April 4, 2006
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Every Big Ten men's gymnastics program earned a spot in the 2006 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships. All six league teams will compete for the national title for the fifth straight season, the longest streak of success in more than four decades. The six conference squads will make up half of the 12-team NCAA Championships field and will face off at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the defending national champion Oklahoma on Thursday-Saturday, April 6-8.
The Big Ten will send six teams to the national championships in five straight seasons for the first time since 1960, a year that marked the conclusion of seven straight years with six or more teams advancing to the NCAA Championships. That string of success included four national titles with Illinois claiming solo crowns in 1955 and 1956 and the Fighting Illini splitting the national title with conference-foe Michigan State in 1958. Last year, the Big Ten advanced all six programs to the NCAA Championships with Ohio State claiming a second-place showing. The Buckeyes were followed by a trio of conference programs as Illinois (3rd), Penn State (4th) and Michigan (6th) finished among the top six.
The Big Ten has earned four national championships in the last seven seasons, including trophies for Penn State in 2004 and 2000, Ohio State in 2001 and Michigan in 1999. The conference placed at least three schools among the top five in the country in each of the last eight NCAA Championships.
The Buckeyes enter the 2006 NCAA meet as the nation's No. 3 team after clinching their second consecutive Big Ten crown and 11th in school history. Ohio State will be making its conference record 26th-consecutive appearance and vying for its fourth national title as the Buckeyes won in 2001, 1996 and 1985. Illinois, which is ranked No. 4, will be making its fifth straight appearance and 35th overall, as the team tops all league programs with nine national championships. Sixth-ranked Penn State, which boasts an NCAA-record 11 national titles, including the 2004 and 2000 crowns as a member of the Big Ten, will be making its eighth straight appearance in the NCAA Championships. Iowa is ranked seventh nationally and leads all league entries with 38 NCAA appearances, including the last six seasons. Eighth-ranked Michigan is tied with Ohio State with three national crowns and is making its eighth straight appearance and 29th overall, while No. 10 Minnesota ranks second to the Hawkeyes after collecting its 37th bid and fifth straight appearance.
The national qualifier, which consists of two pre-qualifying sessions, will be conducted on April 6. Three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, will advance from each pre-qualifying session to the finals, which will take place April 7-8.