170127_GymnasticsVSUIC_EH24

The Illinois State women's gymnastics team hosted University of Illinois Chicago in its home opener Sunday at Horton Field House. The Flames won the dual meet 192.425-192.00. ISU returns to action Feb 5 at Central Michigan.

The Illinois State gymnastics team defeated fellow Midwest Independent  at Horton Field House. 

The Redbirds ended a losing streak of three-consecutive competitions behind a strong effort from Meredith LaRoche. The sophomore won the all-around with a score of 38.975.

Illinois State raised its season average to 192.794, which trails only Lindenwood in the Midwest Independent Conference. Head coach Bob Conkling was encouraged by the team’s performance across the board. 

“I was very pleased with how we did on vault, bars and floor,”  Conkling said. “Meredith looked solid all the way through. Anna Marema was awesome on bars and Gabrielle Cooke had one of the best floor routines I’ve seen from her.”

ISU gymnasts took first place in each of the competition’s four events. Marie Priest won the vault, Marema took the bars, Demi Pas led the field in balance beam and Cooke’s personal best score of 9.875 landed her on top of the floor exercise leader board.

“Balance beam is a tough event and our gymnasts just have to trust themselves. We have to focus on small details and getting clean with handstands on bars during this week’s practice,” Conkling said.

The Redbirds will travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State University at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The team returns to Horton Field House for a dual meet with Wisconsin La-Crosse at 11 a.m. Sunday.

NATE HEAD is a Sports Reporter for The Vidette. He can be contacted at  ​vidette_ndhead@ilstu.edu Follow him on Twitter at @NateHead51

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