Sophomore Paul Ruggeri came in 11th place in the points rankings systems from Day One of qualifying at the Winter Cup.
Feb. 6, 2009
Las Vegas - Sophomore standout Paul Ruggeri led the Illinois contingent during preliminary competition at the 2009 Winter Cup competition in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 5. Ruggeri was the highest Illini finisher in the performance based points ranking system (78, 11th), which was used to determine the individuals to advance to the finals on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 8:30 p.m. CT. Other Illini qualifiers for the final session were freshman Tyler Mizoguchi, and sophomores Daniel Ribeiro and Roger Pasek.
Scores from both days of competition count toward the final rankings for the all-around and individual events.
In the first qualifying session of the day, Ruggeri, the reigning NCAA High Bar National Champion, showed the crowd his best high bar routine this season, scoring a 15.350 for a first place finish, ahead of 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalists Jonathon Horton and Joey Hagerty. The Manlius, N.Y., native also tied for a third place finish on vault (16.000) and finished t-11th on parallel bars (14.300).
Mizoguchi had one of the top performances of any freshman collegiate gymnast at the meet, placing tied for 17th in the all-around competition. In the combined standings, Mizoguchi scored a 14.300 on floor to tie for 14th and tied for 13th on parallel bars with a 14.200. The Illini freshman finished 25th in the final 42 standings with 49 points.
Sophomore Daniel Ribeiro found his way into the final 42 standings with a 26th place finish in the points rankings systems with a score of 46, while fellow sophomore Roger Pasek rounded out the Orange and Blue qualifiers coming in 36th with 31 points.
In the combined results from the qualifying sessions, Ribeiro scored a fifth place finish on pommel horse (14.500) and an eighth place finish on floor (14.700). Meanwhile, Pasek earned his spot in the final rankings with a fourth place finish on floor (14.950).
Other Illini top performances on the night included junior Brian Liscovitz's 13th place finish on parallel bars in his first competition of the season and senior Chris Lung's 19th place finish on vault. Neither advanced to the final session on Saturday, but still had a successful night with two top-20 finishes.
The senior men's national team will be re-named at the Winter Cup Challenge. Seven current senior national team members and two Olympians are in this year's field including Guillermo Alvarez, Sean Golden, Joseph Hagerty, Jonathon Horton, Steven Legendre, Tim McNeill and David Sender.
Seven gymnasts will be named to the U.S. Men's Senior National Team based on the national team points ranking system from the Winter Cup Challenge, and one each will be selected by the Men's Program Committee and men's national team coordinator. The six members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics, including current UI assistant coach Justin Spring, can petition for spots, and the Men's Program Committee will name additional members to the senior national team if any Olympic positions are unused. The 15 gymnasts named to the team will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team until the 2009 Visa Championships in August.
The Winter Cup Finals will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7, beginning at 8:30 p.m. CT. For complete results visit usa-gymnastics.org.