Illini women’s gymnastics opens home schedule with toughest test yet

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — After three straight road wins, the Illinois women’s gymnastics team will compete at home for the first time on Sunday. The 18th-ranked Illini (3-0) have two wins over Top 25 programs this year already, and will face their toughest test yet, with No. 9 Iowa visiting Huff Hall Sunday at 1 p.m., the first competition since last March due to COVID-19.

Illinois is led by sophomore Mia Takekawa, who has continued to shine after posting the first 10.0 routine in school history last season, on the beam. The California native will be a staple for the Illini this season as an all-around competitor. Junior Shaylah Scott anchors the Illini on floor, along with Kylie Noonan. Sophomores Lexi Powe, Araya Simons and Mia Townes have also been key contributors for the Illini, who bring in five freshmen this season. Fourth-year head coach Nadalie Walsh says she’s happy with the team’s progress so far.

“We’re just going to continue to believe that what we’ve done to really function better as a person, individually or people individually and people as a team, the cohesiveness, the energy and the atmosphere is going to be something that makes a huge difference for us,” Walsh says. “So we’re excited to compete, we’re excited to take it one meet at a time but we’re also excited to be on a mission and keep winning.”

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