CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois women's gymnastics head coach Kim Landrus announced the addition of two gymnasts to the Illini squad for the 2012-13 season. Heather Foley (Pewaukee, Wis./Waukesha North HS) and Giana O'Connor (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood HS) each signed a national letter of intent with the Fighting Illini.
Landrus and the rest of the coaching staff are very enthusiastic about the characteristics that this class will bring to the program both in and out of the gym. Each signee excelled throughout high school, qualifying for the USAG Junior Olympic National Championships along with winning regional and state titles.
"The addition of Heather and Giana to our Illini family is extremely exciting," Landrus said. "Both are well-rounded athletes that should come in and have an immediate impact on our program. The level of difficulty that they exhibit will be valuable to the future success of our program."
Profiles on the Newest Illini
Hometown: Pewaukee, Wis.
High School: Waukesha North
Club: Salto Gymnastics
Notes: Four-time JO Level 10 National Qualifier ... Tied for eighth on beam in 2011 and 11th on the event in 2010 at JO Nationals ... Took second on vault, floor and in the all-around at the 2011 Region IV Championships ... Won the beam and bar title and was runner-up on vault at the 2010 Region IV Championships ... Second on bars and third on vault at the 2009 Region IV Championships ... Tied for first in the all-around and won the bars title at the 2007 Region IV Championships ... Two-time TOPs National Team member in 2004 and 2005 ... Two-time Level 10 state champion, winning vault title in 2010 and bars title in 2009 ... Was on the high honor roll for three years of high school ... Club coaches are Jim Melcarek and Kristin Kremer.
Coach Landrus on Foley:
"Heather had a sense that she wanted to be an Illini from her first visit to campus. She immediately fell in love with both the academic reputation and the athletics excellence throughout Illinois. Her athletic ability, combined with her passion for gymnastics and NCAA athletics will continue to drive her to the next level. It will be exciting to see how her contributions add to the dynamics of our team."
Foley on becoming an Illini:
"I chose U of I because I loved everything about it. I loved the school, the atmosphere, the coaches, and most importantly the team. The academics at Illinois are unbeatable. I get alongwell with all of the coaches, which is always important. And the team is always so much fun to be around and always makes me laugh."
Hometown: Streamwood, Ill.
High School: Streamwood
Club: Gymnasti Gymnastics Club
Notes: 2010 JO Level 10 National Qualifier, taking third on beam and 11th in the all-around ... Four-time Level 10 Regional Qualifier ... Was the all-around, beam and floor champion at the 2010 Region V Championships ... Five-time state champion ... Was on the high honor roll all four years of high school ... Club coaches are Ron Nasti and Krystal Gavras.
Coach Landrus on O'Connor:
"Giana went under the radar a little bit in the recruiting process, and we feel extremely fortunate that through our consistent evaluations we recognized that she has only begun toreach her potential. We look for her to come in immediately and contribute on all four events. She has consistently improved her level of difficulty and strives for perfection every day. It is this attitude that will get her to be great and we can't wait to see what her Illini career will bring."
O'Connor on becoming an Illini:
"I chose Illinois because it was close to home and had the best academic program in the Big Ten. They also have great sports programs, and I enjoyed spending time with the team, viewing the facilities and attending the events on my visit."