April 15, 2008
For the seventh consecutive season, all six Big Ten men's gymnastics teams will compete in this weekend's NCAA Championships. With 12 teams competing in the event, the conference squads will make up half of the competitive field. This year's Championships will take place on the campus of Stanford University at Maples Pavilion on April 17-19.
The current seven-year streak of sending all six teams to the NCAA Championships ties a Big Ten record for most consecutive seasons of sending all conference teams, set from 1954-1960.
Since 1999, the Big Ten has won five national titles, including last year when Penn State took home the NCAA crown. The Nittany Lions also won the NCAA Championships in 2004 and 2000. Ohio State took home the trophy in 2001 as did Michigan in 1999 during that span.
Penn State looks to defend its title this year as the team ranks third in the country. The Nittany Lions are making their 15th appearance in the Championships as a member of the Big Ten. Illinois is currently ranked fifth in the nation and is making its 35th overall appearance. The Illini have won nine national titles in program history and placed fifth in last year's event. No. 6 Michigan is in the championships for the 31st time and hopes to improve on its fourth-place finish a year ago. No. 7 Ohio State is making its Big Ten record 28th-consecutive appearence in the national event. The Buckeyes have won three championships and are making their 37th appearance in the national competition. Minnesota will make its 39th appearance ranking eighth in the nation as No. 9 Iowa makes its conference-leading 40th appearance at the NCAA Championships.
The national qualifier, which consists of two pre-qualifying sessions, will be conducted on April 17. 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 session. Final competitions will take place April 18-19, also at Stanford University.