Redbirds Score Season-High, but Fall in Illinois Classic
Sami King
Sami King

Feb. 21, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State gymnastics team took fourth place in the annual Illinois Classic meet, despite junior Sami King winning the balance beam competition and scoring a career-best 9.925 to win the floor exercise. The meet took place in Horton Field House on Friday and included gymnasts from Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Northern Illinois and Illinois State.

Head coach Bob Conkling was disappointed about the loss, but satisfied with the improvements and personal-bests his team produced.

"You're never happy being fourth place at the Illinois Classic, but with the way the season has been going we are so happy for our athletes tonight," Conkling said. "We had the best team score we've had all year and we had a lot of personal-bests."

Illinois won the battle of the state after tallying a team score of 195.825, led by Giana O'Conner who took first place in the all-around competition with a score of 39.275. Catherine Dion contributed a third place all-around score of 39.125 to help Illinois-Chicago post a 194.300 to take second place, while Northern Illinois scored a 193.625 to place third, and Illinois State recorded a season-high 193.200 to take fourth place.

The meet began with ISU scoring a 48.025 on the vault, U of I posting a 48.675 on the balance beam, NIU recording a 48.750 on the floor exercise, and UIC tallying a 48.850 on the uneven bars. Sophomore Sarah Fisher led the way for the Redbirds by posting a career-best 9.750 and senior Jenna Bossle contributed a season-high 9.575.

The Redbirds were able to slide into third place after scoring a 48.700 on the uneven bars during the second rotation, thanks to career-highs of 9.850 by sophomore Amanda Mohler, 9.800 by freshman Kristyn Bossle, and 9.750 by freshman Samantha Ward. After tallying a 49.000 on the floor exercise, Illinois sat in first place with a running score of 97.675, while Northern remained in second place with a 97.750, Illinois State in third with a 96.725 and Illinois-Chicago with a 96.675.

During the third rotation, the Illini remained in first place after posting a 49.425 on the vault, thanks to a perfect 10.000 by Amber See and a 9.900 by Emily Lennon and Erin Buchanan. Junior Sami King led the way for the Redbirds on the balance beam by winning the event and tying her season-high of 9.825, and freshman Demi Pas contributed a career-high 9.700.

The Redbirds moved to the floor exercise in the final rotation and King scored a career-best 9.925 to win the event, while senior Kim Caron added a season-high 9.775. Pas continued a strong meet by posting a career-best 9.625 and junior Kristen Lieberman contributed a career-high 9.650 of her own.

I'm really happy for Sami King winning the floor and beam competitions after taking some time off competition," Conkling said. "Sarah Fisher threw her vault, we let her twist it, and she stood up and did it. There were a lot of good things tonight and I was really pleased with our team's performance."

The Redbirds will return to action when they host Penn and honor four seniors on Saturday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m. in Horton Field House.

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