#14 Illinois Nips #24 Bronco Gymnasts

While they didn't win the Chicago Style Meet, the Boise State gymnasts should take one thing home with them--they can compete with the best. Illinois erased a meet-long Boise State lead in the final minutes to take first place. #27 Michigan State was third followed by host Illinois-Chicago.

Despite a season-high score of 194.775, Boise State's gymnastics team suffered a heartbreaking loss as #14 Illinois came from behind to top the Broncos at the Chicago Style meet last night. Illinois finished with 195.100 to take first while #27 Michigan State was third at 194.400 and #44 Illinois-Chicago finished fourth with a score of 193.275

Boise State began the meet with their specialty, floor exercises.  The Broncos recorded a 48.85, second only to last week's phenomenal score against Utah State.  Sophomore Kelsey Lang led the charge with a 9.8 which was good for fifth place.  Junior Yvette Leizorek and sophomore Sarah Smith tied for ninth with 9.775 scores.  Boise State concluded the first rotation in a tie with Illinois, who matched the Broncos' score on vault.

Proving they could compete with Illinois, the Broncos proceeded to vault and scored a 48.65 for their second best performance of the season on that apparatus.  Coaches Neil Resnick and Tina Bird had to be happy with the effort that put Boise State in first place with a total of 97.5 to 96.975 for the 14th-ranked Illini.  Freshman Chelsee Apple soared to a career best of 9.90 to tie for third place.  Apple became the 15th Bronco to score a 9.90 and ranks 11th all-time on the vault with that score.  Senior Shaniece Craft had a nice 9.850 to finish tied for sixth.

Boise State scored a season-high 48.875 on bars but still Illinois was able to gain after a 48.950 on beam.  Junior Taylor Jacob tied for second on bars with a fine 9.850.  Sophomore Katie Tuller tied her career best of 9.775 to tie for sixth with sophomore Hannah Redmon.  After three rotations, the Lady Broncos led with 146.375 to 146.125 for Illinois, 145.750 for Michigan State and UIC with 144.350.

The Broncos knew they had to be solid on beam to hold off the charging Illini and they were, performing a season-best 48.40.  However, Illinois brought the house down with a 48.975 on floor to steal the victory.  Lindsay Kazandjian paced the Broncos with a career-best 9.825 to tie for second place. 

"Lindsay Kazandjian was phenomenal tonight," said Bird. "For a freshman to step up and shine like she did tonight shows a type of leadership that will take this team far."

The Broncos had no all-around competitors at the Chicago Style meet. Illinois ' Marjika Botterman and Michigan State Katlyn Roggensack tied for first on vault with a 9.925. Michigan State 's Rochelle Robinson won on the bars with a score of 9.90 while Illinois ' Julie Crall garnered the beam title with a 9.850 effort. Michigan State 's Emily Lopatofsky was tops on the floor with a 9.875 while Illinois ' Kelsey Jannides took the all-around title with a 39.125 score.

We are gaining momentum with every competition," said Coach Bird. "I'm proud of the way we performed tonight. We still have areas we need to improve but we are proving that the Broncos are a force to be reckoned with."

Although far from home, Coach Bird reported that the Broncos had a good fan base at the Chicago meet. "We had the loudest and the best fans at the meet," said Bird. "We want to send out a big thank you to all of our supporters."  

The Broncos continue their season on February 15, when they travel to Los Angeles to compete against host  UCLA and WAC opponent Cal State Fullerton. The tri-meet is scheduled for a 3 p.m. (Mountain Time) start.



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