Three Sign Letters of Intent with Women's Gymnastics
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois women's gymnastics head coach Nadalie Walsh announced the signing of three-student athletes to National Letters of Intent on Tuesday. Katharine Klugman, Ruthuja Nataraj and Kiera Wai are set to join the Illini for the 2021-22 season.
"I'm very excited to welcome all three of these incredibly talented young women to the Fighting Illini women's gymnastics program," said Walsh. "Each of these athletes brings something unique to the table to keep advancing the Illini program forward."
"I am extremely proud of how each of these young women continued to excel and advance their gymnastics and their academics even during the times of quarantine. They are resilient and committed to excellence, exactly the characteristics what I want to keep cultivating in to keep our program."
Katharine Klugman | All-Around
Nyack, NY | Nyack High School
Galaxy Gymnastics | Coached by Jamie Winkler, Galina Petrouniak and Sergei Vaitenok
2019 Junior Olympic National Qualifier
- 2019 Region 6 All-Around Champion
- 2019 Region 6 Vault Champion,
- 2019 Vault and Floor New York State Champion
- 2018 Junior Olympic National Qualifier
- 2018 Region 6 Bar Champion
Why Klugman chose Illinois: "One of the things I love about Illinois is that I'm able to continue my gymnastics career in a community of students who uplift one and other through academics and our individual passions."
Walsh on Klugman: "Katherine is an extremely explosive gymnast. She has a tenacity, fire and a refreshing, outgoing personality that the team, fans and university will adore."
Wallingford, CT | Mark T. Sheehan High School
Connecticut Gymnastics Academy | Coached by Brock Freehling and Dawn Albon
- 2019 Level 10 Regionals: second All-Around
- 2019 Level 10 States: second All-Around
- 2018 Level 9 Eastern National Champion
- 2018 Level 9 Regionals: second All-Around
Why Nataraj chose Illinois: "I chose Illinois because of the welcoming community and the level of academics that is provided."
Walsh on Nataraj: "Ruthuja immediately impressed us with her quick twitch and explosive gymnastics. She is an extremely well-rounded young woman and I believe she carries a lot of leadership qualities that will be an asset to the team even at a young age."
Toronto, Canada | Northview Heights Secondary School
Manjak's Gymnastics | Coached by Kelly Manjak, Lisa Cowan, Susan Manjak
- 2019 Canada Winter Games second team and 10th All-Around
- 2020 International Gymnix 14th All-Around
- 2020 Elite Canada 14th All-Around
Why Wai chose Illinois: "I chose Illinois because of the well-respected academic programs, strong athletic and academic support systems, and welcoming team atmosphere!"
Walsh on Wai "Kiera has beautiful lines and will be a tremendous asset on all four events. She has a lot of unique skills, incredible dance and incredible flexibility. I believe she will be a showstopper for the program."