After losing to the Chippewas on Jan. 17, the Eagles were able to outscore them for the first time since 2008. At the Michigan/Illinois Challenge, the Eastern Michigan University gymnastics team came out on top to beat Central Michigan University, University of Illinois-Chicago and Illinois State University. The Eagles and Chippewas also paired up to take down the Illinois teams.
Eastern finished with 194.650 while Central was right behind with 194. Illinois-Chicago finished third with 189.925 points and Illinois State finished last with 189.650. The Eagles are now 6-1.
"I felt that our performance was a little off tonight, but I am really excited for the team that we pulled out the win," said Coach Santos. "Central is a strong opponent so I'm pleased that we were able to hold them off at the end. We started off a little shaky on our first event with two kids going out of bounds on floor and we were just a little flat in general. It was great to see the team pull it back together on vault to get back on track and pick up the energy level and then follow that up with a good bar rotation. Finishing on beam is always a tough task so I was pleased that they fought through their routines to secure the win.”
Anna Willette took the all-around title once again with a combined score of 38.950. To make up this score she received a 9.8 on vault, 9.75 on bars, 9.65 on beam and 9.75 on floor. Carina Lo Bello joined Willette in the all-around competition. Bello completed her first career all-around performance by taking second. She ended with a combined total of 38.7. Her event scores were 9.775 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.6 on beam and 9.5 on floor.
The Eagles finished second on floor behind Central. Chantelle Loehner led the team with 9.825 and took second place. Rachel Slocum and Willette scored 9.750 and tied for seventh. Paulina Miller earned a 9.625. Sydney McEachern received 9.525 and Lo Bello finished with a 9.5.
For the second rotation EMU headed to the vault where they again trailed CMU. Willette took the top spot for the Eagles. She earned a 9.8 and finished in third place. Lo Bello and McEachern tied for sixth with 9.775. Catie Conrad scored 9.725 and took 10th place. Lo Bello, McEachern and Conrad all earned personal bests in the event. Miller and Julia Schwartz both finished with 9.7.
The Eagles were able to pull ahead on the uneven bars. They topped Central 48.925-47.875. Kendall Valentin’s new career-high of 9.850 took second place. Lo Bello earned another career-high. She scored 9.825 and placed third. Conrad received a 9.775, her new personal best, and finished seventh. Willette scored 9.75 for eighth place and Nikki Paterson took 10th with 9.725 points. McEachern scored 9.7 for a new career-high.
Eastern finished on the balance beam where they took the highest combined beam score of the night. Natalie Gervais took second place with 9.775. Valentin had a career-high of 9.725. Lacey Rubin finished with the same score. The two tied for fourth. Willette scored 9.65 for sixth place. Lo Bello finished in seventh place with a 9.6. Catie added a score of 9.525 to the final team score of 48.475.
"We had some good performances tonight but also gave away a lot of tenths on little mistakes," said Coach Santos. "So we need to get back in the gym this week and really focus on cleaning up the details.”
The Eagles will be back at the Convocation Center for their next meet. They will take on MAC team Kent State University and see if they can remain undefeated at home. The meet will start at 4 p.m. on Feb. 7.