A Perfect 10: Takekawa shining as freshman for Illini gymnastics


URBANA (WCIA) — You don’t have to be a judge to see that Mia Takekawa is nearly perfect on the beam.

“You have to act and believe that you are a champion in order to be one,” the Illini freshman gymnast said. “And so I think believing in myself like that has really helped.”

But perfect is an understatement. In just her second collegiate meet, Takekawa became the first ever Illinois gymnast to score a perfect 10.0 on the beam.

“I’ve put a lot of hard work into the gym throughout my whole life in this sport,” she said. “So just having that validated and rewarded with a 10.0 feels really good.”

“When the score was flashed the humility makes me feel just so proud of her, and that she know that it was a win for her, but it was a win for everybody,” Illinois women’s gymnastics coach Nadalie Walsh said.

Takekawa has already skyrocketed her Illinois career. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the week hasn’t earned a score less than 9.0 among all apparatuses. She now ranks third in the country on the beam.

“Especially on beam, I didn’t think it was going to be this good so far,” Takekawa said. “I feel like I was just good at beam, but I feel like this year my confidence has just gone up a lot.”

And it’s hard to lack confidence with a support system like Mia’s. Her parents and sister came to campus to see her perform, all the way from Sacramento, California. A trip that proved to be well worth it.

“I’m really glad that they were there to see it,” Takekawa said. “I know they were proud of me so it felt really good.”

Her good luck charms will also be in the stands on Saturday, when Illinois hosts Michigan at Huff Hall.

“Maybe this weekend they’ll help me out too.”

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