Illinois Downs Minnesota, 214.250-208.800
Jan. 26, 2002
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Illinois men's gymnastics team soundly defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 214.250-208.800, Saturday night in front of 680 fans at Huff Hall. The men's record now stands at 6-1 overall, 4-1 in the Big Ten.
"We posted the highest score of the season," said head coach Yoshi Hayasaki. "Our goal was a 213. Everyone stood out and made a difference tonight. Our pommels, rings and vault teams really made quite a difference for us. We trained hard this week and it shows."
The Golden Gophers led by 0.1 after the first rotation. But the Illini exploded on the pommel horse in rotation two by setting a season-high team score of 36.600. It was the team's highest score on pommels this season by more than a point. Illinois took the top three spots in that event, led by senior Jonathan Plante's event winning 9.55. Plante's score was followed by two career highs by sophomore Bob Rodgers (9.30) for second place and freshman Ben Newman (9.15) for third.
The rings team also set a new season-high team total of 36.300 and took the top three honors. Seniors J.G. Ketchen (9.45), Sean-Paul Crawford (9.20) and Plante (9.00) finished first, second and third, respectively.
With the momentum on their side, the Illini scored a 36.600 on vault to set yet another season-high team score. Sophomore Scott Wetterling finished second with a 9.30 while teammates Crawford, junior Bob Spelic and sophomore Erik Garnett tied for fourth with a 9.10.
Ketchen led the parallel bar team to its season-high score of 34.750. Ketchen scored his own season-high of 8.85 to win the event. The Illini kept up the pace in the final event. Scoring a season-high 35.700, Illinois took the top four positions on the high bar. Illinois was led by freshman Ed Seward's career high 9.0 for first place followed by Rogers (8.95), Spelic (8.90) and Wetterling (8.85).
The Illini take to the road for the month on February. Coming up next is a Saturday afternoon meet against the Nittany Lions of Penn State on Feb. 2. The meet will be held at State College. The Illini will be at Huff Hall again for their final home meet on March 9 against Illinois-Chicago at 2 p.m.