TORONTO — Four days after helping lead the U.S. men’s gymnastics team to its first Pan American Games gold medal since 1995, former Illini Paul Ruggeri claimed another medal in the event finals in Toronto.
CHAMPAIGN — Forty-nine Illinois athletes have been recognized as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for the 2014-15 school year, the league office announced Wednesday.
Honorees must have had a 3.7 or higher grade-point average for the academic year. A total of 779 athletes from the 14 schools were recognized by the league.
We rate all 19 Illinois athletic teams from the 2014-15 school year:
Why an A: Set the bar high for future seasons with 50 wins and first NCAA regional title.
Last year’s grade: B
High point: Beating Wright State to sweep NCAA regional and reach super regional.
Tom Michael left for Eastern Illinois and the chance to run his own athletic department after two-plus decades at Illinois, first as a basketball player for Lou Henson and later as an administrator.
Top Male Athletes
1. Isaiah Martinez, wrestling. Only 10 wrestlers win a national title each year. Those who go undefeated doing so are a much smaller group, which Martinez joined in March.
2. Tyler Jay, baseball. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and No. 6 overall draft pick of the Minnesota Twins was one of the most dominant closers in the nation this spring.
EUGENE, Ore. — Illinois’ David Kendziera narrowly missed qualifying for the 400-meter hurdles final, clocking 49.57 seconds Friday at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Johnny Dutch, competing unattached, had the fastest semifinal time, finishing in 48.90.
Illinois’ Dylan Lafond placed 20th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 9 minutes, 5.07 seconds.
EUGENE, Ore. — Illinois’ Stephanie Richartz placed third in the pole vault, clearing a Big Ten- and school-record 14 feet, 71/4 inches on Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Richartz earned All-America honors in the event for the second time outdoors. In 2013, Richartz placed sixth.
About this time of the year, the University of Illinois typically names its male and female athletes of the year.
On the men’s side of the ledger, the recipients date back to 1940 when football and baseball star Bill Hapac received the initial honor.
Urbana gymnast Nancy Thies was the first female honoree in 1977.
CHAMPAIGN — Women’s gymnasts Julia Hutcherson and Brielle Nguyen will join Illinois coach Kim Landrus’ roster this fall.
Hutcherson of Canton, Ga., was a five-time regional qualifier and finished in fifth place in the all-around at the Level 10 state meet.
I love sports.
And I love movies/TV.
Thanks to Kirk Buchner, both my worlds collide. In a good way.
The Canadian-based Buchner is the owner/creator of the Fictitious Athlete Hall of Fame.
“It is a labor of love,” Buchner said.