The fifth-ranked Illinois men's gymnastics team dominated the defending national champion California Bears squad, 228.025-225.225, Friday night in Berkeley, Calif. With the win, the Illini improved to 7-8, 4-8 in the Big Ten.
Sophomore Leo Oka (Scarborough, Ontario) topped last week's all-around performance for a first-place, career-high score of 57.525. Defending NCAA all-around national champion Travis Romagnoli (Aurora, Ontario) placed third in the event with a 57.40 mark, making this meet the first time in six weeks he has not won the all-around. Oka also won the still rings (9.675) and finished second on floor (9.650). Romagnoli placed first on parallel bars (9.80) and was the runner-up on pommel horse (9.750), still rings (9.60), vault (9.70) and high bar (9.80). Sophomore Eric Nishimoto (Northridge, Calif.) won vault with a career-high 9.750.
"I am very proud of the way the guys performed tonight," head coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "We needed this score and with it have probably secured a spot at regionals. Leo Oka did a magnificent job with the all-around tonight. He is finally getting the confidence to compete the way we knew he could all along."
California's Alex Nissen finished second in the all-around and first on high bar, while Tal Moscovitz won floor exercise and pommel horse as the 13th-ranked Bears posted their highest score of the season.
The Illini will continue their west coast competition as they train for a tri-meet at Santa Barbara with Army on Thursday, March 18 at 9:30 p.m. CT.