point where they could start polishing their routines before the first meet. As with any first meet of the season, there will be some mistakes and jitters this weekend, but I believe they are excited and ready to get this season started."
Featuring 10 freshmen and one junior on its roster, Lindenwood begins its inaugural season of gymnastics competition in 2013. Lindenwood competed against No. 20 Denver and Penn State last Saturday in the first regular-season competition in program history and posted a team score of 185.925. Freshman Alicia Floyd led the way for the Lady Lions, finishing fifth in the all-round competition with a total of 37.125.
"Lindenwood is a brand new program and had its first meet last weekend out in Denver," Conkling said. "They are a very young team and had some jitters, but I'm anticipating they will perform much better this weekend with the nerves out of the way. We are excited to have them in for our first meet of the season at home and we hope to compete well."
Following Friday's season opener, the Redbirds will compete against NIU at the Convocation Center. The Huskies return 14 gymnasts from last year's squad that recorded a fourth-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships. Highlighting the group is junior Kim Gotlund, who competed at the NCAA Regional meet in the all-around.
"Northern Illinois is a program that has gotten better and better each of the past few years," Conkling said. "This will be their first meet of the season, so we really don't know what to expect from them. They were strong last year, so we expect them to be good again this year, and it should be a very close competition Sunday."
The team welcomes Reggie's Kids Club members to Friday night's meet against Lindenwood for its annual Kids Club Day. Beginning at 6 p.m., Reggie's Fun Zone will be open for kids to enjoy ISU themed coloring sheets, Reggie tattoos and an inflatable bounce house. Following the end of the meet, the entire Illinois State gymnastics team will be signing autographs on the floor. Admission is free for all club members and the entire family for this season.
Fans can also watch Friday night's meet live on RedbirdHD.tv, the live video streaming platform for Illinois State Athletics. With a monthly or yearly subscription, gymnastics fans can view all Redbird home meets and get exclusive free value-added features, such as student-athlete and coaches' interviews, meet recaps and much more.
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