The Illini will compete at the Windy City Invitational Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Jan. 19, 2013
The 2nd-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 43rd annual Windy City Invitational, hosted by UIC this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT. In addition to the defending national champion Illini, the field includes Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Iowa and No. 10 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 425.450-385.750 victory.
LAST YEAR AT WINDY CITY INVITE
The 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 341.900, finishing just behind No. 7 Ohio State (344.500). No. 3 Michigan finished third (338.700), followed by No. 8 Minnesota (338.100), No. 12 UIC (327.200) and No. 10 Iowa (316.800).
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGS
After one week of competition, the Illini check in at No. 2 in the national team rankings with a season average of 425.450. The Illini are in the top five on five of the six events, ranking second on both rings (74.550) and parallel bars (71.900), fourth on high bar (67.450) and fifth on both floor (70.100) and pommel horse (69.550).
Individually, freshman Fred Hartville checks in at No. 1 on vault with a 15.300, while fellow newcomer Joey Peters is second in the all-around (84.650) and third on parallel bars (15.200). Sophomore Mike Wilner is second on rings with a 15.600. Overall, the Illini hold 22 spots on the individual top-20 lists.
LAST TIME OUT
Illinois opened its season with a convincing 425.450-385.750 victory over No. 15 UIC last Saturday at the Physical Education Building. Six Orange and Blue gymnasts captured event titles, while freshman Joey Peters led the way with a win in the all-around and on parallel bars.
Illinois started the night on pommel horse, sweeping the top five spots individually to post a team score of 69.550. Senior Yoshi Mori took the title with a 14.800, followed by junior Chad Mason in second with a 14.100, classmate Cameron Rogers in third with a 13.800, freshman Logan Bradley in fourth with a 13.600 and redshirt freshman Jacob Tilsley in fifth with a 13.250.
In the second rotation, the Illini notched a 70.100 on floor and took four of the top five spots. Junior Alex Varga paced the squad with a 14.650 to secure his first career floor title, while sophomore Josh Wilson placed second with a career-high 14.300. Mori followed with a 14.200 to finish third, and Peters took fifth with a 13.950.
On vault, Illinois secured a 71.900, led by newcomer Fred Hartville, who placed first with a 15.300 to tie the eighth-highest-scoring vault in school history. Mori placed second with a 14.750, while Tilsley took fourth with a 14.150.
In the following rotation, four Illini finished in the top five on rings, combining for a team score of 74.550. Sophomore Mike Wilner won the title with a career-high 15.600, matching the fourth-highest rings score in program history. Peters took second with a 15.150, while senior Austin Phillips tied for third (14.700), followed by Rogers in fifth (14.650).
On high bar, Illinois swept the top four spots individually and totaled a team score of 67.450. Junior Jordan Valdez won the title with a 13.950, edging Peters, who placed second with a 13.800. Mori took third with a 13.550, followed by freshman Max Mayr in fourth with a 13.400.
Illinois ended the night with a 71.900 on parallel bars, paced by Peters, who placed first with a 15.200. Rogers came in a close second with a career-best 15.000. Phillips took third with a 14.200, while Valdez placed fifth with a 14.000.
Peters won the all-around with a score of 84.650 after notching the parallel bars title and a pair of second-place finishes. Valdez placed third overall, posting a 77.200.
Four of seven 2012 Illini All-Americans returned to the Orange and Blue lineup this season, including seniors Mori (AA, PH), Valdez (HB) and Austin Phillips (HB) and junior Chad Mason (PH).
Sophomore C.J. Maestas will miss the 2013 season due to a tricep injury sustained during practice last fall. 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. Maestas underwent surgery over Thanksgiving weekend. He is expected to compete at the 2013 U.S. Visa Championships this August and will return to the Illini lineup for the 2013-14 collegiate season.
2012 NATIONAL CHAMPS
The 2012 Fighting Illini strung together an unforgettable season, highlighted by their first NCAA team title since 1989 and the first national championship for any Illinois program since 2003. The Orange and Blue also took home their fourth straight Big Ten crown and knocked off the top-ranked team in the nation three times throughout the season en route to a 28-2 overall mark.
The squad produced two NCAA event champions, 11 All-America honors, three Big Ten individual titles, two All-Big Ten selections, the Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year and its fourth-ever Nissen-Emery Award winner. Head coach Justin Spring was named National Coach of the Year after notching his third straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor.
The Orange and Blue will return to action next weekend at the Metroplex Challenge, which will take place Jan. 25 in Dallas.