March 25, 2005
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - With six of the top 10 teams in the country competing in Friday's (March 25) team competition of the 2005 Big Ten Conference Men's Gymnastics Championships, it promised to be an evening of stand-out performances and close competition. In the end it was the Ohio State Buckeyes that left Michigan's Crisler Arena as Big Ten champions.
Ohio State claimed the 2005 title by winning three events and placing in the top half of the competition in five of the six contests. For OSU it is their 10th team title in school history with the last one coming in 2002. At the 2004 championships the Buckeyes finished in third place behind champion Illinois and Penn State. This year, Ohio State eclipsed the Illini's score of a year ago with 225.350 points en route to the title handing Illinois second-place in the process. The Illini were the runner-up with 224.125 points followed by Michigan at 222.775, Penn State at 220.500, Iowa at 219.800 and Minnesota at 216.400.
In the first rotation of the evening, Penn State jumped out to an early lead on the vault. Santiago Lopez scored a 9.425 in his attempt to help propel Penn State to the early advantage. As a team, Penn State tallied 37.400 points; however, it would not keep the Nittany Lions in the lead at the conclusion of the first rotation. The host Wolverines recorded a 3.900 as a team behind the floor exercise performance of Luke Bottke. The junior recorded a 9.575 to boost the Maize and Blue into first.
The second rotation saw the Wolverine's move onto the pommel horse where they were able to hold onto their lead with a team score of 74.425 overall. Junior Justin Laury's routine was judged at a 9.400 and helped keep U-M in the lead. Ohio State found themselves in a close second place with 74.425 points while Iowa was third with 73.550. Rounding out the team standings with two of six events completed was Minnesota with 73.500, Illinois with 73.050 and Penn State with 73.025.
In the all-around competition, Illinois' Justin Spring was the early leader with a 19.200 after he completed the vault and the parallel bars. Iowa junior Michael Reavis was second after a 9.750 in the floor exercise and a 9.300 in the high bar event. Last year's all-around champion - Randy Monahan of Ohio State pulled in a 9.700 on the still rings after an 8.150 on the pommel horse to begin the night.
A new leader emerged in the team competition following the third rotation. Ohio State's vault score of 37.150 led by Cody Trobaugh's score of 9.400 squeezed the Buckeyes into first place just .150 points ahead of Michigan. Overall the Buckeyes had a score of 111.375 following the three events followed by Michigan with 111.225 and Illinois at 110.600. The Fighting Illini's Spring remained on top of the all-around competition.
Michigan reclaimed the lead by .050 points following the fourth rotation. The Wolverine's vault score of 37.500 led by Luke Bottke and Daniel Rais identical scores of 9.400 gave U-M 148.725 points. The Buckeyes tallied 37.300 on the parallel bars but it was not enough to hold on to the lead. Trailing Ohio State's second place score of 148.675 was Illinois with 148.375 followed by Iowa at 147.875, Penn State at 145.510 and Minnesota at 144.175.
The fourth event for each squad also saw a new all-around leader emerge. Justin Laury of Michigan had four scores at or above a 9.300 to give the Marietta, Georgia native the all-around lead.
The lead in the team competition changed hands once again following the fifth and penultimate event of the evening. A score of 38.775 on the high bar gave the Buckeyes back the team lead at 187.450 points. The Scarlet and Grey's Willie Ito scored a team-high 9.800 in the event. Illinois also moved up a spot in the team standings. The Fighting Illini's rings score of 38.600 gave U of I a second-place 186.975 heading into the last event. Michigan fell to third with 18.500 total points. The leader in the all-around competition remained Laury.
The Buckeyes secured the team trophy with their performance in the floor exercise. Randy Monahan recorded the top score for OSU in the event with a 9.550 to help give Ohio State 37.900 points in the event on its way to a title winning total of 225.350.
The University of Michigan's Lowry held on to first place to claim the all-around title. Lowry finished with 56.200 points to win the trophy followed by Illinois' Justin Spring with 55.575, Minnesota's Guillermo Alvarez with 55.475 and Iowa's Michael Reavis and Linas Gaveika with 54.575 and 53.975, respectively.
The top eight finishers in each event will compete on Saturday (March 26) for individual titles in each of the six events. Competition begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern time from the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena.