2005 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships Preview

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March 23, 2005

The 2005 Big Ten Conference Men's Gymnastics Championships will take place Friday and Saturday (March 25-26) at the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena. Illinois will be attempting to repeat as champions after winning the 2004 Conference title on its home floor with Penn State coming in second and Ohio State third. The Buckeyes recorded the top team score this season with 226.9 points. The Fighting Illini were second with a top team effort of 223.9 while the Nittany Lions were third with a 222.6.

Floor Exercise
Four of the six Big Ten schools have a gymnast ranked in the top 10 in the country in the floor exercise event. Minnesota's Guillermo Alvarez is tied for first based upon his three top scores, with an average score of 9.808. On the season, Alvarez turned in a top score of 9.825 in the competition.

Six Big Ten athletes are ranked fourth through ninth in the top scores in the nation for the floor competition. Iowa's Michael Reavis averaged a 9.683 on the season which puts him in fourth place in the nation. Reavis topped out at a 9.725 in 2004-05. Adam Pummer of Illinois is fifth in nation at 9.650 with a high-score of 9.700. Ohio State's Randy Monahan - last year's all-around champion and Gymnast of the Year is sixth in the GymInfo ranking with a 9.617 after a top performance of 9.65. Chad Buczek of Penn State, Michael McNamara of Iowa and Steve Tobin of Penn State are ranked seventh, eighth in ninth with averages of 9.542, 9.525 and 9.483, respectively.

Pommel Horse
In the pommel horse event, all four of the nation's top performers in the event will be at the Big Ten championships. Ohio State's Willie Ito is the top gymnast in the event in the country and averaged a 9.825 from his top three scores this season. The sophomore's top score of 9.9 is the highest score of any Big Ten gymnast this season.

Penn State's Luis Vargas is ranked second in the nation with a 9.767 average and recorded a top score of 9.8 in 2004-05. The Fighting Illini's Ben Newman is the third ranked tumbler in the event with a season average of 9.758 and a top performance of 9.775. Another Buckeye rounds out the Big Ten contingent in the tops of the event in the country. DJ Bucher topped out at 9.7 during the regular season while averaging a 9.658 overall for his freshman campaign.

Still Rings
After placing fourth in the still rings event at the 2004 Big Ten championships, Ohio State's Randy Monahan enters this year's league championships as the top gymnast in the event in the conference and Division I. The senior will look for his first league crown in the event after posting a season best 9.925 in the event and averaging a 9.858 from his top three scores this season.

In addition to Monahan, the Buckeyes will also have DJ Bucher and Cody Trobaugh in the rings to help give them some team points. Bucher is rated seventh in the nation at 9.717 after topping out at 9.85 this season while Trobaugh is tied for 10th in the country at 9.683. Tied for 10th is Ben Newman of Illinois - who finished third in the 2004 conference summit. Fellow Illini gymnast Tyler Yamauchi is ranked fourth in the rings at 9.792. Penn State's Luis Vargas and Minnesota's Clinton Mays also find themselves in the top 10 in sixth and eight with top average scores of 9.733 and 9.700, respectively.

Illinois' Adam Pummer is the top performer in the vault event in the nation. Pummer recorded a top score of 9.65 this season on his way to averaging a 9.617 from his three best scores. Pummer finished seventh in the event at Champaign last year. There, Michigan's Andrew Digiore took home the first-place medal. This season Digiore also recorded a top score of 9.65 but currently is tied for 13th in the nation at 9.433.

Minnesota's Guillermo Alverez tallied a 9.592 this season to place himself third in the country entering this weekend's Big Ten Conference championships. Michael Reavis and Chad Buczek are fifth and seventh with top score averages of 9.550 and 9.525, respectively. Last season Reavis finished third at the Big Ten championships while Buczek finished sixth. Jimmy Whickham of Ohio State and Steve Tobin are tied for 10th at 9.450 points this season. Tobin was runner-up at the 2004 contest.

Parallel Bars
The top five spots in the parallel bars national standings all belong to Big Ten competitors. The Buckeyes DJ Bucher is ranked high in with a top three average score of 9.800 to lead the country. During the 2004-05 campaign, Bucher turned in the top score in the Big Ten with a 9.85 on the bars. Adam Pummer also finds his name high on the rankings. The Illini tumbler accumulated a 9.658 score to place him in a tie for second in the country with Penn State's Luis Vargas. A junior, Vargas finished sixth at the 2004 Big Ten championships.

Geoff Corrigan of Michigan is ranked fourth in the nation with a 9.533 score average. The Maize and Blue senior scored a high mark of 9.6 in the regular season. Tyler Yamauchi of Illinois rounds out the top five in the nation with a top three score average of 9.483. Another Illini gymnast, Wesley Haagensen is also ranked in the top 10 with 9.400 points.

High Bar
While having the top five gymnasts in the country in a particular event is impressive, it's even more remarkable to have 10 of the top 11 athletes in an event. That's exactly what the high bar competition will feature at this year's championships. Three Ohio State gymnasts are in the top five with Willie Ito holding down the top spot at 9.850. Junior Ron Ferris is second in Division I at a 9.825 score and enters the Big Ten Championships as the defending champion in the high bar event. Last year's all-around champion, Randy Monahan is tied for third with a 9.783.

Luis Vargas of Penn State is tied for third with a 9.783 top score average and Justin Spring of Illinois is fifth with a 9.700. A junior,  Spring was the runner-up to Ferris a year ago, while Vargas brought home a bronze medal in the event. Geoff Corrigan of Michigan, Michael Reavis and Linas Gaveika of Iowa and Tommy Ramos and Matt Bowman of PSU all find themselves in the top 11 in the nation entering the 2005 Big Ten championships.

Seven of the top eight finishers in last year's all-around competition are back this season including the champion, OSU's Randy Monahan. The Buckeye gymnast recorded a top all-around score of 56.55 during the regular season. The Nittany Lions' Luis Vargas finished sixth last year and enters the weekend with the top all-around score in the conference this season at 56.975. Justin Spring of Illinois was second to Monahan last year and recorded a top all-around score of 55.85 in 2004-05.