Paul Ruggeri earned an automatic spot into the Championships after winning two NCAA National titles last season.
Aug. 11, 2009
DALLAS - Current Illini standouts Paul Ruggeri, Daniel Ribeiro and Luke Stannard will begin competition this Wednesday at the 2009 USA Gymnastics Visa Championships in Dallas, Texas. Ruggeri and Ribeiro automatically qualified for the Championships after capturing NCAA titles this past season, while Stannard earned his spot by placing first in the pommel horse and third in the floor exercise at the Men's National Qualifier last month. All three will be competing in the senior competition.
Ruggeri captured his first NCAA National title in the parallel bars and his second consecutive in the high bar last season, in addition to All-America honors in both events, bringing his career total to five.
Ribeiro followed up a successful freshman campaign, in which he had claimed the Big Ten title in the pommel horse, with an NCAA National Championship in the pommel horse this past season and his second career All-America honor in the event, while Stannard notched his first-career Big Ten title in the pommel horse.
Also competing at the Championships is 2008 Illinois graduate and six-time All-American Wes Haagensen, who has been training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
For the first day of competition, a 20-point scoring system will be used to determine who advances to Friday's finals, with 43 men competing at each the junior and senior levels. Points will be awarded to the top 20 rank order athletes on each event in descending order. No points will be given for all-around placement. The points awarded for the six events will be totaled for a final point total for each athlete.
The combined top 42 participants from Wed. will be gunning for a spot on the 15-member U.S. National Team, which will use the National Team Points System to determine the top 10 in terms of points who will receive an automatic spot on the team. The final five spots will be hand-picked.
The men's senior competition begins at 7 p.m. CT at the American Airlines Center and concludes Friday (Aug. 14) evening with the qualifiers from Wed.
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