Senior Tyler Mizoguchi (pictured) and freshman C.J. Maestas were each named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch.
Dec. 14, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini men's gymnastics team checked in at No. 1 in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced Wednesday. The Orange and Blue edged second-ranked Michigan, which received the top spot last season, followed by Penn State in third, Ohio State in fourth and Minnesota in fifth. Individually, Illini senior Tyler Mizoguchi and freshman C.J. Maestas were named to the 14-man Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list.
The Illini are ranked second nationally in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll after finishing third at the 2011 NCAA Championships and winning their third straight Big Ten crown last season. Meanwhile, conference foe Michigan checked in at No. 3 in the nation.
The 2012 Illini return three 2011 All-Americans, including U.S. senior national team member and reigning NCAA parallel bar champion Mizoguchi, who earned All-America accolades on parallel bars and in the all-around last season, as well as fellow seniors Anthony Sacramento (rings) and C.J. Padera (parallel bars). Joining them will be current national team members Maestas and redshirt senior Paul Ruggeri, who is a seven-time NCAA All-American.
The Orange and Blue will kick off the season on Jan. 14 at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago and will return home for a clash of the nation's top three teams on Jan. 28, as the Illini host No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 Michigan at Huff Hall.
2011 Big Ten Preseason Poll
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch
C.J. Maestas, Fr., Illinois
Tyler Mizoguchi, Sr., Illinois
Javier Balboa, Jr., Iowa
Matt McGrath, Jr., Iowa
Adrian de los Angeles, Fr., Michigan
Sam Mikulak, So., Michigan
Russell Dabritz, Sr., Minnesota
DJ Repp, Sr., Minnesota
Wyatt Aycock, So., Nebraska
Andreas Hofer, Sr., Nebraska
Kris Done, So., Ohio State
Misha Koudinov, So., Ohio State
Felix Aronovich, Jr., Penn State
Craig Hernandez, Fr., Penn State