A Championship Celebration
April 27, 2012
The Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team celebrated its 2012 national championship with the Champaign-Urbana community on Thursday night in the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium.
It was a special evening for a special team. Head coach Justin Spring and the Fighting Illini were joined by University of Illinois President Designate Robert Easter and Director of Athletics Mike Thomas, along with members of the community and athletic department. Spring, senior Paul Ruggeri and freshman C.J. Maestas all had remarkds, a highlight video of the national championships was shown and the team joined the Marching Illini in singing "Hail to the Orange".
Illinois won the 10th men's gymnastics national championship in school history, and the first since 1989, on April 20 in Norman, Okla. The Fighting Illini came from behind to beat host and top-ranked Oklahoma, along with four other contenders, with a season-high score of 358.850. A total of seven Fighting Illini earned 11 All-America honors during the weekend, including senior Paul Ruggeri and freshman C.J. Maestas, who earned individual national titles on vault and still rings, respectively. Ruggeri also took home the prestigious Nissen-Emery Award as the nation's top senior gymnast.