Spring still hopes all systems go for Olympics after latest injury

Like many boys, Justin Spring wanted to be just like his dad when he grew up.

Of course, how many boys have a father who flew helicopter missions during the Vietnam War? A father who worked for NASA during the 1980s? A father who spent nearly seven days in space in 1985 as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Atlantis? A father who would visit his son's school virtually every year to give presentations on what it's like to be an astronaut?

Illini help U.S. finish seventh

BANGKOK, Thailand – Illinois gymnasts Tyler Yamauchi and Chris Silcox helped the United States men finish seventh out of 18 teams Friday at the World University Games.

Senior-to-be Yamauchi placed seventh in the vault with a 15.900 score. Although the Sugarland, Texas, native was among the top eight – ordinarily good enough to qualify for the event finals Sunday – Yamauchi did not execute at least two different types of vaults, another requirement to advance.

Versatile infielder to play for Hartleb

CHAMPAIGN – Daniel Parker, a second-team all-state shortstop from Kansas, is joining the Illinois baseball team.

Illini coach Dan Hartleb on Tuesday announced the signing of the Lawrence High School graduate to a national letter of intent.

Illinois recruit turns heads

WINDSOR, Ontario – Illinois recruit Danelle Woods won the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Canadian Track and Field Championships on Sunday. Woods, who earlier this month was the steeplechase gold medalist at the Pan American Junior Championships, captured the national title in 10 minutes, 17.24 seconds. The incoming Illini freshman finished 11.78 in front of runner-up Bevin Kennelly.

Illinois-Missouri tickets on sale

ST. LOUIS, Mo. –Tickets for the Sept. 1 Illinois-Missouri football game went on sale at 10 a.m today.

Individual tickets are available as well as group and special VIP packages.

UI coach Small shares PGA lead

SUNRIVER, Ore. – Ryan Benzel and Illini golf coach Mike Small shared a 1-stroke lead after the second round of the PGA Professional National Championship on Friday.

Benzel, an assistant pro at Seattle Golf Club, shot a 5-under 66 on the par-71 Meadows Golf Course at Sunriver Resort, for a 6-under 137 total. Small shot a second-round 4-under 67.

Illinois tips hat to pair

CHAMPAIGN – Men's tennis star Kevin Anderson and track standout Yvonne Mensah on Wednesday were named the 2006-07 Dike Eddleman winners as best male and female athletes at the University of Illinois.

Mensah's honor is the sixth for the women's track program in the past seven years. Anderson is the third tennis player to win the honor on the men's side, joining Oliver Freelove (1999) and Amer Delic (2003).

Track teams earn at-large bids

CHAMPAIGN – Three individuals and one relay from the Illinois track and field teams received at-large invitations Tuesday to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Anderson, Rowe stay alive at tourney

ATHENS, Ga. – Defending NCAA doubles champions Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe of Illinois advanced to the round of 16, defeating 23rd-ranked Dan Buikema and Mathieu Thibaudeau of Alabama, 7-6 (3), 7-5 on Thursday.

Anderson and Rowe, seeded 5-8, struggled early returning serves, but the Illini duo rebounded.

Pomeroy in running for gymnastics award

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois gymnast Cara Pomeroy was recognized last weekend as one of six finalists for the American Award during the NCAA Championship Awards Banquet in Salt Lake City.

The award, presented annually by American Athletic, Inc., honors the senior female gymnast who has best demonstrated her competitive, leadership, academic and community skills throughout her collegiate career.