Men's gymnastics square off against Iowa for second time this week

Illinois%27+Brandon+Ngai+performs+a+routine+on+the+pommel+horse+during+the+meet+against+Stanford+at+Huff+Hall+on+Friday%2C+March+6%2C+2015.The+Illini+lost+21-9.
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Men's gymnastics square off against Iowa for second time this week

Illinois' Brandon Ngai performs a routine on the pommel horse during the meet against Stanford at Huff Hall on Friday, March 6, 2015.The Illini lost 21-9.

Illinois' Brandon Ngai performs a routine on the pommel horse during the meet against Stanford at Huff Hall on Friday, March 6, 2015.The Illini lost 21-9.

Sonny An | Assistant photo edito

Illinois' Brandon Ngai performs a routine on the pommel horse during the meet against Stanford at Huff Hall on Friday, March 6, 2015.The Illini lost 21-9.

Sonny An | Assistant photo edito

Sonny An | Assistant photo edito

Illinois' Brandon Ngai performs a routine on the pommel horse during the meet against Stanford at Huff Hall on Friday, March 6, 2015.The Illini lost 21-9.

By James Boyd

The two faced off Sunday in the Windy City Invitational at the UIC Pavilion, where Illinois finished first in a field of six for a second straight year — Iowa finished fourth.

Head coach Justin Springss is not sold on his team’s performance thus far. He noted that two gymnastic powerhouses — Oklahoma and Stanford — are looking like they’re already in midseason from, while the Illini are not executing their routines to their full potential.

“At the end of the day, we were just slightly ahead of everyone else,” Spring said of the Windy City Invite. “It really wasn’t a good indicator of where everyone sits in the Big Ten.”

Spring noted that the team’s health and execution were two notable concerns.

Sophomore Chandler Eggleston has performed well in his first bit of action since sitting out last season due to a knee injury, contributing multiple high scores in the team’s competition.

Freshman Alex Diabss and sophomore Bobby Bakerss also continue to impress, and sophomore Brandon Ngai looks to follow up his strong performance on pommel horse with another high-scoring routine at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Ngai’s score of 15.550ss is the highest pommel horse score by an Illini in the past five years and was Illinois’ only individual first place finish at the Windy City Invite.

Spring believes Saturday’s contest will be close despite topping Iowa at the Windy City Invite.ss

“The conference title is going to be given to the team that steps up and hits routines when the title is on the line,” Spring said. “There’s not going to be a runaway at this conference meet.”

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