Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State Advance to NCAA's Super Six

April 16, 2009

The Big Ten Conference saw Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State advance to the Super Six of the 2009 NCAA Championships, Thursday night at the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion. With the trio of teams advancing to the Team Finals, the conference squads will make up half of the competitive field. The three teams will be joined by No. 1 Stanford (361.100), No. 2 Oklahoma (360.950) and No. 5 California (357.550).

The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan’s men’s gymnastics team earned a trip to the NCAA Championships Team Finals, posting a season high of 358.300 score to place second in the first national qualifying session. Penn State finished the opening session in fourth place with 352.150 points, falling just short of the top-three qualifying mark to advance to the team finals. With Stanford, Michigan and California qualifying from session one, the Nittany Lions will not advance to vie for the national championship for the first time since 2002.

The third-ranked Illinois and the No. 6-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics teams will join the Wolverines in Friday’s NCAA Team Finals after finishing the NCAA Championships evening qualifying session in second and third place, respectively. The Fighting Illini posted a season-high score of 359.300, while the Buckeyes compiled a team mark of 354.300 to advance to the Super Six. Minnesota (351.050) and Iowa (337.350) rounded out the evening session in fourth and fith place, respectfully.

The 2009 Nissen-Emery Award winner Casey Sandy earned a chance to defend his 2008 NCAA title, winning the all-around in Thursday’s afternoon session with a score of 90.500. The seven-time All-American placed third in the parallel bars (14.800), fourth in the pommel horse (15.000) and vault (15.850), sixth in the high bar (14.800), tied for ninth in the floor exercise (15.050), and 10th in the still rings (15.000).

The evening session also saw another Big Ten gymnast claim top honors in the all-around event in Illinois’ Paul Ruggeri. The Illini sophomore posted a 15.650 to claim the top spot on high bar, tied for first on parallel bars (14.900), placed second on floor (15.600) and fifth on vault (15.950), compiling an overall career-high score of 90.450.

Of the three Big Ten squads to not qualify for the team finals, Minnesota leads the charge, advancing nine specialists to the individual event finals Saturday. Adam Reichow (floor exercise, vault), Thomas O'Brien (pommel horse, still rings) and Russell Dabritz (still rings, parallel bars), will each compete in two events, while six other gymnasts will look to compete in a single event, including Aaron Fortunato (all-around), Eddie Campbell (floor exercise), Kit Beikmann (pommel horse), DJ Repp (vault), Ali Aleiou (high bar) and Colin McGuire (high bar).

Penn State also saw six other gymnasts advance to the event finals. Joining Sandy in the all-around competition, junior Noam Shaham tallied an 84.800 mark to finish in sixth place in the preliminaries and advance to the finals. PSU’s individual event finalists are led by junior Allen Harris, who will perform in three events (floor exercise, vault, and parallel bars). Joining Harris will be junior Nick Virbitsky (floor exercise, high bar), senior Josh Borromeo (still rings), junior Matt Greenfield (high bar), and sophomore Warren Yang (high bar).

Iowa senior Geoff Reins was the sole Hawkeye to advance to the individual event finals. The Big Ten vault champion finished in a tie for second on vault and tied for third on floor exercise, and will look to advance in both events.

The 2008 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships will continue on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. (CT) with the team and all-around finals. Performers that place in the top 10 in each event during the team finals competition will qualify for the NCAA Individual Event Finals, set for Sat., April 19 at 7 p.m. (CT).

1. Stanford 361.100*
2. Michigan 358.300*
3. California 357.550*
4. Penn State 352.150
5. Nebraska 346.800
6. Navy 327.000

1. Oklahoma 360.950*
2. Illinois 359.300*
3. Ohio State 354.300*

4. Minnesota 351.050
5. UIC 337.650
6. Iowa 337.350

* Teams advancing to the team finals

Complete Session One Results

Complete Session Two Results

NCAA Championships Central