Men’s team committed to taking conference

 

 

By Kyle Diller

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The No. 4 Illinois men’s gymnasts put their skills on display ahead of their season opener at the Mixed Pair Exhibition on Sunday.

The men’s and women’s team joined forces to prepare for their upcoming seasons.

Although the season opener is over a month away for the Orange and Blue men, the meet will prove crucial with many of the gymnasts still in the process of perfecting new routines for the season.

The men and women were paired up and competed against each other in front of a wide selection of celebrity judges.

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Gymnast sets world record

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The three-member team of junior Sarah Schmidt, senior Kyle Padera and his brother, freshman C.J. Padera, took the top honors.

“Amazing. It was a good time, low stress. I mean everyone was having fun,” C.J. Padera said. “I mean we work so hard in the gym, then we come here and show them what we can do, it’s a nice feeling.”

Kyle Padera recorded a perfect 10 on the still rings to cap off a great night in front of the Illini faithful. He is excited for the season to start because the team has a point to make.

“We got ranked ninth by some guy who did all the rankings; we know we’re better than ninth,” the senior said.

“We’ve got something to prove, I mean we always seem like we’ve got something to prove, but I think we can prove it like the way we competed today.”

Freshman Tyler Mizoguchi also earned a perfect 10 on Sunday, on the parallel bars.

Illinois alumnus Tyler Yamauchi broke the world record for holding a cross on still rings with a time of 33 seconds – 10 seconds longer than the previous record.

“I wanted to get past 30 seconds or at 30 seconds,” Yamauchi said. “I’m actually extremely happy about what I got today.”

From here the Orange and Blue will set its focus on the regular season opener against University of Illinois-Chicago in the Windy City Invitational on Jan. 17.

Head coach Yoshi Hayasaki has set the bar high for his team as they prepare for the season ahead.

“We’re putting our sights on winning the Big Ten Championships and winning the National Championships,” Hayasaki said. “We were second last year at the Big Ten Championships, third in the country in the NCAA Championships, so obviously you have to aim that higher. Well where are we going to go? To first.”