Men's Gymnastics Elite Collide At Windy City Invitational
Jan. 15, 2011
CHICAGO - The UIC men's gymnastics team opened the 2011 season against some of the toughest competition on Saturday evening, hosting the 41st annual Windy City Invitational at the Physical Education Building.
"I was pretty happy with tonight," said first year head coach Charley Nelson on the Flames lid-lifter for the 2011 campaign. "I knew that we were going to have some rough spots with some injuries on the roster, but we're certainly at a point where we are right in line with where we want to be in regards to our ECAC competition. That is always the goal; to win the conference title. From there, we want to compete with the Big Ten schools, which is what we did tonight."
"Overall, I was really happy with the guys," said Nelson. "They got out there, they committed to it and went with it. The game plan that I asked them to follow? They stuck to it. We kept our head up and held our own with the solid competition here."
Youth also prevailed for the Flames as freshmen Lukasz Adamczyk and Joseph Hodges both made their debut Saturday evening, with Hodges leading the Flames in the all-around competition, placing fifth with an 82.300 tally.
"Hodges had may have had the best freshman meet UIC has seen at the Windy City in quite some time," said Nelson on the Webster, N.Y. native. "He went out there and went six-for-six. We can expect some great things from that kid."
Prior to the start of the competition, senior captain Kamimura was presented the Edward J. Saleh Memorial Award, an honor anointed upon a UIC gymnast who excels both in the classroom and the gym.
Former head coach "CJ" Johnson was also honored before competition got underway. The veteran coach of 36 years retired in the summer of 2010, and received an ovation as a banner listing his career accomplishments was unfurled from the rafters of the PEB. Johnson is now serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the Flames.
Illinois claimed the six-team invitational crown with a final score of 355.400 points, followed by defending NCAA champion Michigan (346.100) and Minnesota (340.700). Ohio State (339.800), Iowa (332.800) and host UIC (327.300) rounded out the team competition.
The Flames return to action next weekend on the road at Iowa, facing the Hawkeyes in Iowa City at 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 22.