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.

5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without:

Illinois is well represented at this week's U.S. Senior Men's division of the Visa Championships - the national championship meet for USA Gymnastics - in Dallas with Paul Ruggeri, Daniel Ribeiro and Luke Stannard in action.

Tate's Top 20

Bob Zuppke checks in as Loren Tate's greatest Illini coach of all time. Read on for the rest — and his explanation as to why he picked the way he did.

5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without: Former Illini gymnast Abie Grossfeld will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without:

NCAA champions Angela Bizzarri and Paul Ruggeri have been named Dike Eddleman Award winners for 2008-09.

In his words: Male Athlete of the Year Paul Ruggeri

We asked men's Athlete of the Year Paul Ruggeri to describe why his time at Illinois is so special: