Recent Illinois graduate Paul Ruggeri tied for second on floor at the 2012 Visa Championships.
June 9, 2012
ST. LOUIS - Recent Illinois graduate Paul Ruggeri, sophomore-to-be C.J. Maestas and volunteer assistant coach David Sender retained their spots on the 15-man U.S. senior national team following their performances at the Visa Championships Saturday afternoon at St. Louis University's Chaifetz Arena. With the selections, the three Illini qualified for the Olympic Trials in San Jose, Calif., where they will compete against their fellow national team members for the opportunity to represent the United States on the five-member squad at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
"I didn't think there was going to be a way to pull myself into seventh in the all-around after Thursday," Ruggeri said. "So I was just really happy. I was able to keep to myself and the guys and just relax a little bit. I'm really comfortable with my routines, so I'm ready to go out at Olympic Trials and be consistent."
Ruggeri shared the silver medal on floor with a two-day total of 30.950 and just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish on high bar (31.400) to take seventh in the all-around with a combined score of 175.550. The nine-time All-American earned 40 national team points to secure a spot on the senior national team for the sixth time in his career.
Sender finished 12th in the all-around (173.550), highlighted by a fifth-place finish on vault (32.200). The former U.S. all-around champion also placed eighth on rings (29.650) and ninth on parallel bars (29.800) to capture 23 national team points and a spot on Team USA for the 12th time in his career.
Maestas placed fourth on rings (30.250) and 12th in the all-around (173.300). The reigning NCAA rings champion secured 20 national team points and was selected to the national team by the Men's Program Committee hours after the conclusion of the meet.
"The first day was obviously a little shaky, but today I just went out and did my job," Maestas said. "There was the mistake on high bar, but I felt like I redeemed myself and, on floor, showed the committee that I can come back and hit a set after making a mistake."
Soon-to-be senior Yoshi Mori finished 24th in the all-around (166.500) to round out the scoring for the Illinois competitors at the Visa Championships.
The U.S. Olympic Trials are slated for June 28-July 1 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., with the men competing on June 28 at 4 p.m. and June 30 at 2 p.m. The Trials will determine the five men who will represent the U.S. in men's gymnastics at the 2012 Olympics, subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee's board of directors.
Two gymnasts will be named immediately following the Trials. Scores from four days of competition, including two at the Visa Championships and two at the Olympic Trials, will equally combine to determine the Olympic Team selections. Team USA will consist of five gymnasts and up to three alternates.