Gymnastics Hosts Illinois State in Home Opener
Thursday, January 31, 2008

SHREVEPORT—The Centenary gymnastics team opens the home portion of its schedule on Friday when it hosts Illinois State in the Gold Dome at 7 p.m. The Ladies are off to a strong start to the season after three road meets and look to capture a win in front of the home crowd.


Centenary (2-1) has defeated Air Force twice and suffered its first loss last weekend at Illinois-Chicago. The Ladies were leading the meet after three rotations but could not hold on as the balance beam took down one gymnast after another.


Meredith Smith has seen plenty of success under the roof of the Gold Dome and she expects to get the team off to a fast start on the vault. The senior, who has been named a USA Gymnastics All-American multiple times on the apparatus, is averaging a 9.700 on the vault in her last two meets.


Newcomer Tara Sandoval leads the Ladies on the bars with a three-meet average of 9.65. Meanwhile, juniors Julia Cornelius and Mandy Bennett have earned All-American accolades on the event in the past and are solid leaders.


Freshman Laura Loy has been a rock on the beam for Centenary this season, posting an average of 9.750 after her first three collegiate meets. Also performing well on the floor exercise is freshman Marisa Schneider and sophomore Courtney Hawkins. The duo is averaging scores of 9.675 and 9.525 respectively.


Illinois State (2-1) lost its first meet last week as well, falling to Southeast Missouri State despite a team score of 192.200. Illinois State will be back in the Gold Dome on March 28th for the Midwest Independent Conference Championships.