Illinois Athletics

CHICAGO - Fourth-ranked Illinois opened its season on a winning note, as the squad captured its second consecutive team title at the Windy City Invitational.

Illinois tallied an overall team score of 355.400 to top four other top-10 teams. Illini individuals claimed the top spot on five of six events to defeat defending national champion No. 2 Michigan (346.100) along with No. 8 Minnesota (340.700), No. 6 Ohio State (339.800), No. 10 Iowa (332.800) and host No. 12 UIC (327.300).

"This was a great start to the year," head coach Justin Spring said. "Our goal this season is to be the most consistent team and best executed and it was great to see the guys already hitting their routines consistently. I see unbelievable fight in this team and they have nowhere to go but up. We're in a great place right now."

Leading the way for the Illini were seniors Paul Ruggeri and Chad Wiest, who each claimed two first-place finishes. Ruggeri claimed the top spot in the all-around (88.900) and on high bar (15.800), while Wiest won on floor (16.000) and vault with a career-high score of 15.900. Additionally, junior C.J. Padera captured a first-place finish on parallel bars with a career-best score of 15.200.

Several Illini posted second-place finishes on the night, including junior Tyler Mizoguchi in the all-around (88.200) and on parallel bars (14.900), Ruggeri on floor (15.300), senior Daniel Ribeiro on pommel horse (15.300) and junior Anthony Sacramento on rings (15.000).

Also contributing was freshman Jordan Valdez, who tied for third on high bar (14.300) with Mizoguchi in his collegiate debut on the event, while Mizoguchi placed fourth on floor and tied for fifth on vault (15.700) with teammates Ruggeri and sophomore Yoshi Mori.

As a team, Illinois posted the top score on five of six events, including on floor (60.900), pommel horse (57.200), vault (63.000), parallel bars (59.300) and high bar (58.300), to help claim the team title.