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    Men's Gymnastics Prepares For Big Ten Championships
    Junior Leo Oka is ranked sixth in the all-around.

    Junior Leo Oka is ranked sixth in the all-around.

    March 16, 2000

    EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The eighth-ranked Illinois men's gymnastics team used Thursday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. to prepare for the 2000 Big Ten Championships with a double practice session at Jemison Field House on the campus of Michigan State University.

    With senior All-American Travis Romagnoli fully cleared from a hairline fracture in his ankle, the Illini look to put forth their best performance of the year Friday night at conference championships. Team competition begins Friday night at 7 p.m., while the individual event titles will be determined in competition on Saturday at 7 p.m.

    Currently eighth in the nation, Illinois is one of six Big Ten teams in the top-10. Michigan tops the polls at No. 1, followed by Penn State at third and Ohio State in fourth. The host-Spartans are rated fifth in the nation with Iowa ranked sixth.

    "We haven't put our best competition together yet this season," head coach Yoshi Hayasaki said. "We are hoping to do it this weekend. Injuries this season have kept us from getting in a rhythm and now that we have almost everyone in good health, I expect much more from this team"

    The Illini have four gymnasts ranked among the top eight in four different events. Junior Leo Oka is ranked sixth in the all-around, while Romagnoli has the sixth-best score on high bar. Junior Linh Hoang is ranked second on vault and sophomore J.G. Ketchen is ranked eighth on rings.

    Illinois finished fifth in the conference last season and Oka was named to the all-Big Ten team. The Wolverines will be looking to defend their conference title from 1999.

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