All Six League Programs Gear Up for NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships
April 6, 2005
Every Big Ten men's gymnastics program earned a spot in the 2005 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, as all six League teams will compete for the national title for the fourth 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 Holleder Center on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy on Thursday-Saturday, April 7-9.
The Big Ten will send six teams to the national championships in four 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 Illini splitting the national title with Conference-foe Michigan State in 1958. The Big Ten advanced all six programs to the 2004 NCAA Championships with Penn State producing the school's second national crown in the last five years. The Nittany Lions were followed by a trio of Conference programs as Illinois (3rd), Ohio State (4th) and Michigan (5th) finished among the top five.
The Big Ten has earned four national championships in the last six seasons, including trophies for Michigan in 1999, Penn State in 2000 and Ohio State in 2001. The Conference placed four schools among the top five in the country for the second straight time last season and just the third time in League annals, a feat that was first accomplished in 1958. The Big Ten has also nabbed at least three of the top five spots in each of the past seven NCAA Championships.
The Buckeyes enter the 2005 NCAA Championships as the nation's No. 1 team after clinching their first Big Ten crown since 2002 and their 10th in school history. Ohio State will be making its Conference record 25th-consecutive appearance and vying for its fourth national title as the Buckeyes won in 2001, 1996 and 1985. Illinois, which is ranked No. 2, will be making its fourth straight appearance and 32nd overall, as the team tops all League programs with nine national championships. Fourth-ranked Michigan is tied with OSU with three national crowns and is making its seventh straight appearance and 28th overall. Defending national champion Penn State is ranked fifth nationally and boasts an NCAA-record 11 national titles, including the 2004 and 2000 crowns as a member of the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions qualified for the seventh consecutive season and the 12th time in 14 years in the Conference. No. 7 Iowa leads all League entries with 37 appearances, including the last five seasons, while No. 9 Minnesota ranks second to the Hawkeyes after collecting its 36th bid and fourth straight appearance.
The national qualifier, which consists of two pre-qualifying sessions, will be conducted on April 7. 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 8-9.