staff, December 14, 2011

( Entering its first season as a member of the Big Ten, Nebraska has been selected by the conference?s coaches as the preseason favorite in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches? Poll. The Huskers won the Big 12 Championship a season ago and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. Defending Big Ten Champion Michigan follows Nebraska in second, while Penn State, Ohio State and Illinois round out the top five. Iowa stands in sixth in the poll, followed by Minnesota in seventh and Michigan State in eighth.

The Big Ten also announced its 2012 Gymnasts to Watch List, with four 2011 All-Americans and eight All-Conference honorees highlighting the list. Illinois senior Kelsey Joannides and junior Alina Weinstein, Michigan junior Katie Zurales and Nebraska junior Janelle Giblin picked up All-America laurels a season ago, while Joannides and Giblin earned All-Conference honors as well.

Iowa senior Jessa Hansen, Ohio State junior Colleen Dean and sophomore Sarah Miller and Penn State junior Sharaya Musser were first-team All-Big Ten honorees in 2011, while Minnesota sophomore Kayla Slechta and Penn State junior Madison Merriam took home second-team accolades.

Minnesota junior Shannon Golich joins the group of upperclassmen on the list, while five underclassmen have been selected as gymnasts to watch. Iowa freshman Jessica Morreale, Michigan freshman Sachi Sugiyama, Michigan State freshman Alina Cartwright and sophomore Taira Neal, and Nebraska freshman Jessie DeZiel round out the list.

1. Nebraska
2. Michigan
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
5. Illinois
6. Iowa
7. Minnesota
8. Michigan State

Kelsey Joannides, Sr., Illinois
Alina Weinstein, Jr., Illinois
Jessa Hansen, Sr., Iowa
Jessica Morreale, Fr., Iowa
Sachi Sugiyama, Fr., Michigan
Katie Zurales, Jr., Michigan
Alina Cartwright, Fr., Michigan State
Taira Neal, So., Michigan State
Shannon Golich, Jr., Minnesota
Kayla Slechta, So., Minnesota
Jessie DeZiel, Fr., Nebraska
Janelle Giblin, Jr., Nebraska
Colleen Dean, Jr., Ohio State
Sarah Miller, So., Ohio State
Madison Merriam, Jr., Penn State
Sharaya Musser, Jr., Penn State

Illinois men tabbed to win Big Ten title

Illinois has earned the top spot in the Big Ten Men?s Gymnastics Preseason Coaches? Poll, the conference office announced on Wednesday. The Fighting Illini stand atop the poll after winning their third consecutive Big Ten Championship a season ago and placing third at the NCAA Championships. Michigan followed at No. 2 in the poll, while Penn State rounded out the top three. Ohio State ranked fourth, followed by Minnesota in fifth, Nebraska in sixth and Iowa in seventh.

The Big Ten also announced its 2012 Gymnasts to Watch List, with two 2011 individual NCAA champions headlining the list. Illinois senior Tyler Mizoguchi earned the national crown on parallel bars, while Michigan sophomore Sam Mikulak, the defending Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year, claimed the all-around title. Three All-Big Ten performers from a season ago also appear on the list, as Minnesota?s Russell Dabritz and DJ Repp and Ohio State?s Kris Done earned All-Conference honors last year.

Iowa juniors Javier Balboa and Matt McGrath, Nebraska senior Andreas Hofer and Penn State junior Felix Aronovich round out the group of upperclassmen on the list.

Several underclassmen have been tabbed gymnasts to watch, as Illinois freshman C.J. Maestas, Michigan freshman Adrian de los Angeles, Nebraska sophomore Wyatt Aycock, Ohio State sophomore Misha Koudinov and Penn State freshman Craig Hernandez decorate the list.

1. Illinois
2. Michigan
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
5. Minnesota
6. Nebraska
7. Iowa

C.J. Maestas, Fr., Illinois
Tyler Mizoguchi, Sr., Illinois
Javier Balboa, Jr., Iowa
Matt McGrath, Jr., Iowa
Adrian de los Angeles, Fr., Michigan
Sam Mikulak, So., Michigan
Russell Dabritz, Sr., Minnesota
DJ Repp, Sr., Minnesota
Wyatt Aycock, So., Nebraska
Andreas Hofer, Sr., Nebraska
Kris Done, So., Ohio State
Misha Koudinov, So., Ohio State
Felix Aronovich, Jr., Penn State
Craig Hernandez, Fr., Penn State