Illini assistant coach Daniel Ribeiro looks to defend his Visa Championship title on pommel horse.
Aug. 16, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illini seniors Tyler Mizoguchi, Paul Ruggeri and Anthony Sacramento, junior Austin Phillips, freshmen C.J. Maestas and Michael Wilner, assistant coach Daniel Ribeiro and former assistant coach and 2010 graduate Luke Stannard will compete this Wednesday at the 2011 Visa Championships, Aug. 17-20 in St. Paul, Minn. The four-day event features the men's competition on Wednesday and Friday, as each gymnast vies for a spot on the U.S. Men's Senior National Team.
Mizoguchi, Ruggeri and Maestas each earned automatic bids to the competition with their current standing as U.S. National Team members, while Ribeiro clinched his spot when he captured the 2011 NCAA title on pommel horse last spring in Columbus, Ohio. Phillips, Sacramento and Wilner punched their tickets at the U.S. Men's Qualifier on July 9 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Stannard earned his spot through petition.
Last year, Ribeiro highlighted the Visa Championships for the Orange and Blue when he became the second straight Illini to take gold on pommel horse, as former teammate Stannard nabbed the title in 2009. Meanwhile, Ruggeri had success of his own, securing a spot on the 2010 U.S. National Team with the fifth-highest national team point total and an eighth-place finish overall.
Throughout the 2011 collegiate season, Mizoguchi and Ribeiro each took home NCAA titles, as Mizoguchi won on parallel bars and Ribeiro on pommel horse. In addition, Mizoguchi earned All-America recognition in the all-around for the second straight year and on parallel bars for the first time in his career. Ribeiro joined his teammate on the All-America list, earning the honor on pommel horse for the third time in four years, while Sacramento earned All-America accolades on rings for the second consecutive season. Meanwhile, seven-time All-American Ruggeri was sidelined with an ankle injury throughout the 2011 season and will strive to make a strong comeback at nationals.
Performances at the Visa Championships will determine the 15-man roster for the U.S. National Team. The top-six all-around competitors and the top-four gymnasts in national team points will automatically earn spots on the U.S. National Team. The national team points are awarded based on finishes in each event on both days of competition. The four national team point spots are reserved for athletes who do not finish in the all-around top six. In addition, the national team coordinator will select one gymnast, while the men's program committee will make the final four selections to the U.S. National Team.
The men's senior competition begins Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Xcel Energy Center and resumes with final-day action on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT.
For start lists, live scoring and additional info, go HERE.