LINCOLN, Neb. – Illinois’ hot start at the bars wasn’t enough as they ran out Monday night, losing to Nebraska 195.500-195.375. Junior Mia Takekawa found success, entering the all-around for the first time since his debut season.
“It’s great to be back in competition, I’m really proud and we had some really amazing performances from several athletes,” the head coach said. Nadalie Walch. “It’s really heartbreaking to have to take a loss on that one, but I know this team will learn from their mistakes and can turn that into a win next time.”
The Fighting Illini lead after the first rotation, scoring a 49.100 on uneven bars. Senior Mallory Mizuki scored a 9.850 and Takekawa hit a new career high of 9.90 on the event, the highest score of the night for either team. Takekawa scored a 9.80 on balance beam to finish the meet with a score of 39.250 and the all-around title. “It was great to see Mia be comfortable in her skin and have the ability to go out there and do what we know she can do consistently,” Walsh said.
Illinois kept the momentum going on vault with three gymnasts scoring above 9.80. Takekawa won his second event title with a score of 9.850 and Lexi Power anchored the roster with a score of 9.825. Powe has been a consistent jumper for Illinois since the end of last season. “Lexi has done a phenomenal job as an event specialist for us,” Walsh said. “She pays close attention to detail for everything she needs to do in her vault and she just keeps getting better week after week.”
Floor and beam Amelie Knight again proved to be a key gymnast for the Illini. She scored a team-high 9.825 on floor and 9.80 on balance beam to close the competition for Illinois. “This weekend was amazing for Amelia, she did all the routines she intended to do and she was a huge points contributor for our team in both competitions. only the beginning of what we will see of her.” At Penn State, Amelia scored over 9.80 on her three events, including a career-high 9.90 on floor.
Illinois travels to Kentucky on Friday to face the Wildcats, Georgia and Central Michigan at 6 p.m. CT. The Illini will then return to Huff Hall on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. against Minnesota.