The Illini take on four Big Ten teams and UIC Saturday at 7 p.m.
Jan. 16, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -
THE MEETThe 7th-ranked University of Illinois men's gymnastics team will travel to Chicago for the second straight week to compete alongside five other teams in the 44th annual Windy City Invitational, hosted by UIC this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT. This will be the first meet of the 2014 season with the full Orange and Blue lineup competing. In addition to the Illini, the field includes Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Iowa and UIC. The meet marks the first competition of the season for the Wolverines, Gophers, Buckeyes and Hawkeyes and second for the Illini and Flames, who squared off last weekend in Chicago. The Orange and Blue came out on top in a 413.100-393.450 victory.
LAST YEAR AT WINDY CITY INVITEThe Illini opened the season with a runner-up finish at the Windy City Invitational last year in Chicago. Illinois, which was ranked second nationally, posted an overall team score of 427.750 and tied No. 8 Ohio State. Both teams finished behind No. 2 Michigan (431.300). No. 7 Minnesota placed fourth (425.750), followed by No. 10 Iowa (422.350), and No. 15 UIC (401.600).
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGSAfter one week of competition, the Illini check in at No. 7 in the national team rankings with a season average of 413.100. The Illini rank fifth on vault (71.250) as a team. Individually, freshman Chandler Eggleston checks in at No. 1 on vault (15.250) and No. 5 overall and in floor exercise (15.000). Junior Mike Wilner is tied for fourth on rings with a 15.400, senior Jordan Valdez is tied at No. 10 on high bar (14.350), and freshman Tom Gibbs comes in at No. 10 in the all-around (82.550). Overall, the Illini hold 8 spots on the individual top-20 lists.
LAST TIME OUTIllinois opened its season with a solid 413.100-393.450 victory over UIC last Sunday at the Physical Education Building. Six Orange and Blue gymnasts captured event titles, while freshman Chandler Eggleston led the way winning both the vault and floor exercise titles. Illinois started the night on pommel horse, sweeping the top five spots individually to post a team score of 68.900. Sophomore Logan Bradley took the title with a 14.150, followed by senior Chad Mason in second with a 14.000, freshman Matt Foster in third with a 13.700, sophomore Jacob Tilsley in fourth with a 13.650, and freshman Thomas Gibbs in fifth with a 13.400. In the second rotation, the Illini notched a 66.150 on floor and took the top two spots. Freshman Chandler Eggleston paced the squad with a 15.000 to secure his first career floor title, while fellow newcomer Matt Foster placed second with a score of 14.200. Eggleston also led the Illini on vault, placing first with a 15.250. Fred Hartville placed second with a 14.750, while Tom Gibbs took third with a 14.700. In the following rotation, the Illini swept the top five spots on rings, combining for a team score of 71.450. Junior Mike Wilner won the title with 15.400, placing him in Illinois' top 10 all-time title-winners on rings. Jordan Valdez took second with a 14.450, followed by senior Cameron Rogers (14.250), Gibbs (13.850), and Doug Blanton (13.500) in third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively. On high bar, Illinois claimed two of the top three spots and totaled a team score of 71.450. Senior Jordan Valdez won the title with a 14.350, followed by Eggleston who took third with a score of 13.550. Illinois ended with a 68.700 on parallel bars, paced by Rogers, who placed first with a 14.450. Gibbs came in a close second with 14.250. Freshman Tom Gibbs won the all-around with a score of 82.550 after placing in the top five of five events. BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK Fighting Illini freshman Chandler Eggleston earned his first Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor following his two-title performance in Illinois' victory over UIC Sunday afternoon, the conference office announced Monday. Eggleston placed 3rd on high bar (13.550), 4th on parallel bars (13.600), and 10th on still rings (12.250). The Jamestown, N.C., native captured titles in floor exercise and vault, scoring 15.000 and 15.250, respectively. The award marks the first Fighting Illini Freshman of the Week since Fred Hartville earned his second title March 11, 2013.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANSThree 2013 Illini All-Americans returned to the Orange and Blue lineup this season, including sophomores Fred Hartville (VT) and Joey Peters (AA) and Junior Mike Wilner (SR).
MAESTAS RETURNSRedshirt sophomore C.J. Maestas will return to the Illini this year after missing the 2013 season due to a tricep injury. In his freshman year, the three-time All-American won the conference all-around crown to earn Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year honors before capturing Illinois' first-ever NCAA still rings title. Though he will be competing in four events, Coach Justin Spring says Maestas is not fully recovered just yet.
UP NEXTThe Orange and Blue will return to action next weekend when they host Ohio State in Huff Hall on Jan. 26. The match will be televised on BTN and begins at 2 p.m. CT.