CHAMPAIGN — Starting with the first rotation of the Big Ten Championships tonight, No. 3 Illinois showed why it’s the highest-ranked team in the conference— defeating the No. 6 Michigan men’s gymnastics team by 2.8 points.

But freshman Sam Mikulak took the All-Around title, becoming the first Wolverine freshman to do so since 1975 and the first Big Ten gymnast since 1994.

The Wolverines’ first two rotations of the meet were on the parallel bars and high bar — normally their two best rotations. But due to some miscues on both events, Michigan fell behind early to the Fighting Illini.

And entering the final rotation of the night, the Wolverines trailed No. 5 Penn State by seven. Historically, the vault is the highest-scoring event, which allowed Michigan to surpass the Nittany Lions and finish as the runner up.

Without some of the early miscues, the Wolverines may have had a chance to come back late in the competition because Illinois also had some miscues late in the competition.

Senior Chris Cameron — the returning Big Ten Gymnast of the year and All-Around Champion, was noticeably absent from the lineup.

Top performers for Michigan will compete tomorrow night for the individual event titles.

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