There are seven open spots on the U.S. National team up for grabs this weekend
Feb. 19, 2014
Champaign, Ill. - The Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team will send five gymnasts to compete in the 2013 U.S. Winter Cup Challenge this Thursday and Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev. Junior Mike Wilner, sophomores Joey Peters, Fred Hartville, and RS C.J. Maestas, as well as freshman Chandler Eggleston will compete for national titles and spots on the U.S. senior national team.
"We've been really fortunate to recruit great, talented guys," said head coach Justin Spring. "This last year was the first time in a long time we haven't had anyone on the national team. I think this should be a good year for us. I'd be surprised if we don't come back with at least one national team member."
Wilner, a 2013 All-American on rings, will compete on still rings and floor exercise on Thursday night. The Buffalo Grove, Ill. native has captured one rings title this year. This marks Wilner's first Winter Cup appearance since his freshman season in 2012.
Peters, a 2013 all-around All-American will see his first-ever Winter Cup action this week, competing in the all-around for the first time this season.
Hartville, a vault All-American for the 2013 seaon, will be competing on vault and floor at his first Winter Cup appearance. Hartville currently holds one vault title this season.
Team captain Maestas will compete all-around in his first post-injury Winter Cup. Maestas previously competed during his freshman season in 2012. The Corrales, N.M. native has picked up five rings titles, three all-around titles, and one parallel bar title, leading the team in total number of titles this season.
Illini newcomer Eggleston will be competing on parallel bar, high bar, floor, and vault at his first Winter Cup. Eggleston leads the team in floor and vault titles this season, having five and three, respectively.
Winter Cup performances will help determine the 15-man roster for the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa., Aug. 21-24. The six members of the 2013 World Championships squad, plus two World alternates, will retain their spots on the national team.
The remaining seven spots will be chosen by the following criteria: the top two ranked all-around athletes who are not already on the senior national team, two based on the National Team Points System, two athletes selected by the Men's Program Committee, and one selected by the national team coordinator.
The top 42 gymnasts, according to the National Team Point System, will advance to the final day of 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 this Thursday with two preliminary sessions. The Illini will compete in the first session, which begins at 3 p.m. CT. The final round of competition will take place Saturday at 9:15 p.m. CT.