#3 Illini to Battle #2 Penn State on Saturday
Feb. 17, 2012
SCOUTING PENN STATE
ILLINI IN THE RANKINGS
Individually, freshman C.J. Maestas is ranked in the top 10 on five events and is fourth in the all-around. The Illini newcomer ranks second on rings, seventh on floor and pommel horse and 10th on high bar and vault. Paul Ruggeri tops the list on high bar and is second on vault and fifth in the all-around. Sophomore Jordan Valdez ranks third on high bar, while junior Austin Phillips ranks fourth on high bar and ninth on parallel bars. Seniors Tyler Mizoguchi, Anthony Sacramento, C.J. Padera and Kyle Moe, junior Yoshi Mori and freshman Michael Wilner also cracked the top 20 on various events.
Junior Yoshi Mori led the Illini, capturing his first titles of the season with first-place finishes in the all-around (81.800) and on floor (15.000), matching his career high on that event. The Irvine, Calif., native also finished second on high bar (14.000) and tied for third on vault (13.900).
Meanwhile, sophomore Jordan Valdez claimed his first titles of the season, posting a career-high 15.100 to secure the high bar crown and a 14.300 to win on parallel bars for the first time in his career. The Louisville, Colo., native also tied Mori for third on vault.
Senior Kyle Moe rounded out the Illini event-winners with a victory on rings (15.000), edging freshman C.J. Maestas (14.900), who took second, and sophomore Andrew Margolis and freshman Michael Wilner, who tied for fourth (14.300).
Junior transfer Vince Smurro finished second on floor with a 14.600, marking his highest score on that event as an Illini. The Manasquan, N.J., native also took fourth on parallel bars (13.400) and fifth on high bar (13.500), while senior C.J. Padera finished second on parallel bars (14.100) and fourth on floor (14.200).
Sophomore Chad Mason also posted a top-five finish for the Orange and Blue, taking third on pommel horse (14.200). Classmate Cameron Rogers finished third on parallel bars (14.000) and fifth on both floor (13.800) and pommel horse (14.100), while senior Devin Regan took fourth on high bar (13.600).
WINTER CUP TO SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM
Ruggeri finished third on floor with a two-day combined total of 29.250 and just missed additional trips to the podium with fourth-place finishes on vault (32.300) and high bar (29.550). The seven-time All-American also finished seventh in the all-around with a combined 171.450, earning 52 national team points to secure his place on Team USA.
Meanwhile, Maestas captured silver on rings (30.000), tied for 10th on vault (31.300) and finished 12th in the all-around (168.900) to help him make the senior national team for the third time in his career.
Sender, who joined the Illini this year as a volunteer assistant coach, made two trips to the podium, placing second on vault (32.400) and third on rings (29.950). Sender also took sixth on high bar (28.800) and in the all-around (173.550) and eighth on parallel bars (28.750) to secure 55 national team points and ensure his spot on the national team for the 11th time in his career and first since 2009.
ILLINI AT THE TOP
Meanwhile, redshirt senior Paul Ruggeri boasts five titles this season with three on high bar and two on vault, winning high bar at Windy City and both events at Iowa and in the Oklahoma-Michigan tri-meet.
Seniors Tyler Mizoguchi, Anthony Sacramento and Kyle Moe round out the list of Orange and Blue title-winners. Mizoguchi took first on parallel bars at Iowa, while Sacramento tied Maestas for the rings crown at Windy City, and Moe won on rings (15.000) against UIC.
WEEKLY HONORS FOR THE ILLINI
Redshirt senior Paul Ruggeri was named both NCAA Gymnast and Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week for the week of Feb. 6, after taking home the conference honor one week earlier (Jan. 30), marking his career ninth conference award and third NCAA honor.
On Jan. 23, freshman C.J. Maestas earned both Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Week honors after being named Big Ten Freshman and NCAA Gymnast of the Week for the week of Jan. 16.