Junior Tyler Yamauchi took home three event titles in the dual victory over UIC.
March 17, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 12 Illinois-Chicago Flames were no match for the No. 7 Illinois men's gymnastics team today at Huff Hall, as the Illini registered a 210.000-193.050 victory. In the end, the Fighting Illini walked away with all six event titles as a team and swept the individual crowns.
"The competition was not there today from UIC, but I saw improvement in what we worked on this past week and we did what we needed to for a victory," head coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "I was very proud of our performance on parallel bars. I thought as a team, we put together the best routine of the season. Overall, we used today to rest some of the guys and to have some of the others work on small things to sharpen their routines."
In their last dual of the season, the Illini fans were treated to quite a show, as Illinois claimed 17-of-18 top-three places for the meet in the six different apparatus.
Junior Tyler Yamauchi led all Illini as he took the spotlight on vault, carding a career-high 9.600 for the event title and stuck the best vault score by an Illini this season. Posting the best routine on rings, Yamauchi tallied his second event title behind a 9.450 before wrapping up the outing with a first-place routine on parallel bars (9.000). On the floor, his score of 9.400 was good enough for second place, improving his total to seven event titles on the season, 14 top-three finishes in all.
Junior Wes Haagensen, taking a break from all-around action, took home the pommel horse (8.650) and high bar titles (8.850) and tied for second on parallel bars (8.800). Adding two more crowns to his 2007 resume, Haagensen now has a total of 22 top-three finishes, nine event titles overall.
In the final title performance, freshman Chad Wiest finished off the dual season with a career-best 9.550 on the floor, tying the third-best total of the season put up by an Illini gymnast on the event en route to earning him the crown. On parallel bars, the Butler, Pa., product carded a career-tying 8.700, finished second on vault with an 8.900 and took third on high bar (8.700). Overall, the freshman has 14 top-three finishes on the season, five event titles.
Sophomore Tyler Williamson grabbed his second top-three finish of the season after tallying a third-place score of 9.150 on floor. Sophomore Chris Lung tallied an 8.550 on pommel horse to finish second, while freshman Luke Stannard came in third (8.450) behind his Illini teammate.
Rounding out the Illini superlatives, junior Nick Stango took third on rings (8.750), sophomore Michael Boyer registered second on high bar (8.800) and freshman Andres Saavedra claimed third on vault (8.550).
Illinois will use the next two weeks to prepare for the 2007 Big Ten Championships held on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on March 30-31. The Orange and Blue will face fellow Big Ten rivals No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Penn State, No.3 Ohio State, No. 6 Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa. With all six teams ranked in the top-10 nationally, the 2007 Big Ten Championship will be the Illini's last major test before heading to the 2007 NCAA Championships hosted by Penn State on April 12-14 in University Park, Pa.
"From here, we just have to tighten our routines and prepare for Big Tens," Hayasaki said. "It will be our job from here on out to continue to work hard and stay healthy."