The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 5 Illinois men’s gymnastics prepares for 2024 EVO Elite Collegiate Open

%0AJunior+Max+Farkhadau+showcases+a+one-handed+handstand+during+his+pommel+horse+routine+at+Huff+Hall+on+Feb.+3.
Isaac Pinkus
Junior Max Farkhadau showcases a one-handed handstand during his pommel horse routine at Huff Hall on Feb. 3.

No. 5 Illinois men’s gymnastics comes off of a massive win this past weekend against No. 4 Michigan: 413.800-410.250. The Illini dethroned the reigning Big Ten champions in a meet filled with career-highs, high scores and three event wins for freshman Brandon Dang on the pommel horse, graduate Connor McCool on the floor and senior Ashton Anaya on the still rings. 

Sophomore all-around Tate Costa, who broke career-highs on the floor, still rings, high bar and parallel bar against Michigan, spoke about how the team’s momentum and energy has carried on after all its recent wins.

“I think it translates well,” Costa said. “We’re just super excited to have those good vibes in the gym this week.”

As for this upcoming week, Illinois heads to Sarasota, Florida, for a rematch with Simpson. The Illini beat the Storm at the Windy City Invitational in January by a score of 404.450-361.250. Outside factors rarely affect the Illini, who stick to themselves regardless of opponents or distractions while competing.

“Music doesn’t play into it at all,” Costa said. “I don’t think anyone on our team has ever even heard the music while they’re doing their routine. It’s kind of the sport where you don’t need to watch your competitors ever, just focusing on ourselves.” 

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    The team has been pretty great at doing just that this season. The Illini currently have a 6-1 season record and a 1-0 conference record and they have since avenged that one loss against Michigan. Costa shared how he believes that as long as the team does their job, he is calm and not worried about Illinois’ chances. 

    “Pretty confident in us, doing our job and getting it done,” Costa said. “I think we’re in a good place. I’m not worried as long as we do our job.” 

    Illinois’ meeting with Simpson is at the 2024 EVO Elite Collegiate Open. Florida Storm, Georgia United and the 2024 Senior Elite men’s gymnastics team, which has an impressive lineup including Olympians and U.S. national team members, will also compete. 

    Costa shared how he believes there may be an advantage in competing against more than one team this week. He said that it is easier to focus on yourself and your team and that the other competitors aren’t as close to you. 

    “You’re not going head to head,” Costa said. “The other competitors aren’t in your face so it’s even easier to focus on your own team and not focus on what teams are doing.” 

    Illinois will go up against Simpson at the 2024 EVO Elite Collegiate Open on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

     

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