I followed Nancy Thies as the second first team All-Big Ten gymnastic in UI women's history. I earned that distinction in 1978, before the conference sanctioned women's sports. I captured the Big Ten's balance beam competition that year.
NORMAN, Okla. – Justin Spring was honored as college's top gymnast earlier in the week.
On Saturday at the NCAA Championships, the Illinois senior showed why.
NORMAN, Okla. – The Illinois men's gymnastics team finished less than a point away from a national title Friday night as defending champion and NCAA championship host school Oklahoma edged the Illini 221.400-220.975 in front of a partisan crowd of Sooner faithful.
The Illini held a slight lead after Justin Spring posted a 9.675 during Illinois' first rotation of the night (high bar). After a bye in the second rotation, Illinois slipped to fifth place and remained in that spot after the floor exercise despite Spring's meet-high 9.750.
I was one of two individual champions for the 1956 Illini men's gymnastics team that won the NCAA title. My crown came in tumbling, an event Illinois dominated at the national meet in the 1950s. During that decade, Illini tumblers won seven NCAA titles.
NORMAN, Okla. – The pre-meet rankings meant nothing to Illinois men's gymnastics coach Yoshi Hayasaki.
He just wanted his fourth-ranked Illini to continue their run at the national meet.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Illinois women's gymnastics team earned the fourth seed in the South Central Regional – located in Fayetteville, Ark. – of this year's National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships.
CHAMPAIGN – He's a two-time NCAA champion. A seven-time All-American. A 2005 U.S. high bar champion. A current member of the U.S. National Team. A past World Championships competitor.
For all that Justin Spring has accomplished in gymnastics since arriving on Illinois' campus, the senior does have one noticeably sparse entry on an otherwise jam-packed resume.
News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth offers three storylines apiece on this weekend's Big Ten Championships gymnastics meets:
I was a two-time Big Ten gymnastics champion, capturing pommel horse titles in 1961 and '62. I also earned All-America honors in the event in 1960. In high school at Winnetka New Trier, I was the IHSA state champion in the pommel horse in 1958.