Senior Vince Smurro earned his second floor title this season in Saturday night's loss at No. 8 Cal.
March 17, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team came up short in a 427.000-425.650 loss to No. 8 California late Saturday night at the Haas Pavilion. Senior Vince Smurro notched his second floor title of the season, while freshman Joey Peters won on high bar for the second time in 2013, but the Golden Bears capitalized on Illinois mishaps and captured titles on four apparatuses en route to a 1.35-point victory.
"Overall, we had a hit percentage just barely above 50 percent," head coach Justin Spring said. "That's the biggest eye sore on the scoresheet and is completely unacceptable. The fact of the matter is that we only hit a little over half of the routines we put on the floor, and we have to figure out how to make that not happen again. It's a little bit late in the season for a showing like this. It's a testament to Cal. They did a great job today, but we did very, very poorly. We need to learn how to handle all kinds of situations and be better prepared for the postseason."
The Orange and Blue began the night on pommel horse, posting a team score of 69.100. Freshman Logan Bradley and junior Chad Mason, who returned to the lineup after missing four straight meets due to injury, led the Illini with 14.600s to tie for second, while senior Yoshi Mori placed fifth with a 13.700.
On floor, Illinois totaled a 74.150, its third-highest score of the season on that apparatus, and swept the top three spots individually. Smurro captured the crown with a 15.450, marking the second-highest floor score by an Illini this year. Junior Alex Varga took second with a 15.250, just edging freshman Fred Hartville, who finished third with a career-high 15.200.
In the following two rotations, the Illini posted their lowest scores of the season on both vault (69.500) and rings (71.700). Sophomore Mike Wilner ended his streak of four straight rings titles, finishing second with a 15.100, while freshman Max Mayr placed fourth (14.400), and sophomore Cameron Rogers took fifth (14.300). Varga and Mori tied for fourth on vault with 14.650s.
On high bar, the Illini earned a 69.750, led by Peters, who won the event with a 14.400, marking his second career title on high bar and team-leading seventh title overall. Sophomore Josh Wilson placed second with a career-best 14.350, and Mayr took fourth with a 13.950.
In the final rotation, Illinois secured a 71.450 on parallel bars. Senior Austin Phillips led the Orange and Blue with a runner-up finish on a season-high 14.800, while Rogers finished closely behind with a 14.750 to take third.
The Illini will return to Huff Hall to celebrate Senior Day and take on No. 10 Nebraska in Illinois' home finale on March 23 at 4 p.m. CT. The Orange and Blue will honor seniors Malcolm Brown, Mori, Phillips and Smurro prior to the meet.