Senior Chris Lung competed in his final home meet at Huff Hall this afternoon.
March 7, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The fourth-ranked Illinois men's gymnastics team sent its seniors out in style this evening posting a season-high score of 357.850 to defeat the 12th-ranked Illinois-Chicago Flames, 342.800, in front of 1,155 fans at Huff Hall. The Orange and Blue took five individual event titles with sophomore Roger Pasek winning floor, sophomore Daniel Ribeiro taking first on pommel horse, senior Tyler Williamson winning the vault title, junior Andres Saavedra taking the parallel bars crown and freshman C.J. Padera placing first on high bar to finish the evening.
On senior day, the Illini honored Nate Luketin, Nick Stango and Chris Lung in their final home meet. The Illini also celebrated 100 seasons of men's gymnastics with the honoring of over 100 former Illinois gymnasts.
"I believe we are definitely on the right track at this point in the season," head coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "Everyone has improved and heading into these last few weeks of the season, we are definitely hitting at the right pace. It was very special to have over a 100 alumni back this afternoon and show them how gymnastics has changed since they were here."
As a team, the Illini posted season-high scores on four events including floor (60.000), pommel horse (60.050), vault (62.850) and high bar (57.800).
The Illini started off the night hot on the floor exercise, sweeping the top four spots on the event. Sophomore Roger Pasek took the event crown with a 15.150. Tying for second place were junior Luke Stannard and sophomore Daniel Ribeiro who both posted career-highs of 15.000. Rounding out the Illini top-four finishers was senior Tyler Williamson who posted another career-high of 14.850.
On pommel horse, Ribeiro took the event title for the second week in a row, posting a career-high 15.950 in a solid performance on the event. Stannard was close behind coming in second place with a 15.250, his personal-best.
In the next rotation, the Illini showed improved rings performances across the board. Williamson took second place with a 14.900, while freshman Tyler Mizoguchi hit a career-high 14.650 for third.
Behind a team season-high score on vault, the Illini swept the top three finishes as Williamson posted a career-high 15.800 for the vault crown. Freshman C.J. Padera and senior Chris Lung tied for second place with 15.750s.
The Illini rounded out the afternoon with a season-high score of 57.800 on high bar. Freshman C.J. Padera took his first high bar event title of his young Illini career with a personal best score of 14.900. Senior Ross Bradley came in second with a score of 14.850, his career-high.
The meet also saw the return of sophomore Paul Ruggeri. Ruggeri competed exhibition on high bar, scoring a 15.700. It was the Manlius, N.Y. native's first time competing since suffering a knee injury on Feb. 5 at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas.
The Fighting Illini hit the road next weekend as they travel to face Big Ten foe Michigan in Ann Arbor on Mar. 14. The meet is set for a 6 p.m. CT start time.