Sophomore Paul Ruggeri took third in the All-Around Finals this evening.
April 17, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The No. 3-ranked Illinois Men's Gymnastics team finished fifth at 2009 NCAA Team Championships, tying its season-high score of 359.300. Sophomore Paul Ruggeri finished third in the all-around competition, earning All-America honors for the fourth time in his collegiate career. The Illini started out the meet strong, but suffered costly setbacks on parallel bars in the sixth rotation. The Fighting Illini wrapped up the competition setting a season-high on high bar to finish the incredible season with a solid finish in their final event.
"The guys put it all out there today," Illinois head coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "We suffered some misfortunes on parallel bars and that was the turning point tonight. We were in the thick of the competition all the way through, but at this level to have that miss on parallel bars will hurt you and that's what happened to us this evening. The guys came back strong on high bar to finish on a high note. It's been a good run and a great season."
No. 1 Stanford took the team title with a score of 362.800, followed by No. 4 Michigan in second (361.500) and No. 2 Oklahoma in third (361.200).
The top 10 individuals on each event advanced to Saturday night's individual event finals. In all, the Illini had four individuals move on to the final day of competition, with Ruggeri leading the pack qualifying for four events (FX, VT, PB, HB). Ruggeri will have the opportunity to defend his NCAA high bar title tomorrow night. He had another strong showing on the event in team finals, taking first with a 15.750. The Manlius, N.Y., native finished fourth on parallel bars (14.900), tied for fourth on floor (15.550) and tied for seventh on vault (15.900).
Sophomore Daniel Ribeiro qualified in the individual event finals on pommel horse, while senior Chris Lung joins Ruggeri in the high bar event finals and sophomore Roger Pasek rounds out the Illini in the individual event finals on floor.
The Illini started out this year's championships on floor, posting a season-high team total of 61.100. Ruggeri led the way tying for fourth place with a score of 15.550, followed closely by Pasek who tallied a 15.450.
Illinois had a bye in the second rotation, before heading to their top event pommel horse.
After taking the team title on pommel horse in the evening qualifying session the day before, the Illini started out a little shaky on horse, but finished strong, posting a score of 59.350. Ribeiro, ranked No. 1 in the nation on the event, scored a 15.500 for first place. Teammate Luke Stannard, ranked No. 2 in the country, posted a score of 14.800 to finish 13th.
The Illini went all out on still rings in the fourth rotation, setting a season-high team score of 60.050. Senior Nick Stango set a career-high 15.050, while freshman Anthony Sacramento also posted a career-high score of 15.100. Senior Tyler Williamson led the way for the Orange and Blue hitting a 15.250 on his routine to tie for 11th place.
In the fifth rotation, the Illini posted its second highest team score of the season on vault with a 62.850. Ruggeri paced the Orange and Blue with a 15.900, followed closely by freshman Tyler Mizoguchi, 15.800. Sophomore Roger Pasek was the third Illini finisher posting a 15.600.
On parallel bars, in the sixth rotation, the Illini suffered a couple slip-ups early on and could not make up the deficit in the final rotation. Overall, the Illini tallied a team score of 56.700 on parallel bars. Ruggeri, the Big Ten Parallel Bars Champion, led the way for Illinois with a 14.900, for fourth place overall. Freshman C.J. Padera came in second for Illinois with a 14.500.
In the final rotation, the Illini gave it their all to fight back, tying for the team title on high bar with a season-high score of 59.250. Ruggeri led the competition taking first place overall with a 15.750.
This evening's competition marks the final team event in Coach Hayasaki's illustrious coaching career. Hayasaki completes his final year having led the Illini to 17 NCAA Top-10 finishes, including seven straight Top-5 finishes and the 1989 NCAA National Championship.
During his career, Hayasaki has produced 87 All-Americans, 46 Big Ten Champions and 10 National Champions, including Paul Ruggeri, who won the 2008 High Bar national title. His crowning moment came in 1989 when he led the Illini to the NCAA Team Championship. Hayasaki led Illinois to six Big Ten titles in 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 2004 and 2009. He has earned a total of four Big Ten Coach of the Year awards in addition to four Central Region Coach of the Year accolades.
Hayasaki will have one more chance to crown an individual national champion tomorrow night as four Illini qualified for the NCAA Individual event finals. Individual event finals will be held at the Sports Pavilion on April 18 at 7 p.m. CT. Live scoring will be available at gophersports.com.
Coach Yoshi Hayasaki File - 33 seasons
Coaching & Teaching Experience
University of Illinois - Head Coach, 1997-present
University of Illinois - Director of Gymnastics, 1993-96
University of Illinois - Head Coach, 1974-93
University of Illinois - Lecturer, Applied Life Studies, 1974-81
University of Illinois - Instructor, Applied Life Studies, 1971-73
University of Illinois - Graduate Assistant, 1971-73
National Coach of the Year - 1989
Central Region Coach of the Year - 1989, 2000, 2004, 2009
Big Ten Coach of the Year - 1988, 1989, 2004, 2009
Big Ten Championships - 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 2004, 2009
National Championship - 1989
2009 NCAA Championships Final Team Standings
1. Stanford 362.800
2. Michigan 361.500
3. Oklahoma 361.200
4. California 361.500
5. Illinois 359.300
6. Ohio State 355.950
ILLINI TEAM RESULTS BY EVENT
Floor - 61.100
Pommel - 59.350
Still Rings - 60.050
Vault - 62.850
Parallel Bars - 56.700
High Bar - 59.250
*Individual Event Finals Qualifier
! First Alternate in Individual Event Finals