CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — One word has manifested itself to describe the Illinois men’s gymnastics season: Consistency.

“Once we realized that these guys who had struggled under pressure had evolved, we realized we had a shot at doing some really great things this year,” Illinois first year head coach Daniel Ribeiro said. “It ended up being the most consistent year we ever had.”

To keep that consistency, the strategy for the Illini this season has been more easily repeatable routines.

“I would say this team has the lowest start value potential, meaning the skills we’re actually doing are not as high as they’ve been in the past years,” added Ribeiro.

“We’re not doing as difficult of routines, we’re trying to really execute them perfectly,” said Illinois gymnast Ian Skirkey. “Which is easier probably mentally to do when you don’t have as technical moves to do.”

“I do a couple of the more difficult skills, it was just that much more work I knew I needed to get to the level of consistency guys who are going for an easier set would ge to,” Illinois gymnast Connor McCool said.

Even with a 4th place finish at the Big Ten Championships, posting their second highest score of the season left the Illini with confidence going into the NCAA Championships once again.

“We knocked it out of the park with our consistency, I think we’re going to do that same thing again, if not better,” Illinois gymnast Ashton Anaya said.

“This was the first time in my career where we finished fourth place in Big Tens, and I wasn’t disappointed,” said Ribeiro, a longtime Illini assistant coach before getting promoted earlier this year. “That doesn’t mean I’m not dissatisfied. We will always be fighting to get first place, and that is how it’s going to be at NCAAs.”

Illinois has qualified for the NCAA Finals every year since 2015, and will look to make it eight straight with another consistent performance on Saturday.