Junior Wes Haagensen and the Illini set to host Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.
March 15, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 7 Illinois men's gymnastics team finishes its dual season schedule this weekend when its hosts the No. 12 Illinois-Chicago Flames on Saturday, March 17, at 2 p.m. at Huff Hall. The Illini will use the meet as their last tune-up before competition at the 2007 Big Ten Championships begins on March 30-31, in Minneapolis, Minn.
The Illini men will join the women in hosting the Flames this weekend, as the No. 19 Illinois women's gymnastics team also ends its season home schedule against No. 43 UIC.
A full recap of the meet can be found at fightingillini.com, following the conclusion of the event. Fans can watch the action live through live scoring, available by clicking on the schedule link on the left side of the Illinois men's gymnastics main page.
SETTING THE SCENE
After a tough meet in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Illini return to Champaign to end their 2007 dual-meet schedule against the No. 12 UIC Flames. The Flames, who have a 7-8 overall and 3-3 dual record in 2007, are coming off a season-best meet against Air Force. The Flames posted a 206.550 to defeat the Falcons. The Flames have three nationally-ranked team members, including Nikolai Korepanov (14th) and Tim Morrison (15) on rings and Anthony May (16) in the all-around. The Illini hold a 47-16 record over the Flames in the all-time series.
ORANGE AND BLUE- THE LAST TIME OUT
The Illinois men's gymnastics team fell to the No. 1-ranked Wolverines, 216.350-212.500, on Saturday night at Cliff Keen Arena on the campus of the University of Michigan. Despite another top performance by junior Wes Haagensen, who captured his fourth all-around title of the season with a score of 53.550, the Illini could not produce the routines to upset the nation's best.
As a team, the Illini carded eight top-three finishes, one season best and tied another and carded two career highs in the performance. On top of the individual effort, the Illini gymnasts combined to set a new season high on vault (35.850) and claimed two of the six event titles over Michigan (Rings: 36.950; Vault).
MAKE IT A CAREER NIGHT
In the Illini's first dual-meet victory of the season against Iowa, the Orange and Blue again posted season and career highs in the performance. On floor exercise, Illinois was led by freshman standout Chad Wiest, who edged out Iowa's Geoff Reins (9.400) for the event crown with a 9.450. Junior Chris Silcox claimed third on the event, recording a 9.300. Sophomore Tyler Williamson and freshman Andres Saavedra also experienced personal success, recording career-highs of 9.200 and 8.300, respectively.
On pommel horse, freshman Luke Stannard battled his way to claim second place individually, tallying a career-high 8.950. Junior Tyler Yamauchi claimed third on the event, recording a season-high 8.550.
Juniors Jon Drollinger and Yamauchi shared the rings title, carding scores of 9.600. For Drollinger, it marked a new career-high on the event, while for Yamauchi it was his third top-three finish on the event this season and helped him earn a share of the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor for the week ending March 4. Junior Wes Haagensen claimed 9.250 to take home fourth.
Yamauchi (9.050) and Wiest (8.800) continued their success on vault, executing routines to take home second- and third-place finishes on the event. Silcox (8.750) and Saavedra (8.750) each posted new season highs, following their teammates to tie for fourth. The Orange and Blue were led once again by Yamauchi and Wiest on parallel bars, each tallying season-highs on the apparatus. Yamauchi claimed his second event title of the night with a 9.300, and Wiest followed with an 8.700 (tying his previous season and career high) in third. Haagensen tied his season-high 9.400 to claim the event title on high bar, followed by fellow junior and captain Michael Boyer in third (recording a season-high 9.000). Stannard and Wiest also set career-highs of 8.650, respectively.
PEAKING AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME
The sport of gymnastics is a sport where preseason and mid-season hiccups do not make or break an entire year. For the Illini, that fact is what continues to allow the Orange and Blue gymnasts a shot at a conference and national title.
The 214.950 set against Iowa was an Illinois season high, and was achieved without the Illini's top gymnast, Wes Haagensen, entered in all six events. If all expectations come to fruition, Illini fans can hope to see scores between the range of 215-217 come NCAAs.
The Illini head to the Big Ten Championships hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., on March 30-31. The Orange and Blue will face fellow Big Ten rivals No. 1 University of Michigan, No. 2 Penn State, No.3 Ohio State, No. 6 University of Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa. With all six teams ranked in the top-10 nationally, the 2007 Big Ten Championship will be the Illini's last major test before heading to the 2007 NCAA Championships hosted by Penn State University April 12-14 in University Park, Pa.
LIVE SCORING AND VIDEO
Illinois men's gymnastics will feature live scoring and live video for its entire home-meet schedule this season. Fans can access the feed through fightingillini.com, by clicking on the schedule link on the left side off the Illinois men's gymnastics main page.