Sophomore Paul Ruggeri was named Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week.
Feb. 9, 2009
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - University of Illinois sophomore Paul Ruggeri was named Co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week by the conference office Monday afternoon. The Manlius, N.Y., native garners his first weekly laurel of the season after capturing the gold medal on high bar at the 2009 Winter Cup Challenge at the Las Vegas Sports Center in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday. Ruggeri shares the weekly conference laurel with Michigan's Chris Cameron.
Ruggeri, the reigning NCAA high bar champion, had a combined score from the two days of competition of 30.500 on the event, edging out Olympian Joey Hagerty (30.450) for the national title. Ruggeri has now accomplished two feats in his young collegiate career, winning the NCAA High Bar Crown as a freshman and becoming a national champion on high bar as a sophomore. Ruggeri led all competitors, including Olympians Hagerty and Jonathon Horton after the first day of competition, with a 15.350. Ruggeri backed up his score on the second day with a 15.150 for the combined score of 30.500.
This marks the third weekly honor for Ruggeri, who earned his previous two awards in consecutive weeks during his freshman campaign in February of 2008. The last Illinois gymnast of the week was Wes Haagensen on March 11, 2008.
The Illini return to action in a nationally-televised meet on the Big Ten Network against No. 5 Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. The first 300 fans will receive an autographed picture of 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist and Illinois assistant coach Justin Spring. The meet will air tape-delayed on the Big Ten Network on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. CT.