Illini national champion ready for new challenge

Sports

CHAMPAIGN — Brandon Ngai already has a national title, so what’s left than to take on a fellow Illini.  The junior pommel horse specialist has his eyes on his coach.

“Within collegiate gymnastics, to be a three-time National Champion and beat, basically, my coach Dan Ribeiro, who was a two-time national champion,” Ngai said
 
Going head-to-head with your coach?
 
“There’s no reason why he can’t do it this year and next year,” Ribeiro said.  “That’s my goal.”
 
“I just think it’s a fun goal to try and one-up him there,” Ngai added. 
 
Interesting idea considering Ngai has only been working to one-up himself. 
 
“Someone told me early on after our team won in ’12, ‘Nothing helps failure like success,'” Illinois head coach Justin Spring said.  “In other words, after a great success it’s easy to get complacent, cut corners or whatever and then all of the sudden you’re failing at your objectives.  Honestly, I didn’t see that from Brandon.  Over the summer he continued to try to upgrade and push himself to be even better of a pommel horse guy.”
 
Now a veteran on the team, Ngai says he won’t fix what isn’t broken. 
 
“I like to try and keep things the same,” the California said.  “That’s I think one of the keys to my consistency in competition and what not, is just kind of keeping everything the same as I would in practice at a competition.”
 
“Brandon’s a very unique individual,” added Spring.  “Brandon’s push is really to be the best that he can be.”
 
And so far, his best is the best.

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