CHAMPAIGN – If re-establishing Illinois'' men''s gymnastics program as one of the nation''s best is a two-step process, the first part was completed with a flourish Friday at Huff Hall.
Illinois stormed from behind in the final four events and claimed its conference-best 23rd Big Ten championship. But it is the Illini''s first title since 1989, snapping the league''s longest drought.
CHAMPAIGN – By definition, roommates tend to know things others don''t, which partly explains why Adam Pummer isn''t going to give up Justin Spring''s secrets without a fight.
Pummer has borne witness to his Illinois gymnastics teammate taking risks on many occasions. And if people hang around the Illini''s training facilities long enough, they''ll see for themselves.
The Illinois men''s gymnastics team retained its No. 1 ranking in this week''s GymInfo poll despite a loss Saturday to No. 2 Oklahoma.
Based on a formula involving a three-score average, Yoshi Hayasaki''s Illini lead the nation at 220.708. The Sooners have a 220.342 average.
Illinois'' Justin Spring was named NCAA Men''s Gymnast of the Week by Inside Gymnastics Magazine for the second time in three weeks.
The Illinois men''s tennis team isn''t the only top-ranked squad on campus. Yoshi Hayasaki''s men''s gymnastics team joined Craig Tiley''s group on Monday as No. 1 in the nation.
The GymInfo top ranking is the first for the Illini men since 1989, when they won Big Ten and NCAA titles. Illinois will host both events this year.
With most teams idle last week because of the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup, there was little change in the NCAA men''s collegiate rankings.
After four top-three finishes leading the No. 3 Illini to a win against eighth-ranked Minnesota, men''s gymnast Justin Spring was named the Big Ten Men''s Gymnast of the Week.
Despite setting a school record for team score last weekend, the Illinois men''s gymnastics team remained third in this week''s national rankings.
With rankings based on total season average, the Illini are barely out of the lead at 215.367. Ohio State ranks first at 215.767, while Penn State is No. 2 at 215.583. Illinois'' average includes a 218.900 on Sunday against Minnesota, the program''s highest score since the NCAA adopted international scoring rules in 2001.
Two Illinois men''s gymnasts are ranked first in the nation in their events. Ben Newman has compiled the highest season scoring average in the pommel horse (9.725), and Justin Spring is No. 1 in floor exercise (9.537).
Charlie Pond, who led Illinois to four NCAA men''s gymnastics titles, died Thursday.
Pond, who was living in Dewey, Ariz., was 88.