Fighting Illini Take Fourth at NCAA Championships
April 11, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Illinois gymnast C.J. Maestas earned All-America status in the all-around, and the Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team advanced six gymnasts to NCAA Event Finals, despite the disappointing fourth place finish on Friday night in the University of Michigan's Crisler Center. Michigan claimed the crown for the second year in a row with a 445.050, followed by Oklahoma (441.650), Stanford (436.300), Illinois (435.350), Ohio State (433.500), and Penn State (429.800).
"C.J., at only 80% recovered, was nipping at the heels of the best in the country which is very impressive and very well deserved," said head coach Justin Spring. "He was a strong force in helping our team finish the best meet of the year at the last meet of the year. The guys rose up to the caliber of competition today and brought some hardware home. I'm really proud of this group."
Maestas placed fourth in the all-around competition with a 87.050. With his top-eight finish, the Corrales, N.M. native garnered All-America honors, marking the sixth straight year Illinois has produced at least one All-American in the all-around. This marks the second All-American accolade in the all-around for Maestas, the first being earned his freshman season in 2012.
Six other Illini finished in the top 10 on various events, including RS Junior Jordan Valdez who scored a 15.200 on high bar for the title. This title puts Valdez at seven for the season, tying him for seventh in single season high bar titles in Illini history. He will also compete on parallel bars. Maestas will compete on floor and rings, Chandler Eggleston on floor and vault, Logan Bradley and Chad Mason on pommel horse, and Mike Wilner on still rings.
The Illini had another rough night on vault, putting up a 72.200 as a team. Chandler Eggleston had the high score for Illinois, tying for ninth with a15.050.
On parallel bars, the Orange and Blue scored 72.950, with Jordan Valdez leading the way as always with a 15.200 to tie for sixth.
The Illini were very successful on high bar, setting a season high of 72.950. This score was also the second highest team score in school history since the 2008 scoring change. Valdez had another solid performance, matching his 15.200 from the Session I Qualifier to take the title. Eggleston was the second-highest scoring Illinois gymnast with a 14.550 for 13th. Peters set a season high on the apparatus, scoring 14.450 to tie for 20th.
Floor exercise came next for the Illini, where they scored a 73.100. Maestas scored the highest for the Orange and Blue, setting a season high of 15.350 to tie for fifth. Eggleston was not far behind with a 15.300 in seventh.
The top 10 finishers on each apparatus advanced to NCAA Event Finals. The six Illini qualifiers will compete for national titles Saturday, with the live stream on NCAA.com starting at 6 p.m. CT.
Illinois Event Finalists
Vault: Chandler Eggleston
Parallel Bars: Jordan Valdez
High Bar: Jordan Valdez