Walsh ready for Illini debut

First-year Illinois women's gymnastics coach Nadalie Walsh opens 2018 season

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- A new era in Illinois women's gymnastics history starts this weekend with first-year head coach Nadalie Walsh's first meet. Walsh arrived in Champaign last June after spending the previous four years at Utah State, leading the Aggies to the NCAA Regional four times.

"I think I've brought a sense of family, unity, trust," Walsh said. "There's a lot of trust between the staff and the athletes that they know they can come to us. They know that we're here for their best interests and I think that that has just shifted the culture and boosted the team morale. The fans, and people are going to be able to see that out on the floor."

"Gymnastics is a hard sport," Illinois sophomore Rae Balthazor said. "It's a perfection sport, so you're always trying to be perfect but she's really good at reassuring me that some bad turns happen and I'm just going to keep working towards that perfection."

Illinois visits Rutgers in a meet with Southern Connecticut and Yale Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. in New Jersey. The first home meet for the Illini is Jan. 19 versus Michigan.

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