by Todd Marver, Daily Vidette Senior Staff
As the old saying goes “third time’s the charm,” but for the Illinois State gymnastics team the second time was the charm.
After taking second place out of four teams in their first quad meet of the season at the Illinois against Michigan meet at Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti, Mich., Feb. 3, the Redbirds returned home to compete in their lone home quad meet of the season Friday night at Horton Field House where they placed first, tying a season-high team score of 193.625. Seattle Pacific (191.6), Temple (190.25), and Wisconsin-Stout (178.625) placed second, third, and fourth, respectively.
“[The ISU gymnasts] had a little more time to train this week,” ISU head coach Bob Conkling said. “We only had two days to train last week for the last quad meet and we could almost train all week this time because we didn’t have to travel.”
Conkling switched up the lineup in this meet and anticipates ongoing lineup tinkering throughout the rest of the season.
“We made a few changes in the lineup this week and rested a couple of people to get others that were a little fresher in,” he said. “I think you will probably see some changes in the lineup the rest of the season here and there because of that. It is a long season and we try to rest some people occasionally.”
The Redbirds received a season-high team score of 48.7 on the floor exercise. ISU also scored 48.425 on the vault, 48.525 on the uneven bars, and 47.925 on the balance beam.
“I am very pleased with the team as a whole,” Conkling said. “A couple gymnasts had off nights and still made it into a routine with respectable scores. That’s when we know our team is really strong overall. The beam wasn’t so hot, and there was a little bit of pressure and nerve on the balance beam from the individual athletes.”
Junior Kim Genereux earned first place in the all-around with a 38.825 score. She also placed second on the uneven bars (9.75) and vault (9.775), as well as finishing third on floor exercise (9.725).
“I was thrilled with Kim’s performance in the all-around,” Conkling said. “It was a shame she had that minor mishap on her last tumbling pass or she would have sky-rocketed for her first all-around meet this season. She looks great right now. She is on limited training with having such a demanding major in the nursing program, but she looks fantastic.”
Junior Elise Gray tied with Genereux for second place honors on the vault with a 9.775 score.
“Elise had a really good vault,” Conkling said. “She had a terrible vault last week, so I am glad that she was able to get up back up on her feet this week.”
Freshman Sami King finished in first place on the uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.775.
“Sami had a beautiful bar routine and it was really the best bar routine she has done this year,” Conkling said.
Senior Melissa Mann took first place on the balance beam with a 9.775 score.
“It wasn’t Melissa’s best performance and she knew that,” Conkling said. “She knows where she needs to improve to score that 9.85 or higher.”
Senior Robin Weismann and junior Marissa Stom tied for second on floor exercise with a score of 9.8.
“We really did well on floor exercise tonight as a whole,” Conkling said. “Robin and Marissa’s performances were both fantastic. It was really our first time this season getting close to reaching our full potential on floor exercise.”
ISU gymnastics resumes action Friday at 7 p.m. against Western Michigan at Horton Field House.