Spring joins National team

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Online Poster

By Mike Czapar

Illinois junior men’s gymnast Justin Spring brought home both hardware and honors from his recent trip to Las Vegas. After taking first in the USA 2005 Winter Cup on the high bar, Spring was crowned not only a national champion, but a member of the U.S. National team as well.

Spring was one of nine gymnasts named to the national squad, and will be competing on the high bar at various national competitions throughout the year.

“It was really exciting to be named,” Spring said. “I’ve been trying to make nationals since I was fifteen, and it’s just a really good feeling to finally get there. I’ve been waiting a long time, and it’s the first stop on the long road to making it for the 2008 Olympics.”

Spring earned the prestigious spot despite not being fully recovered from a leg injury he suffered early in the preseason this fall. For now, Spring will be exclusively on the high bar – an event he is quite familiar with after winning the individual title at the 2004 NCAA Championships.

Spring said he hopes to work his way into the rotation in other events as he continues to return to full strength.

“The first meet they’ll use me at is the American Cup in Colorado, and I’ll just be on the high bar,” Spring said. “Hopefully as I get back to 100 percent, they’ll let me in the rotation for some other events as well.”