Illinois men’s gymnastics places 4th in NCAA Championships

The No. 5 Illinois men’s gymnastics team placed fourth in the NCAA Championships on Friday.

The Illini put up a valiant effort, scoring 435.350. Michigan won the title. Oklahoma finished second and Stanford took third. Michigan, the defending champion, scored a 445.050 in the winning effort.

Illinois went into the final event in third place, but was unable to hold on, dropping behind Stanford by 0.95. Two untimely missteps on pommel horse, which has been one of the Illini’s most consistent events, hurt the team’s chances.

Junior Jordan Valdez led the Illini, placing first on the horizontal bar with a 15.200 and sixth on parallel bars with a 15.200.

On the still rings, sophomore C.J. Maestas placed third with a 15.300 and junior Mike Wilner placed fifth with a 15.000. Maestas also placed fifth on floor with a 15.350.

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    The Illini made a rapid comeback toward the end of the event, but were unable to finish strong on pommel horse. Despite not placing in the top three, Illinois defeated Ohio State and Penn State, who scored 433.500 and 429.800, respectively.

    The top 10 athletes on each apparatus qualified for the individual finals, which will be held Saturday. The Illini will be represented by Maestas on floor and rings, freshman Chandler Eggleston on floor and vault, and Valdez on high bar and parallel bar. Sophomore Logan Bradley and senior Chad Mason both qualified on pommel horse. Wilner also will advance on rings.

    Kieran can be reached ?[email protected].