Dec. 9, 2009
The Michigan Wolverines were selected by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten Conference. Illinois was voted second overall, followed by Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa. The coaches also selected two gymnasts from each squad to represent a 12-member Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch List.
The Wolverines shared the 2009 conference crown and were the national runners-up at the NCAA Championships last April. The Wolverines return three student-athletes that combined for five All-America honors and are ranked No. 4 in the national in the preseason rankings. Michigan gymnasts to watch Syque Caesar and Andrew Vance are part of a deep Michigan lineup that looks to make another run toward a conference and national championship.
Illinois enters 2010 after sharing the 2009 Big Ten Championship with Michigan. Ranked fifth nationally entering the season, the Illini finished fifth at last year's NCAA Championships and 2010 gymnasts to watch Daniel Ribeiro and Paul Ruggeri captured three individual NCAA championships with Ruggeri winning high bar and parallel bars and Ribeiro claiming the pommel horse crown.
Minnesota boasts a No. 8 preseason national rank behind the leadership of seniors Aaron Fortunato and Adam Reichow. The duo leads an eight-man senior class poised to lead the Gophers to their 22nd conference championship, but first since 1995. This year, the Gophers return six student-athletes that competed in the individual events championship competition at the NCAA Championships last year.
Ohio State's Brandon Wynn, a 2009 All-American and Philip Onorato, the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, have Ohio State ranked No. 7 nationally in the preseason polls. The Buckeyes finished the 2009 season sixth at the NCAA Championships, where Steven Spencer and Ty Echard earned All-American honors.
Penn State, ranked No. 6 in the national coaches poll, returns five student-athletes that competed individually at the NCAA Championships, including 2010 Gymnast to Watch Noam Shaham. The Nittany Lions finished fifth at last year's conference meet and hope to move up with the addition of a talented freshmen class led by 2010 Gymnast to Watch Parker Raque.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, behind Jon Buese and Ben Ketelsen, look to validate their No. 10 national ranking in 2010. Buese placed 14th in the all-around competition at the 2009 NCAA Championships, while the Hawkeyes advanced to the national meet for the 41st time in school history, most in the Big Ten.
2010 BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL
4. Ohio State