Illinois' Ribeiro and Ruggeri Capture NCAA Individual Event Titles

April 18, 2009

The Big Ten Conference saw 14 gymnasts earn All-America recognition at the conclusion of the Individual Event Finals of the 2009 National Collegiate Championships on Saturday evening at the Sports Pavilion on the host campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Illinois crowned two individual champions while capturing three event titles overall. Illinois sophomore Paul Ruggeri defended his 2008 NCAA high bar title, turning in a near flawless routine to capture his second-consecutive national championship in the event with a score of 15.750. The 2009 Big Ten Parallel Bars Champion went on to post the top score in the last evening of the night with a 15.175 for his first National title on parallel bars. Ruggeri capped off his banner year with a runner-up finish on floor with a 15.600 to earn a total of four All-America accolades.

Fellow Illini sophomore Daniel Ribeiro was also crowned a national champion, capturing the pommel horse crown with a mark of 15.575. Ranked No. 1 in the country coming into the championships, Ribeiro earned All-American honors on pommel horse for the second straight year, becoming the first Illini gymnast to win the event since 2004. With the trio of top finishes, the Fighting Illini will return from nationals with at least three individual titles for the first time since 1958.

Iowa’s Geoff Reins capped off a stellar career with a second-place finish in the individual vault finals. The sole Hawkeye to advance to Saturday’s final session, the Big Ten vault champion earned his third All-America selection by virtue of his runner-up performance.

A handful of Wolverines earned All-America honors, with two gymnasts capturing multiple recognitions. Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, sophomore Thomas Kelley, garnered the accolade on parallel bars and high bar, recording scores of 14.675 and 15.275, respectfully, to finish in second place in each event. Fellow U-M sophomore Chris Cameron also earned dual distinction with a fourth place finish on floor (15.550) and a sixth place finish on pommel horse (15.175).

Other Michigan honorees include freshman Adam Hamers on pommel horse (7th – 14.525), and Big Ten individual event champions in senior co-captain Phil Goldberg on still rings (2nd – 15.400) and senior Joe Catrambone on high bar (5th – 14.050). The five All-Americans ties for the most in Michigan program history.

Minnesota gymnasts Kit Beikmann and DJ Repp each earned All-America honors after finishing fifth in the pommel horse (15.325) and sixth on the vault (15.850), respectfully.

Ohio State saw a trio of Buckeyes in senior Jake Bateman and freshmen Steven Spencer and Ty Echard garner All-America distinction. On rings, Bateman capped his four-year career with a 15.250 to tie for fourth place. Spencer recorded a program-high 15.475 on the pommel horse to finish second, while teammate Echard tallied a personal-high mark of 15.450 to place third in the event.

Penn State senior Casey Sandy completed his brilliant career as a nine-time All-American, earning a seventh place finish in the vault with a score of 15.825.

NCAA Championship Individual Event Final Results