#8 Illinois Hosts #3 Ohio State
Jan. 23, 2014
The eighth-ranked Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team will make their home debut in Huff Hall this weekend to face No. 3 Ohio State on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. The Illini boast a 99-73-1 lead in the all-time series, but narrowly beat the Buckeyes during the regular season in 2013 by a margin of less than a point (438.600-438.00). Their last meeting was this past weekend at the Windy City Invitational, where the Illini tied with OSU at 436.050.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes broke into the GymInfo top 5 in their first week of competition with a score of 436.050. The squad checks in at No. 1 on pommel horse (74.150), vault (75.100), and high bar (72.900), No. 5 on still rings (72.350), and No. 7 on parallel bars (71.900). Individually, Michael Newburger leads the nation on pommel horse with an average score of 16.250 and Misha Koudinov tops the high bar rankings with 15.000. Larry Mayer holds the No. 1 spot on vault (15.800) followed by Logan Melander at No. 3 (15.150) and Jake Dastrup at No. 10. Koudinov also holds the second place position for parallel bars (15.150). Drew Moling is the last of the Buckeyes in top ten spots, sitting at No. 3 on still rings.
When the two teams met last season in Columbus, Illinois took home the floor exercise, still rings, and all-around individual titles while OSU claimed pommel horse, vault, and high bar. The nail biter was determined by less than a point, the Illini topping the Buckeyes.
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGS
The Illini are ranked eighth in the national team rankings with an average score of 424.575. Illinois holds positions in the top ten of five events, coming in at No. 7 on pommel horse (69.950), still rings (71.975), and vault (73.150) and No. 8 on parallel bars (71.150) and floor exercise (70.650).
Individually, Chandler Eggleston is No. 2 on vault with a score of 15.800. Eggleston is also ranked No. 4 on floor exercise (15.075). C.J. Maestas holds the three spot on rings (15.500), Fred Hartville sits at No.5 on vault (15.125), Joey Peters is ranked No. 6 on parallel bars (15.000), and Jordan Valdez is No. 4 on high bar (14.900). Overall, the Illini hold ten spots on the top-20 lists.
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Illini tied for second last week in Chicago at the Windy City Invitational with a score of 436.050. C.J. Maestas made his return and captured the still rings title, scoring 15.500. Jordan Valdez earned his second title of the season on high bar with a score of 15.450. The Illini took home four other top-five finishes.
Michigan won the competition with a score of 437.500, with Illinois and Ohio State tying for second. Minnesota placed fourth (424.800), followed by Iowa (417.700), and host UIC (395.500). This marks Illinois' third-straight runner-up finish at the Windy City Invitational. Michigan has edged out the Illini for the past two years.
BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
For the second week in a row, Chandler Eggleston was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Jan. 20 after placing third on vault (15.200) and capturing the floor exercise title with a new season high score (15.150) at the Windy City Invitational. Eggleston also exceeded his season high on high bar, where he scored 14.250. This marks the first Illini men's gymnast to be named Freshman of the Week in consecutive weeks since C.J. Maestas in March of 2012.
The Illini will travel to Minneapolis, Minn. next weekend to take on the No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. CT.