Illinois State gymnastics takes on Bowling Green State Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Illinois State gymnastics team seeks to build on an impressive start to the season with a trip to Bowling Green, Ohio on Saturday to take on the Falcons.

The Redbirds opened their season last weekend, where the team took first place in the four-team meet at the Ozone Classic in Tennessee.

The dual will be Bowling Green’s home opener. Last season, the Falcons defeated Illinois State in Normal 194.175-192.225.

ISU sophomore Meredith LaRoche looks to continue her success from the Ozone Classic, where the MIC Gymnast of the Week won the all-around competition with a compiled score of 38.925.

Bowling Green has enjoyed success historically in home openers at Anderson Arena. In the span of the team’s 42 seasons, the Falcons are 28-14 (.667) in their first home meet.

Illinois State head coach Bob Conkling acknowledged the challenge Bowling Green presents despite its 0-5 start to the season.

“They are a very strong team and if they pull together and hit all their events, they will be very tough competition. I am anticipating it to be a very close competition,” Conkling said.

Although Bowling Green has failed to secure a win thus far, the team has improved or maintained its score each time out. Individually, vault has emerged as the Falcons’ strongest event. Last Friday, in a tri-meet at Utah State University, all six BGSU vaulters earned marks of 9.675 or better.

On the other hand, ISU gymnasts thrived in the bars event at the Ozone Classic. Led by freshman Anna Marema, who took the top spot with 9.800, ISU secured the top three spots in that event.

The event is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Anderson Arena. Illinois State opens its home season on Jan. 29 against the University of Illinois-Chicago.

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