#5 Illinois Heads to #7 Penn State This Weekend
Feb. 13, 2014
The fifth-ranked Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team will travel to University Park, Pa. this weekend to take on No. 7 Penn State at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Feb. 15. The Illini trail the Nittany Lions in the all-time series 30-53. The last time these two teams met one-on-one was in March of last season, where Penn State bested Illinois 438.900-436.250.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Penn State has had a solid start to their 2014 season, having not dropped a meet yet. The Nittany Lions are coming off a win over Temple last weekend, 431.550-401.600. Penn State sits at No. 7 in the coaches poll and season average rankings. As a team, PSU ranks 8 on floor, No. 6 on pommel horse, No. 3 on still rings, No. 8 on vault, No. 5 on parallel bars, and No. 8 on high bar.
Individually, Penn State gymnasts hold 20 spots in the event rankings. Alexis Torres holds the seven spot on floor with an average score of 15.100, and is tied at No. 10 on still rings with an average of 15.233. On still rings, Trevor Howard holds No. 4 with an average of 15.617. Tristan Duverglas sits at No. 3 on vault with an average of 15.183. Matt Felleman rounds out the Nittany Lions in top ten positions at No. 5 on high bar with an average score of 14.967.
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGS
The Illini are ranked fifth in the national team rankings with an average score of 432.400 and in the coaches poll. Illinois holds positions in the top ten of all six events, coming in at No. 4 on floor (73.283), No. 5 on pommel horse (71.033), No. 4 on still rings (74.133), No. 5 on vault (73.733), No. 8 on parallel bars (71.267), and No. 5 on high bar (71.617).
Individually, three Illini hold No. 1 spots in events; Fred Hartville on vault (15.233), C.J. Maestas on rings (16.000), and Jordan Valdez on high bar (15.450). Chandler Eggleston holds the 3 spot on floor (15.300) and sits at No. 2 on vault (15.217), and Mike Wilner is No. 5 on still rings (15.450). Overall, the Illini hold twelve spots on the top-20 lists.
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Illini traveled to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes last weekend. Illinois defeated Iowa 433.350-420.300. As a team, the Illini won on pommel horse (69.750), still rings (74.800), vault (72.700), parallel bars (71.500), and high bar (71.850). Individually, Illinois gymnasts won each event except for floor. Chad Mason took home the pommel horse title (15.350), Fred Hartville won on vault (15.150), Jordan Valdez took the high bar title (15.550) and C.J. Maestas took home the parallel bar title (14.850), all-around title (89.200) and broke the Illinois and NCAA record with a score of 16.450.
BIG TEN FRESHMAN AND GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
Chandler Eggleston was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Feb. 10 after taking home two third place finishes on floor (14850) and high bar (14.400) and a second place finish on vault (14.950). This marks the first Illini men's gymnast to be named Freshman of the Week in four consecutive weeks.
The Illini swept the Big Ten honors this week, with C.J. Maestas being named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for the first time this season. Maestas led the team with three titles on parallel bars (14.850), all-around (89.200), and still rings, where he set the NCAA record under the new scoring system established in 2008. The previous record, set by Dave Sender of Stanford in 2008, was 16.350. Maestas also placed second on the floor exercise (14.850).
Select Illini return to action next week at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 20 to compete for a spot on the national team.