2008 Olympic team bronze-medalist Justin Spring is the number-two Illini athlete of the decade according to The Daily Illini, the University of Illinois newspaper. Three gymnasts made the publication’s top 20 ranking of Illini athletes of the decade (from 2000-2009). Paul Ruggeri and Wes Haagensen made the list along with Spring.
Spring, a member of the Illini men’s gymnastics team from 2003-2006, is a 12-time all-American and a four-time individual NCAA champion. He helped the U.S. men’s team earn an Olympic bronze medal in Beijing in 2008. Now retired, Spring is the associate head coach at Illinois.
Current Illini team member Ruggeri was eighth on the Illini of the decade list. The seven-time all-American and a three-time individual NCAA champion is only a junior. He was named to his first U.S. Men’s National Team in February 2010. Ruggeri is from Manlius, N.Y.
2009 World-team member Haagensen, who was ranked 18, competed for the Illini from 2005-08. He was a seven-time all-American and the 2007 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. Haagensen currenly trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
For the complete top 20 list or to read all three stories, go to DailyIllini.com.