Illini Gymnastics Update

No. 3 ILLINOIS (4-2, 3-2 Big Ten) vs. No. 8 Minnesota (0-6, 0-5 Big Ten)
Sunday, Jan. 25 @ 2 p.m.
Huff Hall in Champaign, IL

Third-ranked Illinois will host the eighth-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at Huff Hall on Sunday, Jan., 25 at 2 p.m. Both team¹s are coming off defeats last weekend. The Illini (4-2) went on the road and fell to No. 1 Penn State, while the Gophers (0-6) lost on the road at No. 2 Ohio State by the score of 217.100-210.250. Both teams competed at the season-opening Windy City Invitational. Illinois finished second in the six-team field with a score of 214.425, while Minnesota was sixth with a total of 205.450.

The Gophers are led by junior Guillermo Alvarez, who currently ranks first in the nation on vault and fifth in the all-around. Led by Alvarez, the UM vault squad is tops in the nation with a 36.550 average (Illinois ranks 8th with a 36.1 average). Minnesota is coached by Fred Roethlisberger, who is in his 33rd year at the helm of the Gophers.

Illinois kept their preseason ranking of 3rd in the first installment of the GymInfo Rankings, which were released on Jan. 19. The Orange and Blue¹s average score of 213.600 is behind only Penn State¹s 217.375 and Ohio State¹s 216.425. The Illini currently rank in the top four on four of six events (floor, pommel horse, parallel bars, high bar).

When the first GymInfo rankings of the season were released on Monday, sophomore Justin Spring and Junior Ben Newman both saw themselves with a number 1 next to them in the individual event rankings. Spring is ranked No. 1 on the floor exercise, having won both competitions he¹s been in this year with scores of 9.600 and 9.475. His average of 9.537 is over .2 better than the second highest. Adam Pummer (ninth), Bob Rogers (11th) and Erik Garnett (20th) all rank in the Top-20 on floor as well.

On the pommel horse, Newman holds a wide margin over the second-ranked competitor. The defending Big Ten Champion on the event has scored 9.800 (career-high) and 9.650 on horse in the two meets so far. His average of 9.725 easily out-distances No. 2 Willie Ito¹s 9.450 average. Casey Hayasaki (16th) also in the Top-20 on horse for the Illini.

Story courtesy the University of Illinois

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