The Illini will host three regular-season meets and the 2011 Big Ten Championships.
Oct. 12, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illini men's gymnastics team checked in at No. 4 in the 2011 GymInfo Preseason Coaches poll, released Tuesday. Defending national champion Michigan and runner-up Stanford each received seven first-place votes, though Stanford edged the Wolverines for the top spot in the poll. Rounding out the top five was Oklahoma with two-first place votes, followed by Illinois and California. The Big Ten comprised six of the top 10 spots, with Ohio State at No. 6, Penn State at No. 7, Minnesota at No. 8 and Iowa at No. 10.
"We are ranked right where we finished last year," associate head coach Justin Spring said. "The preseason ranking fits us well considering one-third of our team is our freshmen. Our ability to finish better than fourth at the end of the season will largely depend on how quickly our freshman class improves in our very short offseason. We will obviously continue to rely heavily on our very experienced and talented group of seniors as well. Replacing Paul Ruggeri, Daniel Ribeiro and Chad Wiest during this recruiting season will be very tough."
The Illini are set to open the season on Sunday, Dec. 5 with their annual Mixed Pairs Exhibition held in conjunction with the Illinois women's gymnastics team at Huff Hall. The squad's first two regular-season competitions will take place on the road at the annual Windy City Invitational hosted by UIC in Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 15, followed by a tri-meet against Nebraska and Minnesota the following week in Minneapolis.
The Orange and Blue will host Iowa in the first of three regular-season home meets on Saturday, Jan. 29, before a select group will head to the U.S. Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Feb. 3-5. The following Saturday, the Illini will take on Michigan in Ann Arbor, before hosting Penn State on Feb. 19, and will then compete on the road for the next three weekends. On Friday, March 4, the Illini will face UIC, Stanford and Air Force in Chicago, followed by a meet at Ohio State on Saturday, March 12 and a final tri-meet on Saturday, March 19 in Norman, Okla., against Oklahoma and Penn State.
Senior Day will take place on Saturday, March 26 with the Illini rounding out the regular season against UIC, before hosting the 2011 Big Ten Championships for the first time since 2004, April 1-2 at Huff Hall. The NCAA Championships will take place at a familiar site as well, with Ohio State set to host the tournament, which will run April 14-16 in Columbus.
"I re-worked our schedule quite a bit for this year," Spring said. "I wanted to expand our competition schedule during the regular season in order to face some of the best teams in the country. Competing against Stanford and Oklahoma earlier in the season will be very exciting and it will give us an idea of where they stand before we see them at the NCAA Championships. It will be a much harder regular season than last year, but in return, we'll be more prepared going in to NCAAs."
2011 GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll
First-place votes in parentheses
1. Stanford (7)
2. Michigan (7)
3. Oklahoma (2)
6. Ohio State
7. Penn State
13. Air Force
14. William and Mary