Sports briefs: Former Illini gymnast leads U.S. to bronze medal

By Jason Grodsky

Illinois assistant coach and six-time NCAA champion Justin Spring helped lead the U.S. Pan American team to a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday.

Spring finished with the best scores for the U.S. in all four of his scheduled events, helping the team make up an 11-point deficit to win the bronze team medal in artistic gymnastics, finishing just 0.6 points behind gold medalist Puerto Rico and 0.3 behind Brazil, which took silver.

In his first Pan American games, Spring posted a 14.650 on high bar, sticking his triple-back dismount to finish. He then followed up with a solid floor routine, scoring a team-high 15.150. The Burke, Va. native then posted the top score of the night on vault, receiving a 16.400.

With his scores, Spring qualified for individual finals on parallel bars, high bar and floor exercise, but ironically did not advance to vault finals despite scoring the highest score of the competition because he did not display two different vaults during the team finals, a requirement to advance to event finals on the apparatus.

Men’s golf signee wins tournament

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    Incoming freshman Chris DeForest is putting together an impressive resume heading into his first season as an Illini.

    Deforest, an Illinois men’s golf signee, won the title at the Westfield Junior PGA championship this weekend in Westfield Center, Ohio, shooting a 10-under par 274 to win the tournament by six strokes.

    His 274 score was just three strokes off the course record and his 54-hole score of 13-under 200 was a course record. With the win, the Cottekill, N.Y. native qualifies for the Harder German Junior Masters, Aug. 6-9, at Heddesheim Golf Club in Gut Neuzenhof, Germany.

    Illinois baseball team adds Kansan standout to incoming freshman class

    The Illinois baseball team continues to improve its incoming freshman class with the announcement of the signing of shortstop/outfielder Daniel Parker (Lawrence, Kan.) to a National Letter of Intent on Tuesday.

    The 6-3, 185-pound left-handed hitter was a second-team All-State selection by the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches after leading his Lawrence High team to a third-place finish in the Kansas class 6A state tournament. Parker played much of the spring at shortstop but has experience at both corner outfield positions.

    The three-year baseball letterwinner also lettered twice in soccer and was a first-team All-Sunflower League shortstop this spring and represented his summer league team, the Kansas City Sluggers, in the all-star game for the Premier League.

    Compiled by Jason Grodsky