CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The Illinois men’s gymnastics championships are back in Champaign for the first time since 2004 and the Illini are in the running for a team title. To do it, they’ll have to take down No. 1 ranked ndefeated Oklahoma, the four-time defending national champion. The Sooners were nearly taken down by Stanford earlier this season, a team the Illini beat.
“It’s gonna be a great match,” Illinois head coach Justin Spring said. “I think Oklahoma certainly is the team that’s favored but it’s also theirs to lose. They’ve had an unbeliveable career, but in my opinion I like the story of the underdog with nothing to lose, coming out and laying down the line in front of our home crowd, I think we’ve got the talent and start value to contend with them, we just need to perform.”
“If you do what you do in practice, you’re gonna do what you do in the meet right? So if you practice well, and you’re hitting routines and everything is going right, it should go like that in the meet so you just got to take that mindset from the gym and bring that here, and evertyhing should go the way it should,” Illinois freshman Michael Fletcher said.
Illinois is paired with the Sooners and four other teams in the preliminary round Friday night starting at 7 p.m. The top three teams advance to the finals on Saturday night at 6 p.m.