Illini gymnasts take 4 events to top Ohio State

By Daniel Johnson

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a victory that senior Wes Haagensen said, “Couldn’t feel any better,” Illinois defeated Ohio State 355.650-348.100 on Saturday. The win was especially meaningful to the upperclassmen on the team, as they had never beaten Ohio State in a dual-format meet during their time at Illinois.

“I know for us seniors we just kept telling the young guys this was one of those things that was more important than just a dual meet,” Haagensen said. “We weren’t out just for the meet and out for the win, we went out for the kill; it was kind of like we were going for blood here because of the past six year (in which Illinois hadn’t beaten Ohio State).”

The men were extremely motivated by both their recent history with the Buckeyes and the fact that they dropped a meet they felt they should have won last week at home against Minnesota.

“It was kind of demoralizing,” senior Tyler Yamauchi said about the loss. “Especially with the home meet, having all of our fans there and having them come into our home gym and beating us, it gave us a lot of motivation for this week. It might have been a blessing in disguise.”

The Illini were lead by Haagensen, Yamauchi and freshman Paul Ruggeri. Illinois used all of Haagensen’s scores in their event scoring and three from both Yamauchi’s and Ruggeri.

Illinois won four of six individual events; Ohio State’s Jake Bateman took the all-round category. Buckeyes standout DJ Bucher fell from the rings apparatus on the third rotation and was scratched for the rest of the meet. Head coach Miles Avery said that he didn’t know the extent of Bucher’s injury.