Three Win National Titles on Day 3 of NCAA Championships

Illinois' C.J. Maestas won the still rings title on Saturday night.

April 21, 2012

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Three conference standouts took home national titles on the final night of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships on Saturday. Illinois’ C.J. Maestas won the still rings crown, teammate Paul Ruggeri came away with the vault title and Michigan’s Sam Mikulak took home the high bar championship.

Maestas earned the rings title after placing first with a score of 15.300 for his first career national title. Penn State’s Scott Rosenthal gave the Big Ten a 1-2 finish in the event, earning a second-place finish with a 15.250. Penn State’s Nihir Kothari (seventh), Illinois’ Anthony Sacramento (eighth) and Ohio State’s Mike Behles (ninth) rounded out the conference contingent.

Ruggeri, who finishes his career with four event championships, won the second individual title for Illinois, tying for the top spot on vault with a mark of 15.500. Michigan’s Stacey Ervin finished fourth, while Ohio State’s Larry Mayer was ninth.

Mikulak, who won the 2011 national all-around championship, claimed the Big Ten’s third individual national championship of the night with a winning high bar score of 15.450. Illinois’ Jordan Valdez, Austin Phillips and C. J. Padera finished fifth, seventh and 10th, respectively, while Penn State’s Nestor Rodriguez finished eighth.

Eight conference gymnasts took part in the pommel horse final, claiming second through ninth places. Craig Hernandez placed second in the event, followed by Ohio State’s Michael Newburger in third. Penn State’s Adrian Evans and Illinois’ Yoshi Mori rounded out the top five. Illinois’ Maestas (sixth), Chad Mason (eighth) and Cole Smith (ninth), and Ohio State’s Ty Echard (seventh) were also part of the pommel horse final.

Ruggeri recorded a second-place finish on parallel bars, leading the way for five conference participants in the event. Ohio State’s Misha Koudinov tied for third, Penn State’s Felix Aronovich took fifth, Mikulak was eighth and Maestas placed ninth.

In the floor exercise, Michigan’s Stacey Ervin paced the conference with a third-place effort, followed by Nebraska’s Grant Perdue in fourth. Ohio State’s Danny Steiner tied for sixth, Penn State’s Parker Raque was eighth and teammate Craig Hernandez finished 10th.