Sophomore Wes Haagensen will look to add to last week's vault title Saturday night against Minnesota.
Jan. 18, 2006
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -
The No. 2 Fighting Illini take on No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers this Saturday in Champaign, Ill. (7 p.m. CST.). The Illini (4-1, 3-1 Big Ten) are coming off an impressive showing at the 36th annual Windy City Invite, where they posted a score of 210.500 to finish behind only No. 1 Ohio State University.
The Gophers (1-4, 0-4 Big Ten) took fifth place at the Windy City with a team score of 203.900. Gopher junior gymnast Jake Lee highlighted the Gophers' performance by taking third in the all-around with a score of 52.900 and on the parallel bars with a 9.15, as well as finishing fourth on the pommel horse with a score of 8.80.
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGS
The Illini are ranked second in the GymInfo national rankings behind top-ranked Ohio State. Last year's national champion and preseason No. 1 Oklahoma rounds out the top three while Big Ten counterparts Michigan and Iowa are fourth and fifth, respectively.
HAAGENSEN HEATING UP
Sophomore Wes Haagensen was the only Illini to take home an event title at the Windy City Invite. Haagensen, who placed second in the all-around at last year's Windy City Invite tied for first place on the vault with a score of 9.400, besting his previous career-high vault of 9.300. Haagensen is still trying to regain his top form after undergoing shoulder surgery in the summer.
U.S. National Team member and Illini senior gymnast Justin Spring will not be with the team this weekend. Instead, the two-time NCAA champion will be at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as part of an international joint training program with the Japanese national team that won gold at the 2004 Olympics. The four-day event is not a competition but rather a training seminar to exchange ideas.
Following Saturday's title with Minnesota, the second-ranked Illini will continue conference competition with a meeting against 2005 Big Ten Champions Ohio State in Columbus.