Spring adds elite gymnasts

URBANA — Two members of the U.S. Junior National Team recently signed national letters of intent with the Illinois men’s gymnastics program.
C.J. Maestas of Corrales, N.M., and Cameron Rogers of Mint Hill, N.C., will join coach Justin Spring’s team next season.

Inside scoop: Wes Haagensen

Wes Haagensen is the latest former Illini gymnast to take his place on the sport's international stage. Following in the footsteps of 2008 Olympian and ex-teammate Justin Spring, Haagensen made his World Championships debut last month in London. One of six men's gymnasts to represent the U.S., Haagensen competed in two events. Although the six-time All-American did not advance to the finals – in the qualifying round, he placed 20th in still rings and 34th in pommel horse – Haagensen came away encouraged by the experience. News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth contacted Haagensen via e-mail while the two-time Big Ten champion was returning to the United States. Their question-and-answer exchange follows:

Ohio State blanks Rayfield's squad

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois soccer team dropped a 3-0 decision to Ohio State on Thursday at the Illinois Soccer Stadium.
The first-place Buckeyes (12-2-2, 5-1-1 Big Ten), who got two goals from Lauren Steuer and another from Tiffany Cameron, outshot the Illini 17-9.

Bartsch helps end Wildcats' streak

CHAMPAIGN – Michelle Bartsch led a balanced attack with 13 kills as No. 10 Illinois defeated Northwestern 25-20, 25-16, 25-19 on Wednesday.

Laura DeBruler and Kylie McCulley each added 12 kills for the Illini (13-3, 5-2 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight. Northwestern (11-8, 2-5) had won four straight matches at Huff Hall.

Jeff Huth's eight Illini you need to know

Baseball's Willie Argo, Volleyball's Michelle Bartsch, runner Melissa Bates, gymanst Melissa Fernandez, soccer player Danielle Kot, tennis player Dennis Nevolo, gymanst Daniel Ribeiro and softball player Danielle Zymkowitz

Gymnasts Stannard, Haagensen impress at nationals

DALLAS – Illinois gymnast Luke Stannard won the pommel horse and former
Illinois gymnast Wes Haagensen finished third in the all-around Friday at
the Visa Championships.

Stannard, a senior-to-be and the reigning Big Ten champion in the pommel
horse, scored 15.500 points to finish the two-day meet with 30.650 to
capture the USA Gymnastics national title.

Illini gymnasts set for finals

DALLAS — Three current and one former Illinois gymnasts are among 42 qualifiers for tonight’s finals of the Visa Championships senior men’s meet.

Senior-to-be Luke Stannard and juniors-to-be Paul Ruggeri and Daniel Ribeiro remained alive in USA Gymnastics’ national championships based on their performances Wednesday during the first day of the meet. Also among the finalists is former Illini Wes Haagensen.

Haagensen near leaders

DALLAS — Former Illini gymnast Wes Haagensen placed in the top three in two events and was tied for fourth place in the all-around Wednesday after the opening day of the Visa Championships.

Haagensen recorded the second-highest score in the parallel bars (15.250) and the third highest in still rings (15.450) en route to an all-around total of 88.350.

Ex-Illini gymnast Grossfeld enters Hall

CHICAGO — Former Illinois standout and three-time U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics head coach Abie Grossfeld was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame on Wednesday in a ceremony at McCormick Place.

Grossfeld guided the 1984 U.S. Olympic men’s squad to the team gold medal and eight medals overall.

Spring enjoys change

DALLAS – It's gut-check time for Justin Spring.

Time for the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist to put a decision to leave competitive gymnastics to the ultimate emotional test. Time for the first-year Illinois head coach to make what's become an annual appearance at the Visa Championships, but this time to watch others vie for the gold medals he once earned.