Three Illini Help Team USA Take Bronze at Pan Am Games
Oct. 25, 2011
Paul Ruggeri and Tyler Mizoguchi and freshman C.J. Maestas helped the United States men's gymnastics team to a team bronze medal on Tuesday at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Maestas finished ninth overall to qualify for the all-around finals, which will take place on Wednesday.
"It was a great experience," Maestas said. "It was fun. We had little mistakes here and there, but we're Team USA and we never give up, so at the end of the day, we're happy with what we did. We're happy to be in Mexico and happy to compete against teams that are great like this. It's another stepping stone."
Brazil captured gold with a team score of 346.100, followed by Puerto Rico with a 344.850. Team USA finished third with a score of 342.000, marking its third straight bronze at the Pan Am Games (2003, 2007, 2011).
Maestas led the U.S. team in the all-around, finishing ninth with an 83.550 to advance to Wednesday night's all-around finals. The two-time senior national team member also qualified for two individual event finals, earning a 14.800 on rings and a 14.350 on high bar.
"I hope to give the fans a show," Maestas said. "It's about everybody, not just about us. I love the crowd here in Mexico. It's awesome. Being of Mexican heritage, it's great to be a part of something like this, so I'm going to come out swinging."
Illini teammate Ruggeri qualified for finals on three apparatuses, as the seven-time All-American captured a 16.100 on vault, 14.450 on parallel bars and 15.200 on high bar. Meanwhile, three-time All-American Mizoguchi earned a 14.550 on floor to finish as the first reserve on that event.
Illini head coach and 2007 Pan American gold medalist Justin Spring coached the six-man squad, which also featured Donothan Bailey, Sho Nakamori and Brandon Wynn.
The competition continues Wednesday, as the top 24 gymnasts from Tuesday's all-around qualifying will battle for the all-around title, while the top eight gymnasts on each apparatus will compete in individual event finals on Thursday and Friday. Scores from the team competition do not carry over to the all-around or individual event finals.
Results and recap will be available at fightingillini.com.
Wednesday, Oct. 26 - 5:30 p.m. CT
Thursday, Oct. 27 - 1 p.m. CT
Friday, Oct. 28 - 1 p.m. CT