The Illini will start the year ranked second in the conference.
Dec. 13, 2012
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The defending national and conference champion Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team checked in at No. 2 in the Big Ten Preseaon Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced this week. Michigan, which finished second in the conference championships last season, edged the Orange and Blue for the top spot, while Penn State came in third, Ohio State in fourth, Minnesota in fifth, Nebraska in sixth and Iowa in seventh.
The Illini checked in at No. 1 in the national rankings earlier this fall after capturing the 2012 NCAA title and winning their fourth straight Big Ten crown last spring. Illinois returns four of seven All-Americans from the championship squad, including seniors Mori and Austin Phillips (high bar) and juniors Valdez and Chad Mason (pommel horse).
Sophomore C.J. Maestas, a three-time All-American and four-time U.S. senior national team member, will miss the 2013 season due to a tricep injury sustained during practice.
The Illini will open their season on Jan. 12 at UIC and will kick off their home slate against Iowa on Feb. 16 at Huff Hall with their annual Gym Jam meet, hosted alongside the Illinois women's gymnastics team.
Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch List
Yoshi Mori, Sr., Illinois
Jordan Valdez, Jr., Illinois
Javier Balboa, Sr., Iowa
Anton Gryshayev, Sr., Iowa
Adrian de los Angeles, So., Michigan
Stacey Ervin, So., Michigan
Zach Chase, Jr., Minnesota
Harris Coleman, Jr., Minnesota
Wyatt Aycock, Jr., Nebraska
Eric Schryver, Jr., Nebraska
Kris Done, So., Ohio State
Misha Koudinov, So., Ohio State
Felix Aronovich, Sr., Penn State
Trevor Howard, Fr., Penn State