Fourth-Ranked Illinois Men's Gymnastics Team Hosts Iowa in Home Season Finale
March 1, 2001
The fourth-ranked University of Illinois men's gymnastics team will host seventh-ranked Iowa in the team's home season finale, while also honoring six gymnasts on "Senior Night" at Huff Hall, Sat. night at 7 p.m.
Illinois, 15-3 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten, met Iowa previously at the season-opening Windy City Invitational with the Illini defeating the Hawkeyes 207.20-205.15. Illinois posted its highest score of the season last weekend at the UCLA Invitational, a mark of 212.90, while Iowa's team best is 210.45 vs. Oklahoma.
THE SENIORS: Illinois' six seniors competing in their final meets at Huff Hall are: All-American Leo Oka (Scarborough, Ontario), team co-captain Linh Hoang (Houston, Texas), co-captain Jon Ham (Northridge, Calif.), Eric Nishimoto (Northridge, Calif.), Greg Cook (Batavia, Ill.) and Matt Gill (Clarendon Hills, Ill.)
THE COACHES: The Fighting Illini are led by 25th-year head coach Yoshi Hayasaki who is the all-time winningest coach at Illinois with a 207-113-1 (.646) record. He has led the Illini to three Big Ten titles and the University's last national title in 1989. A former two-time NCAA All-Around National Champion, Hayasaki has tutored 36 All-Americans, 33 Big Ten Champions, four national champions and two Olympians. Iowa is coached by Tom Dunn, who is in his 21st year at the helm of the Hawkeye program. He boasts a career record of 166-64-2 (.719), 5-5 in 2001.
THE RANKINGS: Not only does the Illinois gymnastics team rank in the top-five as a team, but in many individual events as well. The Illini are the nation's best rings team posting a 36.90 or better in three meets, including a 37.45 at the UCLA Invitational. The team also ranks in the top three on floor exercise, vault and high bar, while the parallel bars team is rated fifth and pommel horse seventh. The seventh-ranked Hawkeyes' highest event ranking is sixth on high bar.
The Illini also have many individuals represented in the national rankings. Here is how they rate among the nation's best: Floor Exercise - Sean-Paul Crawford, third Still Rings - Linh Hoang, fourth, Leo Oka, fifth, J.G. Ketchen 13th, Sean-Paul Crawford 15th Vault - Leo Oka, first, J.G. Ketchen, 10th, Sean-Paul Crawford, 17th Parallel Bars - J.G. Ketchen, 11th, Linh Hoang, 18th High Bar - Jon Ham, eighth, Leo Oka, 10th, Greg Cook, 10th, J.G. Ketchen 15th