Jan. 26, 2014
CHICAGO – The UIC women’s gymnastics team hit its mark on Sunday and it paid off, as it produced a season-high score to defeat MIC-opponent Lindenwood, 192.225-189.700, at the Physical Education Building. The Flames ended the day with four first-place finishes from senior Catherine Dion, junior Gabrielle May and freshman Nicole Szabo.
"It is the first win of the year and the first win in the conference, so we feel really good about those two pieces," said co-head coach Peter Jansson. "The bars and floor teams were out there performing like we know they can, so we are really enjoying the steps we are taking forward there. Vault is starting to come together, and on beam, they are stronger in practice. As we go through the season and as they get more meet experience, that should start pumping up."
The Flames excelled on their first two events after setting season-high scores. On vault, redshirt-junior Kimberly Randall and Dion tied for second place after each posted scores of 9.775, followed by May in a tie for third with 9.700 to contribute to the team total of 48.175. UIC then won uneven bars after recording a total of 48.950 to the Lions’ 47.750, with Szabo and Dion tying for first with 9.825 and May tying for third with 9.800.
Dion came away with the best score for the Flames on beam with a tally of 9.700 for first place, as freshman Emily DeCesare came in close behind with a 9.675 to tie for second.
In their final rotation, May led the Flames with a career-high 9.825 on floor to tie for first. Dion, Szabo and DeCesare then followed with scores of 9.775, 9.750 and 9.725, respectively, to round out the top five and finish with the team’s best score of the season at 48.750.
Dion matched her career-high in the all-around with 39.075 to lead all gymnasts, as May picked up a total of 38.275 and junior Citlali Cuevas collected a 37.675.
"We had some great performances today with Cat (Dion) in the all-around, Gabby (May) on floor and bars, and Nicole (Szabo) on bars," Jansson said. "It was really exciting to see Emily (DeCesare) come back so strong on floor and it was great to have Sasha (Alexandra Vedenin) back in the lineup."
"We are expecting to continue to grow as the season goes along," added Jansson. "We took an exciting step forward today and we look forward to taking one more next week."
The Flames will now prepare for three meets on the road. First up for UIC is a trip to Mount Pleasant, Mich., where they will compete in the annual State of Illinois versus State of Michigan meet, hosted by Central Michigan, on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.