Seven Illini will compete at this year's U.S. Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas.
Feb. 2, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seven members of the Illinois men's gymnastics team, including seniors Daniel Ribeiro, Paul Ruggeri and Chad Wiest, junior Tyler Mizoguchi, redshirt sophomore Austin Phillips, freshman Jordan Valdez and current assistant coach Luke Stannard, are set to compete at the 2011 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Feb. 3 and 5 at the Las Vegas Sports Center.
This year's Winter Cup will feature six members of the 2010 World Championships team, three Olympians and 28 members of the junior and senior national team, which includes Ruggeri, who retained his spot on the U.S. Senior National team following his performance at the Visa Championships last August. He also served as an alternate for the U.S. World Team that competed at the World Gymnastics Championships in October.
Performances at the 2011 Winter Cup Challenge will help determine the 15 men who will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2011 Visa Championships in St. Paul, Minn., Aug. 17-20. The seven members of the 2010 World Championships Team retain their spots on the national team. At the conclusion of Winter Cup, the remaining eight spots will be determined based on the following criteria: the highest-ranked all-around athlete who is not a member of the 2010 World Championships Team; the top four gymnasts based on the National Team Point Program; two athletes selected by the Men's Program Committee; and one athlete selected by the national team coordinator.
The top 42 gymnasts, according to the Men's Program Committee's points ranking system, will advance to the final competition, along with the top three gymnasts on each apparatus. The all-around and individual event champions will be determined via a combined two-day score.
The Winter Cup Challenge begins Thursday, Feb. 3 and will feature three different sessions of preliminaries, beginning at 12 p.m. CT/10 a.m. PT., while the final day of competition on Saturday, Feb. 5 will feature one session of approximately 42 athletes who qualified from the previous day of competition and is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. CT/7:15 p.m. PT.
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Illini Competing at the 2011 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge (Events)
Tyler Mizoguchi - (All-Around)
2010 All-American in the all-around ... Earned first-career spot on U.S. Senior National team after a ninth-place overall finish at 2010 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge ... Has won four individual titles this season on floor, parallel bars and two in the all-around.
Austin Phillips - (All-Around)
Returned to the lineup this season after missing all of last year due to a knee injury ... Tied for 13th on rings (13.400) in first meet back ... Placed third on rings last weekend with a new career-high score of 15.000 and seventh on high bar (12.900).
Daniel Ribeiro - (FX, PH, V, PB)
Reigning national champion on pommel horse ... 2010 Big Ten Champion on pommel horse ... Placed sixth on pommel horse at the 2010 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge ... Has won two event titles on pommel horse through three meets this season.
Paul Ruggeri - (All-Around)
Two-time U.S. Senior National team member ... Earned three individual and one team bronze medal competing at three different international meets this past summer ... Alternate for 2010 U.S. World Gymnastics Team ... Placed fifth overall at the 2010 U.S. Winter Cup ... Leads team with seven individual titles on the year, including three on high bar.
Luke Stannard - (FX, PH, PB, HB)
2010 Nissen-Emery Award winner ... 2010 All-American on pommel horse ... 2009 Visa Championships gold medalist on pommel horse ... Placed ninth on high bar and 13th on pommel horse at 2010 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge.
Jordan Valdez - (PB, HB)
Two-time U.S. Junior National team member ... Junior Visa Championships gold medalist on parallel bars and high bar ... Has finished in the top three on high bar in each of his first three collegiate meets this year.
Chad Wiest - (FX, V, PB, HB)
2010 All-American on floor ... Has won two event titles this season on floor and vault ... Set the school record on floor last season with a 16.100.