Gymnastics teams record wins

By Mike Czapar

The No. 2 Illinois men’s gymnastics team continued their success on the road last Saturday, handling Minnesota 219.075-214.375.

The Illini tallied their second win of the year, in a meet that featured strong performances from Illinois veterans as well as high scores for the talented group of freshmen.

Leading the charge for the Illini was freshman Wes Haagensen, capturing the all-around title with a school record score of 55.950, in only his second collegiate meet. Haagensen tallied such a high mark in the all-around by placing in the top five in every event – including a first place finish on the high bar.

Haagensen said the Illini were pleased with several high scoring performances, but definitely saw areas that could be improved.

“I think we did well for being early in the season,” Haagensen said. “I think we could have done better in a few areas, and we want to improve some of our hit percentages. But, we’re right on track as far as our season goals and we’re looking forward to getting back in the gym.”

Another freshman, Tyler Yamauchi, performed exceptionally as he took home two event titles – the rings and the parallel bars – posting 9.725 and 9.400, respectively.

Head coach Yoshi Hayasaki was pleased with the team’s performance on the road, and said the team has made progress since the last meet.

“Competing for the first time as the number one team, I think we put up some really good numbers,” Hayasaki said. “Wes Haagensen had a great all around score and Tyler Yamauchi and Adam Pummer also performed really well, placing first in their events. I think with our performance this weekend, we were able to live up to the top ranking.”

This week, the Illini will be working especially hard to gear up for this Saturday’s meet, as they take on No. 1 Ohio State at Huff Hall.

“We’re going to be a lot more focused in practice, and we’re going to work a lot more at performing our routines as a team,” Haagensen said. “We’re going to work to put as much pressure on ourselves at practice as we would at a meet to help eliminate some early season mistakes.”

Hayasaki said the Illini are excited to kick off their home season with such a powerful team, and are looking forward to getting back into Huff Hall.

“The team is excited about competing at home, especially with the No. 1, No. 2 match up against Ohio State,” Hayasaki commented. “It will definitely be a showdown, but I think the team is prepared and ready for the challenge.”