Ruggeri leads way for UI contingent

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Former Illini Paul Ruggeri, current Illini C.J. Maestas and UI volunteer assistant coach David Sender each had shining moments Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Ruggeri was seventh in the all-around after posting an 86.950 at the HP Pavilion, giving him a three-day combined total of 263.850 (Visa Championships plus Trials).

Maestas, who placed fourth in the rings and sixth in pommel horse in prelims, was 10th in the all-around.

Sender, who was fourth in vault in prelims, was 15th in the all-around.

"Overall, the day was great," UI assistant coach Daniel Ribeiro said. "C.J. and Paul went 6 for 6. David started out struggling on the first couple events but finished off strong. I'm really proud of each of them. They came into a really high-pressure situation and competed very well."

Ruggeri was third in floor exercise and third in high bar in prelims.

"I had a day very similar to my second day at (the) Visa Championships," Ruggeri said. "I hit all six events. Nothing was too spectacular, but I was consistent. I really need to do better on vault and floor, and I can put up a much higher score on high bar, too."

Part of this selection process is going to be about consistency, so I'm really happy that I hit all six events and have gone the last two days of competition without a fall."

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