April 24, 2006
The Big Ten supplied three of the six teams that advanced to the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships finals in Norman, Okla., but it was the Oklahoma Sooners that took home the team title for the second consecutive year. Illinois finished the team competition with a second-place showing, while Penn State and Iowa followed in fourth and sixth place, respectively. The conference has had at least two teams finish among the top six at the NCAA Championships over the last 12 years.
Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Justin Spring of Illinois captured two titles in the individual event competition. Spring broke his previous school record on parallel bars with an incredible 9.825 en route to winning his second consecutive NCAA title on the event. He followed up his record-setting performance with a 9.700 on high bar to tie Stanford's Dylan Carney for the title. A total of 17 Big Ten gymnasts were named to the 2006 All-America team, led by seven selections from Illinois and three from Iowa and Ohio State. Michigan and Penn State followed with two honorees each.
The Big Ten has sent six teams to the national championships in five 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.