CHICAGO -- Thanks to standout performances from three freshmen making their collegiate debuts, Illinois opened its season with a 413.100-393.450 victory against Illinois-Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Despite using a scaled-back lineup in the opener, six Orange and Blue gymnasts captured event titles, while freshman Chandler Eggleston led the way with a win in floor exercise and on parallel bars.
Illinois started the day on pommel horse, sweeping the top-five spots individually to post a team score of 68.900. Sophomore Logan Bradley took the title with a 14.150. Bradley was followed by senior Chad Mason in second with a 14.000, freshman Matt Foster in third with a 13.700, sophomore Jacob Tilsley in fourth with a 13.650 and freshman Tom Gibbs in fifth with a 13.400.
In the second rotation, the Illini notched a 68.500 on floor and took the top-two spots. Eggleston earned his first event title with a score of 15.00. Fellow newcomer Matt Foster placed second with 14.200.
On vault, Illinois secured a 71.250, led again by Eggleston, who placed first with a 15.250. Reigning Big Ten and NCAA champion Fred Hartville took second with a score of 14.750.
In the following rotation, the Illini swept the top five on rings, combining for a team score of 71.450. Junior Mike Wilner won his eighth rings title with a 15.400, placing him in the top-10 all-time record-holders. Jordan Valdez took second with a 14.450, followed by Cameron Rogers (14.250), Gibbs (13.850) and Doug Blanton (13.500) in third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively.
On high bar, Illinois claimed two of the top-three spots and totaled a team score of 64.300. Valdez won the title with a 14.350, followed by Eggleston who took third with a score of 13.550.
Illinois ended with a 68.700 on parallel bars, paced by Rogers, who placed first with a 14.450. Gibbs came in a close second with 14.250.
Gibbs won the all-around with a score of 82.550 after placing in the top five of five events.