2009 Men's Gymnastics Championships Preview

April 2, 2009

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Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships Central

Michigan's Crisler Arena will be the site of this year's Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships on April 3 and 4. This year's event will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network starting at 7 p.m. ET on both nights. This event is one of the oldest among all conference sports as the first men's gymnastics champion was crowned in 1902.

All six Big Ten squads are currently ranked in the top 10 nationally heading into championships weekend. Illinois is leading the way standing at NO. 4 in the country, while Michigan is ranked fifth. Last year's Big Ten team champion Penn State is ranked sixth, Ohio State stands in seventh, Minnesota is in eighth and Iowa rounds out the conference schools ranking tenth.

This year’s championships will feature four of the seven individual champions from last year’s event. Last year’s all-around and parallel bars champion Casey Sandy, returns in hopes of leading the Nittany Lions to a second-consecutive conference title. Reigning pommel horse champion, Illinois’ Daniel Ribeiro, also returns to defend his crown while 2008 Freshman of the Year Thomas Kelley of Michigan will look to retain his floor exercise title from last season. This year’s championships event will also feature two defending National Champions in Sandy (2008 all around champion) and Illinois’ Paul Ruggeri (2008 high bar champion).

Penn State won last year's title in front of a partisan blue-and-white crowd at Rec Hall. Almost a year to the date after Penn State won its NCAA-record 12th national championship in its historic home venue, the Nittany Lions won five of six events, posting a team score of 360.450 to claim the program's second conference title. Illinois took second place with a score of 357.300, followed by Ohio State (354.350), Michigan (353.000), Minnesota (351.450) and Iowa (344.500).

Illinois has won the team title 23 times, edging Minnesota who has won it on 21 occasions.  Michigan has taken home 14 titles, Ohio State has 12, while Iowa and Penn State have seven and two, respectively.