Ruggeri, Maestas now must wait for Olympic invite
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Two members of the U.S. Olympic team in men's gymnastics have been determined.
Today, former Illini Paul Ruggeri and current Illini C.J. Maestas will learn if they're headed to the London Games, too.
Ruggeri finished sixth and Maestas seventh in the all-around as the men's Olympic Team Trials ended Saturday at HP Pavilion. If either or both do not make the five-member American team, selection as an alternate still is a possibility.
"I think C.J. and I handled ourselves really well," said Ruggeri, a four-time NCAA champion and nine-time All-American. "This is one of the most high-pressured competitions in the world. We went out there as brothers and competed together.
"We really did our job, and both of us went 12 for 12 (in hitting routines) over the two days. I couldn't be prouder."
So far, Danell Leyva and John Orozco have stamped their ticket to London. Each secured automatic berths by finishing in the top two in the all-around. Leyva was first with a combined score of 368.350 — based on performances at the Visa U.S. Championships as well as the Olympic Trials — and Orozco finished second at 367.400.
The remaining members of the U.S. team will be announced today, subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee's board of directors.
Ruggeri, who joined with Maestas in helping Illinois win the 2012 NCAA team title, placed third in floor exercise and high bar. Ruggeri's all-around score of 352.800 was 5.550 points behind Chris Brooks and Jake Dalton, who tied for fourth place.
"My vaults hurt my performance over the entire process," said Ruggeri, who finished ninth in that event. "It's unfortunate because during the whole NCAA season, I was really consistent on vault.
"I couldn't pull it off here, but I was consistent on high bar, parallel bars and floor, so it's going to be interesting."
Maestas, a sophomore-to-be and the NCAA's reigning still rings champion, placed fourth in still rings and sixth in pommel horse. His all-around total of 351.750 included a score of 89.45 on Saturday, the fifth highest of the day.
Illini volunteer assistant coach David Sender finished 14th in the 15-gymnast field with a 342.450 all-around score. However, his cumulative vault score of 64.100 ranked second.