Illini of the Week Feb.4: Chandler Eggleston

Chandler+Eggleston+performs+the+high+bar+routine+against+Ohio+State+at+Huff+Hall+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+26rd%2C+2014.
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Illini of the Week Feb.4: Chandler Eggleston

Chandler Eggleston performs the high bar routine against Ohio State at Huff Hall on Sunday, Jan. 26rd, 2014.

Chandler Eggleston performs the high bar routine against Ohio State at Huff Hall on Sunday, Jan. 26rd, 2014.

Folake Osibodu/The Daily Illini

Chandler Eggleston performs the high bar routine against Ohio State at Huff Hall on Sunday, Jan. 26rd, 2014.

Folake Osibodu/The Daily Illini

Folake Osibodu/The Daily Illini

Chandler Eggleston performs the high bar routine against Ohio State at Huff Hall on Sunday, Jan. 26rd, 2014.

By James Boyd

Editor’s note: The Daily Illini sports desk sits down each week and decides which Illinois athlete or coach is our Illini of the Week. Athletes and coaches are evaluated by individual performance and contribution to team success.

Chandler Egglestonch saluted the judges and went about his floor exercise routine as he usually does. Three tumbles in, he felt a pop.

On Jan. 6, 2015, the University announced the All-American ruptured his patella tendon during an intrasquad meet. He opted to redshirt his sophomore season and began the rehabilitation process.

“There were definitely days, way into the rehab, where it just didn’t seem like things were changing,” Eggleston said. “I just didn’t want to do it.”

Watching team practice as he lay on the training table at Kenney Gym, Eggleston missed the sport more than he thought he would.

Now, he sports a lengthy scar on his right knee — a permanent reminder of his long layoff.

In his return season. Eggleston has led the way in many of the Illini’s wins. The sophomore won the floor and vault titles this past weekend against Penn State — the team that edged Illinois by 0.6 points last year at the Big Ten Championships while Eggleston watched on the sideline.

“He has unparalleled talent,” head coach Justin Spring said. “And he picked up right where he left off, no problem.”(We lost by) 0.6 at Big Tens, Chandler would’ve given us three points (toward) the championship. Done. No problem.”

Spring had Eggleston at his disposable this time around against the Nittany Lions, but Illinois fell to Penn State, 430.200- 429.200, despite Eggleston’s performance.

Regardless of the result, Eggleston’s performance contributed in keeping the meet close until the last event. His 15.050 on vault was a meet high. He is averaging 15.075 on vault and 15.275 on floor exercise over the past two weeks.

“It feels good to get some titles under my belt,” Eggleston said. “But (the loss) doesn’t sit well with me.”

Eggleston revamped his high bar and parallel bars routines during his rehab stint. The sophomore is yet to win a title in those events this season, but Spring thinks Eggleston can eventually compete for a national title on each apparatus.

Eggleston has five more meets and the Big Ten Championships to fine tune his routines before he can compete for those national titles.

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