Recruiting Breakdown: Fighting Illini Add Six New Faces For 2018

Illinois is coming off a season where the Fighting Illini finished fourth at the Champaign regional. The squad had a good meet on both uneven bars and balance beam, but couldn't break the 9.850 mark on either floor or vault. Illinois will have a new face at the helm with Nadalie Walsh taking over for Kim Landrus. Former U.S. elite and NCAA star Ashley Priess-Johnston was hired this summer as an assistant. Lizzy Leduc had a stellar sophomore season and finished the season ranked in the top-25 on both beam and floor.

Outgoing: Erin Buchanan, Mary Jane Horth, Sarah Lyons

The Fighting Illini lose a total of eight routines--three from Buchanan (vault, uneven bars and floor exercise), three from Horth (vault, uneven bars and balance beam) and two from Lyons (vault and uneven bars). Buchanan scored better than a 9.800 nine times on floor exercise and was a strong contributor throughout the season. Lyons scored a 9.775 or better on all 13 uneven bars routines. Horth posted a 9.800 or better in 11 of 13 uneven bars routines, which included a season-best 9.950 on March 11 at the Big Five competition.

Incoming: Nicole Biondi, Grace Gough, Kylie Noonan, Rachel Borden, Kasey Meeks, Tessa Phillips

Nicole Biondi

Townsend, Massachusetts
Trains at 10.0 Academy of Gymnastics

Biondi was a four-time JO national championship qualifier. She was the 2016 JO national champion on uneven bars where she also finished fifth in the all-around and on both vault and floor exercise. She was the 2017 Massachusetts state champion in the all-around and on vault, balance beam and floor exercise. She finished sixth on uneven bars. Biondi swept the Region 6 championship titles when she won the all-around and all four event titles in 2016. She was the Massachusetts state champion on vault and floor and picked up silver in the all-around at the 2016 state championships.

Video courtesy of USA Gymnastics

Impact event(s): All-around

Grace Gough

Indianapolis, Indiana
Trains at Jaycie Phelps Athletics Center

Gough was a two-time JO national championship qualifier. She tied for 16th on vault and floor in 2016 and on uneven bars in 2014. She earned bronze in the all-around and on bars and floor at the 2016 Region 5 championships. She finished seventh in the all-around, picked up fifth on vault and took bronze on floor at regionals in 2015. Gough won silver on floor exercise at the 2014 Indiana state championships. She earned fifth in the all-around and on vault while picking up sixth on both bars and beam.

Video courtesy of Region 5 Gymnastics Insider

Impact event(s): Balance beam and floor exercise

Kylie Noonan

Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
Trains at Midwest Gymnastics

Noonan competed at the JO national championships in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016. She was the 2016 JO national champion on balance beam and also earned seventh on floor. She was the Region 4 balance beam champion in 2016 where she grabbed silver on floor and bronze on vault, bars and in the all-around. She finished fourth in the all-around and on balance beam at the Minnesota state championships in 2016. Noonan was the 2014 regional champion on floor exercise.

Video courtesy of USA Gymnastics

Impact event(s): Floor exercise and vault

Rachel Borden

Illinois
Trains at Legacy Elite
Coached by Jiani Wu and Yuejiu Li

Borden has competed at the Region 5 championships in each of the last five seasons. She tied for 16th on uneven bars at the 2017 JO national championships. She earned bronze on balance beam at the 2017 regional championships where she also finished sixth in the all-around and seventh on bars. She was a bronze medalist on bars, floor and in the all-around and the Illinois state champion on balance beam in 2016. She was the Region 5 champion on beam in 2015 and the JO NIT beam champion in 2014. Borden finished fifth in the all-around at the 2014 Illinois state championships in 2014 where she also earned silver on beam and bronze on bars.

Video courtesy of Region 5 Gymnastics Insider

Impact event(s): Balance beam

Kasey Meeks

Shawnee, Kansas
Trains at Pinnacle Gymnastics
Coached by Morgan Kuchynka and Hannah Thomas

Meeks finished eighth on vault at the Region 3 championships in 2017. She was the Kansas state champion in the all-around and on floor and vault in 2017. She finished fourth on both bars and beam. The Kansas native earned silver on floor exercise at the Kansas state championships in 2015 and finished 13th on vault at regionals that same year.

Impact event(s): Vault and floor exercise

Tessa Phillips

Lagrange, Ohio
Trains at Gymnastics World
Coached by Doug Miller, Caroline and Jared Nunn, Joan Ganim and Bob Wood

Phillips tied for seventh on floor exercise at the 2016 JO national championships. She earned silver on floor at the Region 5 championships. She was the 2016 Ohio state champion on floor exercise and in the all-around where she also took silver on beam, fourth on vault and fifth on uneven bars. She was the state champion on balance beam in 2015. Phillips earned fifth in the all-around and seventh on both vault and bars at the state championships in 2015.

Video courtesy of Region 5 Gymnastics Insider

Impact event(s): Floor exercise and balance beam

6 Ways For Gymnastics Coaches To Better Prevent Injuries

For any high-performing gymnast, injuries are essentially inevitable. But there are ways that gymnastics coaches can approach their training program — both physical and mental — that can help prevent the injuries that are potentially avoidable, and to create an environment where gymnasts are both safe and empowered. We spoke to some of the country’s top coaches to get their philosophies, their methods, and their strategies.

SEC Gymnastics Preview: Traditional Powers LSU, Alabama, & Florida Reload

As always, the Southeastern Conference is loaded with talent — traditional powerhouses like Florida and LSU, but many more top teams in the nation. This year you'll be able to catch a few of these teams, and much more, right here on FloGymnastics. But before we can start watching the meets, let's dive into each team's standing, who they added and lost, and what may be to come in the 2018-2019 season.

Big Ten Power Michigan Starts Their Gymnastics Season Strong At Exhibition

The University of Michigan Women’s Gymnastics team is usually the team to beat in the Big Ten, and if their exhibition meet on Saturday, December 2, is any indication of how their year will go, this season will be no exception. The team squared off with three other Michigan teams at 2 PM in the Crisler Center, marking the fifth year in a row Michigan has competed against Eastern Michigan for an exhibition meet in this location. The Wolverines competed against Central Michigan as recently as last spring but has not faced off against Western Michigan since 2011.

USA Gymnastics Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

USA Gymnastics has filed a voluntary petition for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. USAG posted the news in a press release along with a post outlining frequently asked questions.

10 Gymnastics Skills From The Past That Aren't Performed Anymore

In gymnastics, it’s no secret that skills go in and out of style faster than you can say “Tsukahara.” Between upgrades that make simpler skills obsolete, changing trends, and banned skills, gymnastics fans know the skills they love seeing performed today will likely become irrelevant down the road.

5 Of The Most Common Gymnastics Injuries & How Best To Prevent Them

We’ve all heard the horror stories: the pop! from a too-short vault, the head-first crash from a beam dismount, the terrifying falls from a release skill on bars. But the majority of gymnastics injuries — 65–70 percent of them, in fact — aren’t dramatic; they happen from years and years of over-use. 

NCAA Gymnasts To Watch At Elevate The Stage Birmingham

Just over one month is left until the NCAA gymnastics season begins, and teams all over the country will compete weekend after weekend in dual meets, quad meets, and even meets on podium — like Elevate the Stage. The 2019 NCAA season includes two Elevate the Stage events with the final one happening in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Roster: November U.S. National Team Training Camp

The 2018 November U.S. national team training camp is underway at EVO Athletics in Sarasota, Florida. Sixteen elite gymnasts are in attendance at the four-day camp led by high-performance team coordinator Tom Forster. 

Arkansas Gymnastics Aims For Success In SEC & Then NCAAs

The University of Arkansas gymnastics team has known no other skipper than Mark Cook. He was hired to build a program to rival to the top teams in Southeastern Conference and compete for championships.

FloGymnastics Is Looking For A Freelance Content Creator

This could be the best news you hear all day: FloGymnastics is looking for a freelance content creator to write articles, cover breaking news, and support our event calendar with the best gymnastics content on the planet.