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Four Illini win individual gymnastics titles

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Four Illinois gymnasts took home first place in their events at the Big Ten Individual Championships at the State Farm Center on Saturday.

Connor McCool tied for the top spot on the floor while freshman Brandon Dang dominated on pommel horse. All-American Ashton Anaya also took home his third straight rings title. All three events happened simultaneously, meaning Illinois started the event three-for-three. That wasn’t all either as Amari Sewell got the top score on vault to ensure the Illini had the most winners of any team.

“They came back and told us they weren’t gonna break the tie, we were gonna split the medal, that’s awesome,” McCool said. “Really just excited that it paid off for me today and I was able to go out and do a good performance with three other champions. So exciting, what a great environment here at State Farm. Couldn’t be happier.”

“There were some rough parts but I was able to work through it nicely and have a good dismount at the end so I’m really proud of that,” Big Ten Freshman of the Year Brandon Dang said.

“I wanted it really bad,” Anaya said. “It was a little scary honestly I didn’t know if I would get it but I worked really hard the whole year and it paid off and came through.”

“Just having the ability to dream on with [head coach Daniel Ribeiro] is a blessing already,” Sewell said. “The fact that another dream came true beyond my wildest imagination is amazing.”

The NCAA Championships Selection Show is Tuesday before qualifiers in Columbus begin on April 19.

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