Author: Logan Bradley

#NCAAMGym Week 11 Recap

Believe it or not, we now have just one more weekend full of non-postseason gymnastics. That slate will be kicked off with the USAG Nationals on March 29-30 (though there will still be a couple of regular season meets with UIC @ Michigan and California @ Stanford).

What that means is a B1G regular season champion will be crowned this coming weekend! We’ll get more into the shifts in those standings as we break down each meet from last weekend. First, the One Thing We Learned

Oklahoma’s Historic Run

Okay, so we didn’t necessarily learn about this over the weekend, we were merely reminded of it. The Sooners’ victory over Navy cemented the program’s place in not just the NCAA men’s gymnastics history books, but the entire collegiate sports landscape’s history books.

I don’t care if you have 4 teams in your sport or 400. Winning 111 straight meets/games/matches is outstanding and not something that happens coincidentally. I’m confident in saying that we haven’t seen the end of Oklahoma’s streak, though regardless of when it ends, a gigantic hats off to every single gymnast and coach that has been a part of it.

Oklahoma @ Navy

Oklahoma topped Navy 416.7-400.6 in Annapolis last Saturday to secure their 111th-straight victory.

OU stood out on floor, vault and high bar but had struggles on horse, the only event they forfeited to Navy. Earning titles for the Sooners were Gage Dyer (MPSF Gymnast of the Week) on floor and high bar, Yul Moldauer on horse, rings and p-bars, as well as Matt Wenske/Vitaliy Guimaraes on vault.

Navy getting back above the 400 mark was a win in itself — they haven’t crossed that threshold since Feb. 9 (they hit 400 flat on March 1). It shows that the Midshipmen are finally starting to hit their stride in the five-up, five-count portion of the season.

Highlights for Navy included outscoring OU on horse with Jake Carlson and Ryan Orce on the podium, Lucas Beltran’s solid floor showing, and Max Gerber and Cash Buske just missing the podium.

Navy is off until the ECAC Championships on April 6. OU goes up against Cal and UIC in Berkeley on Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Illinois/Michigan @ Penn State

A meet with tremendous implications resulted in Michigan solidifying themselves as the favorites to win the Big Ten regular season title.

The Wolverines trailed both Penn State and Illinois through five events until a monster vault rotation (71.90) launched them to the top of the leaderboard. Kevin Penev (14.50), Marty Strech (14.40) and Jacob Moore (14.250) all stuck their vaults. Meanwhile, Anthony McCallum capped off the rotation with his signature tsuk double pike (14.85) to earn him the event title, and Michigan the win.

Cameron Bock also had a bounce back day after he struggled last week against Iowa. Bock took home both the p-bars (13.70) and high bar (14.50) titles. It is clear that Michigan is a different animal when the sophomore is in form.

This win is a big deal as Michigan now moves to 4-1 in the Big Ten and is joined by Iowa as the only one-loss teams. Iowa will face both Penn State and Minnesota this coming week and Michigan will head to Nebraska.  If both teams are undefeated in their final weekend, they will each take a share of the title.

Head Coach Kurt Golder believes that his team can finish what they started. “We just have to go out to Nebraska and get the job done. Of course, the last two NCAA Championships they have beaten us, we just gotta be sharp when we go out there.”

Penn State came up just over a point and a half short of Michigan. Although the Nittany Lions are likely disappointed with the outcome, they proved they can hang with the top teams in the Big Ten.  They counted just three falls in the competition, compared to Michigan’s two, and won three events on the day (PH, SR, HB). 

Penn State did their usual thing on pommel horse (66.60) and we finally got a head-to-head battle between Michael Paradise and Stephen Nedoroscik. Both of them did arguably their best sets of the season but Paradise (14.70) came up just short of Nedoroscik (14.85).

We already knew what Penn State can do on pommel horse and rings, but they showed signs of life on some other events. Sam Zakutney (14.65) and Brennan Pantazis (14.60) placed second and third on vault, an event PSU has been very weak on the past few years. Senior Michael Burns had his best competition of the year, including a second place finish on high bar (14.15) to give Penn State their highest team total on that event.

The day did not go as planned for a very good Illini team, but there were still some highlights. Alex Diab seems completely untouchable on rings where he grabbed another title with a 14.75 performance. Michael Fletcher continued his tour as one of the best freshman in the country while tallying a second place finish on p-bars (13.45).

The final title on the day for Illinois was won by Clay Stephens with his 14.7 floor set. Unfortunately, Stephens suffered an apparent knee injury later in the day on vault. This is something we never want to see happen to anybody, let alone someone of his stature and character. Stephens was voted a team captain after spending just one semester with the team.  Illinois will fight on and hope for a speedy recovery for their talented leader. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Air Force @ Minnesota

Minnesota breezed past the Air Force Falcons 402.05-387.35 during a dual meet in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Coming off a big victory over Ohio State, the Gophers had a somewhat unbalanced day, with mistakes in strange spots and big highlights in others. That’s partly due to the fact that they rested some of their top guys, such as Shane Wiskus and Shaun Herzog, and gave others a crack at a lineup spot.

Air Force was keeping pace with Minnesota at the halfway point after their solid vault rotation and a measly rings performance from the Gophers. The Falcons also scored a 66.4 on rings while Minnesota put up just a 63.15, a season-low. But Minnesota’s vault juiced them back up, in large part due to freshman Garrett Kasiski’s (NCAA/B1G Rookie of the Week) stuck handspring double-front — the Gophers took over from there.

After that, the Falcons had real struggles, scoring just a 62.7 on high bar and a 60.4 on p-bars, a season-low. Highlights for Air Force included a horse and rings title for Ethan Esval and solid performances from Frankie Valentin, Lukas Texeira and Christian Kalustian.

Minnesota had team titles on every event except rings. Earning titles for Minnesota were Eric Nakamura on floor, Vitali Kan on pommels, Kasiski on vault, and Shane Wiskus on p-bars and high bar. Wiskus (NCAA/B1G Gymnast of the Week) had quite a day despite resting on a couple events, posting a 14.9 on p-bars and a 14.4 on high bar — both were season-highs for the sophomore.

The Gophers will be back to full strength next weekend when they face Penn State and Iowa at home. While the odds are long, each team will in fact be fighting for a Big Ten regular season championship.

The Falcons are home against Washington on Saturday. They’re fighting for a spot at the NCAA Championships. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Ohio State @ Iowa

Stay hot, Hawkeyes. On Saturday afternoon in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes enjoyed a celebration of their seniors while simultaneously taking down yet another B1G opponent in Ohio State.

With the win, Iowa has now put themselves in a position of potentially winning the B1G regular season crown if they can defeat Penn State and Minnesota this weekend and also have Michigan lose to Nebraska.

Regardless of whether that happens, Iowa has been the biggest surprise of 2019. Now — on to what happened this weekend.

Full disclosure, this wasn’t the Hawkeyes’ best performance. They endured a drop off in scoring on five of six events from the week prior while being thoroughly outdone by the Buckeyes on PH and VT. Then again, a win is a win is a win.

The highlight performance from this one came from Nick Merryman. The junior snagged a pair of event titles on PB (tied with teammate Jake Brodarzon) and HB — capitalizing on a pair of events that Ohio State severely struggled on. Merryman keeps things fairly simple, difficulty-wise, but there aren’t many gymnasts across the NCAA who are more enjoyable to watch given the cleanliness of his gymnastics.

Bennet Huang and Evan Davis also both stepped up with rock-solid days, contributing great scores on four events each.

I was quite impressed with Ohio State through four events. They limited mistakes on PH and absolutely crushed VT, claiming four of the top-five spots on the event. That rotation, specifically, was highlighted by three stuck landings coming from Joey Bonnano, Alec Yoder and Dexter Roettker.

Unfortunately, PB and HB happened. The Buckeyes bottomed out with season-low team scores on both — including a 59.95 on high bar. Certainly Yoder’s presence on the latter event would help, but even with him, there’s no team in the NCAA that can tread water while having to deal with counting a pair of 10’s anywhere in their team score.

Ohio State’s event winners were Jesse Tyndall on FX, Yoder on PH, Max Andryuschenko on SR as well as Yoder and Bonnano on VT. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Army, Springfield and Temple @ William & Mary

In what turned out being a two-team battle, Army was able to hang on to take down their host, William & Mary, by just over two points.

I think we now know that Army is just about a mid-390 team with the potential to hit 400 with a great day. All-arounders Matt Davis (79.75) and Cole Casanova (79.15) snagged the 1-2 spots for the day. Davis was able to win FX while Casanova took home a win on PB.

One Black Knight gymnast of note from the day was Erik Del Cid. The junior grabbed a pair of top-two finishes on FX and VT, including an event title on the latter event.

Army will now focus their attention on USAG Nationals and ECAC Championships, a pair of postseason meets that they should find themselves in heavy contention for.

Despite being winners of three events (FX, VT, HB), William & Mary fell short of taking down their ECAC rival. Their horse team also came to play as the Tribe locked up the top-three spots there with Spencer Schrandt finding himself in the top spot.

David Watkins continued his fantastic 2019 season with another title on SR — this one of the 13.75 variety. Now ranked no. 8 in the NCAA — Watkins will qualify with ease to NCAA’s and should have a shot at becoming an All-American. Also winning a title was David Allen on HB.

Springfield boasted a trio of top-three finishes this weekend. Those came from Stephen Lewis (AA- 3rd), Jannik Haas (PB – 3rd) and Noah Candocia (VT – 2nd).

The Temple Owls wrapped things up with a pair of top-ten event finishes themselves with Evan Salters on PB and Taden Thurber on HB. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

#NCAAMGym Week 10 Power Rankings

Every week we’ll release a “Power Rankings,” aiming to provide a fluid picture of how each team across the NCAA is doing at the moment. The idea is to try not to focus too much on scores and look more at the current state of the team. The (+) or (-) next to each team’s name relates to how far they rose or fell from last week’s rankings.

This year’s power rankings are an average based off of the individual rankings of five individuals:

  • Logan Bradley (former Illinois gymnast)
  • Ben Cooperman (former Penn State gymnast)
  • Alex Wittenberg (former Minnesota gymnast)
  • Andrew Misiolek (former Stanford gymnast)
  • Jessica Frankl (CGA gymnastics expert/photographer)

To see a list of each individual’s rankings, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (-)

The Sooners wrapped up their 2019 home slate this past weekend and honored their seniors who competed for the final time in McCasland Field House. What made the send-off out of the ordinary was that this class has never lost a meet in their careers as Sooners. The Oklahoma seniors will wrap up their season trying to finish what they started. The only thing standing in the way: a hungry Stanford team and a powerful Big Ten Conference. While they are far and away the favorites, OU is going to have to bring their A game to keep the streak alive into 2020. — Ben Cooperman

2. Illinois Fighting Illini (+2)

Coming off an upset win over Stanford, Illinois again impressed against OU in Norman. Although they were beat by 10 points, the Illini looked as solid as they did at home the week before. That provided a glimpse into the Illini’s postseason potential — where other teams have stumbled against big opponents, Illinois has remained composed. They’ll be tested again this weekend during a Big Ten battle against Michigan and Penn State. They’re the favorite, but as we’ve seen this season, it’s anyone’s game. — Alex Wittenberg

3. Stanford Cardinal (-1)

For the first time all season, Stanford has relinquished their No. 2 position in the power rankings. They don’t fall far — just one spot — but I remain eager to see them at NCAA Championships. Interestingly enough, the Cardinal ranks No. 1 on more events than any team in the country: floor exercise, still rings, parallel bars and high bar. — Logan Bradley

4. Michigan Wolverines (-1)

The Wolverines’ loss this past weekend to the Hawkeyes said more about Iowa’s persistence than it did Michigan’s ability. While this defeat certainly does not help them in their pursuit of a regular season championship, they are still one of the best teams in the country. Michigan will face a big test this weekend as they head to Pennsylvania to take on Penn State and Illinois. — Ben Cooperman

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)

Minnesota had a big last-minute victory over Ohio State last weekend — a much-needed show of strength for the Gophers, who have had ups and downs this season. Minnesota is one of the teams who’s been hard to place in the rankings, but what’s been evident is that when Shane Wiskus is on, his team is noticeably more formidable. The Gophers are home this weekend against Air Force. That meet won’t tell us much, but we will gain some insight into the status of Minnesota’s rivals. — Alex Wittenberg

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)

Penn State has been somewhat inconsistent this season. From a 395 to a 410 to a 402 within one month — they can be hard to peg. One thing that isn’t hard to notice is their No. 1 ranking on PH. If you want to key in on teams that attain postseason success, it’s those that can hit on the hardest (maybe I’m biased) event. — Logan Bradley

7. Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)

After spending the entire season being looked down upon, Iowa made a huge statement taking out a strong Michigan team in the biggest upset of the year. In hindsight, should we really have been that surprised? The Hawkeyes have been arguably the most consistent team in the Big Ten this year and feature a standout all-arounder in Bennet Huang. In a season where it seems anyone has a shot to lift the Big Ten trophy in April, why can’t it be them? — Ben Cooperman

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-1)

Nebraska came away from last weekend’s Big Ten matchup against Minnesota and Ohio State in last place, dropping to a 1-4 record in the Big Ten. Anton Stephenson continued to shine, but meager performances on pommels and p-bars put the Huskers out of contention. Nebraska has this weekend off. — Alex Wittenberg

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)

You can see Ohio State’s confidence building. Their average over the last two competitions (409.35) has been vastly different than that of their first three (398.9). Now, it will remain to be seen as to whether it’s been a matter of competing in the comforts of their own home, or if this young team really has turned a legitimate corner. See how nicely I set up their road date with a surging Iowa team this weekend? — Logan Bradley

10. California Golden Bears (-)

The Bears took a trip up north to take on a surging Washington team and were able to earn a season high 405.50. The Darren WongAaron Mah duo has arguably the biggest impact of any two guys on a single team outside of maybe Army’s tandem of Cole Casanova and Matt Davis. The Bears will have the week off as they rest in preparation to host Oklahoma and UIC on March 23r. — Ben Cooperman

11. Navy Midshipmen (-)

Navy placed second in a five-way meet at Arizona State last weekend. Their 390.2, though, made for Navy’s second consecutive weekend with disappointing results — after peaking at 408.5 in early February, Navy hasn’t hit above 400 again. The Midshipmen are home against OU this weekend. They won’t be aiming to win, but they can use the meet to get themselves back above that 400 mark. — Alex Wittenberg

12. Army Black Knights (-)

It’s becoming crunch-time for the Black Knights. Sitting right on the bubble of an NCAA Championship berth as a team, Army stepped up with a 395 at home against Springfield. As we’ve mentioned numerous times, much of their success at this point is going to fall onto the shoulders of Cole Casanova and Matt Davis. Davis, a rookie, has no doubt been the ECAC’s top freshman in 2019 as well as one of the best in the country, regardless of conference. — Logan Bradley

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

The Falcons’ weekend was a mixed bag, scoring a 392.50 at Stanford and a 377.25 at Arizona State. Regardless of this past weekend’s outcomes, Air Force will have to come out swinging in their final competitions of the year to earn a coveted spot at NCAA Championships. — Ben Cooperman

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (+1)

Arizona State placed third in their five-way meet at home last weekend, but their story is similar to Navy’s — they’re not scoring as well as they were earlier in the season. ASU needs to focus on getting back above 390. They’ll have to wait until the big show, though — they’re off until USAG Nationals on March 29. — Alex Wittenberg

15. William & Mary Tribe (-1)

Though it was a win, WK10 represented a large step back for William & Mary after three-straight weeks of 391+ gymnastics. They’re primed for a bounce-back this weekend with a golden opportunity at home against ECAC foes Springfield, Army and Temple. — Logan Bradley

16. Washington Huskies (+1)

After posting a season high 393.30, Washington jumps a spot moving to No. 16. They will take a week off before facing Air Force on March 23, as they look to build on their success. —Ben Cooperman

17. Springfield Pride (-1)

Springfield didn’t give Army too much trouble last weekend, falling to the Black Knights 395.35-373.3 in West Point. As is the story for a few other teams, Springfield hasn’t been able to keep up with the success they showed earlier this season, when they were above 380. They have another chance to get back in that range this weekend — they’re squaring off against Army, Temple and William & Mary in Williamsburg on Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

18. UIC Flames (-)

The Flames took a big step forward this week, just barely missing out on their first 370 of the season. Probably the biggest difference-maker in their success? Pommel horse. UIC put together their first score (61.7) of 58+ this season. Keep that up and they just might find themselves in the low-370’s. — Logan Bradley

#NCAAMGym Week 10 Recap

One month from now we’ll be talking about NCAA Championships. Maybe I sound like a broken record talking about how quick the season goes by, but it sure is true. By now, teams are rounding into form and we’re getting a better idea of what postseason lineups are going to look like. All-around gymnasts might still be fitting in one more weekend of rest, but for the most part, we’re seeing everybody at full strength.

Before we get into what happened during week ten, here’s the One Thing We Learned…

B1G Parity

At this point, you’d have a better chance at winning the Powerball than predicting who the top-five — let alone top-three — teams are going to be at the B1G Championships in Iowa City.

Sure, Illinois looks like a favorite, but would anyone really be that surprised if they weren’t atop the podium when all is said and done?

From top to bottom, the conference is producing parity that we haven’t seen in years. I could point to a variety of upsets that have happened so far this season, but none were as intriguing as Iowa taking out Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend (see full meet breakdown further below).

At the start of the season, Michigan was seen as one of the top teams in the conference (they still are), while Iowa was seen as a team that might be fighting for top-five consideration (they’re now pushing for title consideration).

Given the ever-changing and unstable condition of NCAA men’s gymnastics, I hope everyone can fully appreciate how awesome this season has been for all teams, but especially the B1G. We’re in for a fun final month.

Illinois @ Oklahoma

Oklahoma tamed their stiffest challenger so far this season on the way to a resounding Senior Day win and a new season-high.

The Sooners beat Illinois 425.7-415.7 thanks to huge performances from Yul Moldauer, Tanner Justus (MPSF Gymnast of the Week) and really the whole vault lineup.

The Illini put up a respectable fight. After leading two rotations in, Illinois’ rings and vault sealed their fate. Although the Illini performed well on the two events, their combined score (between the two events) was 6.1 less than OU’s. Still, Illinois got the closest of any team this season to OU in Norman, and they again had a performance that put them well within the NCAA podium picture.

That’s the biggest takeaway: Illinois had another solid meeting while their main Big Ten rival, Michigan, suffered a loss at home to Iowa. It stands to reason, then, that Illinois is now the team-to-beat in the Big Ten. Their win over Stanford looks a lot more legitimate now too.

Earning titles for the Illini were Michael Paradise on horse and Alex Diab on rings. They beat OU on horse as a team, and they put up huge season-highs on floor and high bar, where they scored a 72.1 and a 70.15, respectively. That high bar season-high is over three-and-a-half points better than their previous high of 66.6.

OU hit season-highs on floor, rings, p-bars and high bar. Earning titles were Moldauer on floor, vault, p-bars and in the all around and Levi Anderson on high bar. Also noteworthy was Justus’ all-around performance and Vitaliy Guimaraes’ surprise Yurchenko 2.5. Something similarly surprising, which came to my attention this weekend, is that OU has yet to hit 70 or above on p-bars — three other teams in the NCAA have. (In fairness, OU has been less than two tenths away from 70 a few times now.)

Illinois is up against Michigan and Penn State in State College on Saturday, and Oklahoma is at Navy. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Air Force @ Stanford

After suffering their first loss of the season, Stanford got right back to their winning ways with a 20+ point victory over Air Force.

Stanford posted their sixth straight score of 410+ as they continue to show how consistent they are. While it is not always fair to compare scores across the country, it is worth noting that the Cardinal are now ranked No. 1 in the country on four events (FX, SR, PB, HB) after their win over Air Force. Even more impressive, this latest showing was without Brody Malone.

Bryan Perla won another floor title with his 14.70 performance. Perla has emerged as someone who will very well be in the mix for a title come April and is currently ranked No. 3 in the country on this event. He also tallied a third place finish on vault (14.15).

Along with Perla, it seems the typical event winners for Stanford did it once again.  Joey RingerPH (13.65), Josiah EngSR (14.9), Connor LewisVT (14.70), Blake SunPB (14.95) and David JessenHB (14.10). The Cardinal have a big score at the back of every lineup.

Air Force visited Stanford as part of a two meet weekend and it was definitely the highlight. Lukas Texeira, who has been awesome this year on high bar, was just edged by Jessen. Texeira’s 14.05 moved him to No. 2 in the country on the event.

Frankie Valentin had a great day tallying a third place finish on rings (14.10) to go along with fifth place finishes on pommel horse (13.20) and high bar (12.80). It was a solid day overall for the Falcons, but they would like to be closer to the 400 mark as they wrap up the season. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Iowa @ Michigan

In the most talked about meet of the weekend, the Iowa Hawkeyes traveled to Ann Arbor to square off against No. 3 Michigan. Once the dust settled, Iowa came away with a razor-thin two-and-a-half tenth upset victory.

In speaking with Iowa head coach J.D. Reive at the beginning of the season, he made it clear that the team’s identity would be hitting cleanly. That of course means you might be sacrificing difficulty, but it seems to be working just fine. The Hawkeyes counted just three routines below a 13 — none of those three were lower than a 12.65.

They also had another key ingredient to a successful day on Saturday — a stud all-around performance. Bennet Huang led his team in a big way, securing a season-best 82.4. That performance included a meet-high 14.4 on VT.

A pair of other notable contributors for Iowa were Jake Brodarzon and Nicholas Merryman. Both competed on four events and neither of them posted anything lower than a 13.35.

The Hawkeyes had been having a stellar 2019 season prior to Saturday, but this upset should really open some eyes. If you have Iowa somewhere on your schedule the rest of the way, be careful, this isn’t the team you’re used to.

The Wolverines were winners of five events this weekend and still found themselves on the losing end in this one. When that happens it tells you two things: the meet was incredibly close and the losing side probably had to count a score in the 10-11 range. That was unfortunately the case for Michigan.

Despite the loss, I cannot say enough about how impressive Jacob Moore has been in the early stages of his NCAA career. His NCAA-high 15.3 on FX goes to show that he has not only All-American-level talent, but NCAA champion-level talent.

That was far from the only thing that Moore did on Saturday as he would go on to win the all-around with an 83.1. He added a runner-up finish on HB.

Other winners for the Wolverines were Mack Lasker on PH and Cameron Bock on SR and PB. The loss doesn’t do Michigan any favors in terms of their pursuit of a B1G regular season title, although it certainly doesn’t take them out of the running. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Minnesota/Nebraska @ Ohio State

This meet seemed all but over heading into the last event when the scoreboard shuffled leaving Minnesota on top over Ohio State and Nebraska.

Let’s get the judging out of the way first. The scoring was far better than the week before in Ohio, but it wasn’t perfect. If we can’t all agree on the execution scores of given routines, we can at least agree on difficulty scores on vault, right? Apparently not. Jake Bonnay did a nice kaz full (Start Value: 14.8) that was listed as starting from a 15.2. Justin Karstadt did a near perfect stuck (+.1) yurchenko double full (14.9 SV with the bonus) that received a 15.3 SV – much respect to the Minnesota coaching staff who requested the score be dropped four tenths. Bottom line: there is still some work to do.

After a tumultuous high bar rotation, Minnesota was down just under three points to Nebraska and more than five points to Ohio State. A stellar vault rotation to close out the meet resulted in a seven-and-a-half tenth margin of victory for the Gophers. They were led by Shane Wiskus’ (B1G Gymnast of the Week) second place vault that scored a 14.70. Karstadt’s aforementioned stuck double full sealed the deal (14.55).

Wiskus was spectacular in this one, scoring a career high 84.35 in the all-around. The peak of his performance came on high bar where he put up a clutch 14.35. Wiskus was joined by Karstadt and Shaun Herzog in the all-around.  This trio could do some serious damage come championship season.

A lack luster 63.00 high bar rotation from Ohio State was unable to catch Minnesota’s 71.85 on vault. While not the outcome they were hoping for, the second place finish showcased a steadily improving Buckeye team. Alec Yoder had they type of performance that we’ve come to expect from him, winning both pommel horse (14.70) and p-bars (14.55).

Vault was a highlight for Ohio State where they put up a season high 71.50.  They were led by Sean Neighbarger who tied with Wiskus for second place (14.70). Some of the freshman stepped up as well, including a 13.40 high bar set from Angel Leon that was good enough for third. Jesse Tyndall tied for third on floor with a 14.40.

The story for Nebraska was much the same as it was for Ohio State. Their 65.15 p-bars rotation to close out the competition left them in third place.  There were still some bright spots for the Cornhuskers. Anton Stephenson won both floor (14.60) and put up the highest score of the season on vault (15.10).

Griffin Kehler continues to show he is a top high bar guy in the country where he grabbed second place with a 13.85Evan Kriley has quietly been a rock for Nebraska in the pommel horse lineup all season; his 13.95 was good enough for a third place finish.

Minnesota left Columbus with two Big ten wins moving them to 2-2.  Ohio State picked up their second win and a loss moving them to 2-2 as well.  Nebraska now drops to 1-4. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Cal @ Washington

In a rare Sunday evening meet, the Golden Bears of Cal traveled to Washington and defeated the Huskies by a roughly twelve point margin.

For Cal, each and every team event score represented an increase from the week prior including a season-best 70.35 on FX.

In a fashion that we’ve become accustomed to, Darren Wong paced his team with an 82.7 in the all-around. That was good enough for a title, as was his performance on PH. Having one of the best seasons that we’ve seen from a Golden Bear gymnast in recent time, the Canadian now sits at No. 4 in the NCAA all-around rankings.

While everyone loves a good all-around score, let’s not forget about the other key piece to Cal’s puzzle, Aaron Mah. Also a fellow Canadian, Mah racked up four (FX, SR, PB, HB) individual event titles — he won every event he touched, with the exception of PH.

Another well-deserved shout-out goes to All-American Kyte Crigger who posted five scores of 13.5+.

Washington said heck with the mid-370 scores en route to a season-best (by nearly seventeen points) team score. Nathan Tsuji was the star of the day giving Wong a run for his money with an 81.65. Included in his day was a share of the FX title.

Meanwhile, Jacob Jarrett was the other Huskie event winner with this yurchenko double full. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Penn State/Navy/Air Force/NorCal United @ Arizona State

Penn State coasted to a 10+ point win at Arizona State last Saturday, beating the home team as well as Air Force, Navy and NorCal United.

PSU scored a 402.1 in a meet that was judged more tightly than usual at ASU. Navy was second with a 390.2, and Arizona State was third with a 384.65.

Air Force had a poor showing and didn’t challenge any of the teams with which they’re typically rivals. A 57.7 on horse and a 60.95 on p bars were the low-lights for the Falcons.

NorCal United came in fifth with a 282.0.

Penn State had the top team score on horse, rings, p-bars and high bar. Earning titles for the Nittany Lions were Brennan Pantazis on floor, Stephen Nedoroscik on horse, Parker Clayton on rings and Sam Zakutney on p-bars and high bar.

Navy’s Lucas Beltran (ECAC Specialist of the Week) stuck his handspring double-front on vault to earn himself a title. Jordan Williams of ASU won the all around with an 80.50.

Penn State is home against Illinois and Michigan on Saturday. Navy is home against OU on Saturday, and Air Force is at Minnesota on Sunday. ASU and NorCal United are off this weekend. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Springfield @ Army

Competing at home, Army took care of business with an easy win over ECAC rival Springfield.

This round of “Matthew Davis vs. Cole Casanova” went to the rookie by just a hair (three tenths), with Davis putting up an 81.1. His impressive first season continued as he added another FX title, as well as one on SR. Casanova, on the other hand, was the winner on PH. At this rate, it’s possible that these two lead Army directly to an ECAC conference title.

The two other Black Knights who brought home wins for themselves were Graham Shaw on VT and Rex Scott on HB.

It certainly was not the day that Springfield envisioned. Just six days removed from their second-highest score of the season, the Pride regressed on four events, resulting in their third lowest total of the year.

Despite the rough day, things went well on PB where Jannik Haas and Stephen Lewis went 1-2, respectively, resulting in the team’s third consecutive score in the 63’s on the event. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

William & Mary @ UIC

The Tribe took a trip to Chicago where they took down a surging UIC team.

William & Mary took a step back after going 390+ in three straight competitions. Their 381.60 was their second lowest score of the season. The Tribe still took five of six event titles with wins from Cutter FugettFX (13.50), David WatkinsSR (13.30), Colin LillieVT (14.30), Andrew Lyubovsky (ECAC Rookie of the Week) – PB (13.05), and David AllenHB (13.10).

UIC was unable to get the win but still showed tremendous improvement from their earlier season efforts. Their 369.25 was almost seven points higher than their previous top mark and their second straight meet of 360+.  Colin Schwartz took the pommel horse title with a 13.80 and Sam Montague took the all-around with a 74.75. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

#NCAAMGym Week 9 Power Rankings

Every week we’ll release a “Power Rankings,” aiming to provide a fluid picture of how each team across the NCAA is doing at the moment. The idea is to try not to focus too much on scores and look more at the current state of the team. The (+) or (-) next to each team’s name relates to how far they rose or fell from last week’s rankings.

This year’s power rankings are an average based off of the individual rankings of five individuals:

  • Logan Bradley (former Illinois gymnast)
  • Ben Cooperman (former Penn State gymnast)
  • Alex Wittenberg (former Minnesota gymnast)
  • Andrew Misiolek (former Stanford gymnast)
  • Jessica Frankl (CGA gymnastics expert/photographer)

To see a list of each individual’s rankings, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (-)

Yul Moldauer was out in Greensboro making history while his team was at home with the weekend off. The Sooners are back home this Saturday against Illinois, who’s coming off of a huge win over Stanford and Minnesota. —Alex Wittenberg

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

The pressure was on Stanford to perform at Illinois in their first competition of the season outside of the West Coast. It was not the result they were looking for, but coming within two points of a talented Illinois team is impressive. The Cardinal proved they are a legitimate 410+ team regardless of location. — Ben Cooperman

3. Michigan Wolverines (-)

Michigan did not compete this weekend and will need to be on their game at home against Iowa to remain ahead of a surging Illini team. — Logan Bradley

4. Illinois Fighting Illini (-)

In upsetting Stanford and beating Big Ten rival Minnesota, the Fighting Illini last Saturday showed they can take on the best of the best this season. But can they do the unthinkable and beat OU in Norman this Saturday? It isn’t likely, but even getting close would bode well for their chances against Michigan, the Illini’s biggest Big Ten rival at the moment, who put up a poor challenge to OU in Norman a few weeks ago. — Alex Wittenberg

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)

Yet another up and down meet for Penn State resulted in their first Big Ten loss of the season. This defeat sets the stage for an enticing competition March 16th when Illinois and Michigan come to State College, Pennsylvania to wrap up the season. Led by Sam Zakutney, who put up another monster all-around performance this past weekend, Penn State still has a shot at the regular season trophy if they can find a way to beat the Wolverines and Fighting Illini. — Ben Cooperman

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)

We’re over halfway through the season and I still don’t have a good feel for this Minnesota team. It’s a talented bunch, no doubt. One that has B1G-winning potential. We just might learn a little bit more as the Gophers travel to the proverbial Wild Wild West of judging, Columbus, this weekend. — Logan Bradley

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-)

After big wins over Illinois and Minnesota, Nebraska’s momentum sputtered out against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Huskers fell to Iowa 406.7-403.55 last Saturday. There were still highlights, though — freshman Charlie Giles, Anton Stephenson and Jake Bonnay each had a good showing. Now coming off of a loss, Nebraska faces a challenge this Friday in Columbus against Minnesota and Ohio State. Minnesota is reeling from a disappointing showing of their own, and Ohio is riding a high after having their best meet of the season by over 10 points. Every routine will matter on Friday. — Alex Wittenberg

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)

The Buckeyes coming in this far down the list after becoming just the fifth team to go 413+ this season may seem puzzling. Even more shocking than that, Ohio State shattered their previous season high by over 10 points. While this team is looking more refined than earlier in the season, the misleading score they put up this past weekend was courtesy of some inexplicably lenient judging. — Ben Cooperman

9. Iowa Hawkeyes (-1)

A B1G upset and Iowa drops in the power rankings? What a cruel world. Truthfully, there is a good case to be made for Iowa leapfrogging Ohio State in these rankings, and as you can see by the the voting (see bottom of page), they’re awfully close. In reality, there’s an argument to be made that the Hawkeyes should be as high as No. 6. Very excited to see what they can do the rest of the way. — Logan Bradley

10. California Golden Bears (-)

Cal didn’t compete last weekend. The Golden Bears are up against Washington on Sunday. —Alex Wittenberg

11. Navy Midshipmen (-)

It was a busy weekend for the Mids as they traveled to both William & Mary and Springfield. The first competition went well as they broke back above the 400 mark. The second meet was a different story as they posted their worst team score of the season. Navy will look to bounce back to their winning ways as they head out to warm weather Arizona this weekend. — Ben Cooperman

12. Army Black Knights (-)

Colorado was unkind to the Black Knights last weekend, but despite that, Army still remains ahead of the Falcons in this week’s power rankings. We know full-well what Cole Casanova and Matthew Davis can do…what about the rest of the team? If those two can get some support, Army will easily find themselves competing as a team at NCAA’s. — Logan Bradley

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

Air Force had a big upset over Army last Saturday, taking down the Black Knights 394.25-389.95. They get to go against another military rival this Saturday, when they’re set to face Navy, Nor Cal United, Penn State and Arizona State in Tempe. — Alex Wittenberg

14. William & Mary Tribe (+1)

The Tribe has been on a stellar run resulting in a jump over a talented Sun Devil team. William & Mary will head to the Windy City this weekend as they look to continue their 390+ streak. — Ben Cooperman

15. Arizona State Sun Devils (-1)

Arizona State was off last weekend but will pick things back up on Saturday with a big home meet against Penn State, Navy, Air Force and NorCal United. — Logan Bradley

16. Springfield Pride (-)

Springfield suffered a tough-fought loss to Navy on Sunday. Highlights for the No. 16 team included Stephen Lewis’s all-around performance and the team’s showing on rings and p-bars. Springfield will face Army in West Point on Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

17. Washington Huskies (-)

Washington did not compete last weekend and will be facing Cal in their second and final home competition of the year this Sunday. — Ben Cooperman

18. UIC Flames (-)

UIC didn’t compete last weekend but will welcome ECAC rival, William & Mary, to Chicago on Sunday. — Logan Bradley

#NCAAMGym Week 9 Recap

This past weekend might’ve been the most intriguing set of meets that we’ve seen all season. FOUR of the six competitions featured upset winners, including the unquestioned No. 2 team in the country, Stanford, going down.

Before we get to everything that happened, we need to first give a shout out to the now back-to-back-to-back American Cup champion, Yul Moldauer.

The Sooner narrowly (and I mean narrowly: 85.932 to 85.931) edged out former Michigan Wolverine, Sam Mikulak. Undoubtedly, the Oklahoma senior has his sights set on Tokyo and this win was just one step closer to achieving that goal.

Now, to our One Thing We Learned…

Don’t Forget About Illinois

The Fighting Illini made the biggest wave this weekend, taking down not just No. 2 Stanford, but No. 5 Minnesota as well. Not only does this beg the question of who is the second-best team in the NCAA, it sets the stage for quite the regular season meet in two weeks.

The Illini will travel to Happy Valley for a battle with Penn State and a strong Michigan team. With Illinois seemingly settling into a groove here just past the halfway point, it will be interesting to see whether the Wolverines (or Nittany Lions) have the goods to step up and take down the now B1G favorites.

It looks like our first season of crowning a B1G regular season champion will be an interesting one.

Penn State @ Ohio State

Whatever Ohio State did during their month-long respite from competition worked miraculously well — the Buckeyes came charging back from a calamitous start to their season to top their season-high by 10 points and upset rival Penn State 413.15-409.0.

The Buckeyes were consistent throughout, scoring above 68 on every event besides rings (where they weren’t far from 68).

Penn State was mostly solid but forfeited their typical advantage on pommel horse, scoring just a 64.85. That was just a tenth and a half from a season-low for the Nittany Lions, and a lot of it had to do with Stephen Nedoroscik’s 13.05, which was about two points less than his usual. Had PSU hit their three-score average of 68.15, they would have been less than a point back from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State, however, looked determined from the beginning to make a statement, to insert themselves back into a dialogue from which they’ve been notably absent. They hit season-highs on floor, horse, rings, p-bars and high bar. That’s quite a way to bounce back.

That said, many a skeptic would scratch their head at such a rebound. Can a team transform themselves so much in a single month? High bar’s season-high, for example, was over three and a half points greater than their next-best score. So is 67.75 a fair portrayal of OSU’s high bar potential?

It could be. Dexter Roettker turned an 11.45 into a 13.45, Max Andryuhschenko an 11.85 into 14.05. There’s the difference. And while your writer could opine on the judging, better to just refer you, reader, to last week’s statement on that matter — because it isn’t just Ohio.

Earning titles for the Buckeyes were Alec Yoder on horse, Andryuhschenko on rings, Alex Wilson on vault and Jesse Tyndall on p-bars.

Penn State’s Sam Zakutney earned titles on floor and high bar. He also put up a solid all-around performance, scoring an 83 flat.

Ohio State is home against Minnesota this weekend in a crucial meet for both teams. Ohio will look to solidify their comeback, and Minnesota will aim to bounce back from a disappointing showing against Illinois.

Penn State is up against Air Force, Arizona State, Navy and Nor Cal United in Tempe on Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Stanford/Minnesota @ Illinois

Everybody had a good feeling that this would be the meet of the weekend, and it didn’t disappoint one bit. Competing in front of a home crowd in Champaign, Illinois was able to complete the upset, defeating both No. 2 Stanford and No. 5 Minnesota.

It surely was an impressive afternoon for the Illini who kept consistent pressure on both of their opponents right from the start. All-in-all, Illinois was forced to count just two scores below a 12.75.

The headline performance came from newly-minted Nissen Emery Award finalist, Alex Diab (B1G Gymnast of the Week). The senior snagged two event titles (FX and SR) along with a runner-up finish on VT. He made a little bit of history as well, setting the new Illinois record on rings with this 15.2.

Another notable gymnast was freshman Hamish Carter. Although he competed on just two events, he made the two count with a 14.1 on FX and a 14.2 on HB. The British Senior National Team member just might be the difference between Illinois being a good team or a great team.

Other event titles for Illinois came from Michael Paradise who continues his tear on PH and freshman Clay Stephens on PB.

Second isn’t where the Cardinal wanted to finish on Saturday, but they really should be commended for competing tough after a disastrous start to the meet on PH. Despite three falls, the Cardinal was able to pull things together and still come within a point-and-a-half of defeating Illinois.

It was PB and HB in particular where Stanford brought the fire, registering six top-five finishes between the two events. Ryan Sheppard took home the PB crown while freshman Brody Malone showed out on HB. Although Malone didn’t compete all-around this weekend, you’d be hard-pressed to find an all-arounder outside of Yul Moldauer that I’d rather have on my team at the moment.

It wasn’t the day that Minnesota envisioned on Saturday. Despite the third place team finish, Shane Wiskus continued to show that he’s one of the nation’s top all-arounders by posting an 83.75 and doing everything he could to propel his team forward.

Unfortunately, lackluster performances on HB and the traditionally stellar event, VT, was what ultimately did the Gophers in. There will be no time to dwell on this one, though, as Minnesota travels to Columbus for a huge conference tri-meet with Ohio State and Nebraska. A great opportunity to bounce back. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Nebraska @ Iowa

After weeks of being considered one of the weakest teams in the Big Ten, Iowa shocked everyone, upsetting Nebraska at home.

Nebraska came into this meet on a hot streak, recently beating both Illinois and Minnesota at home. Few believed the Hawkeyes had what it took to grab a highly-coveted conference win. This statement victory from Iowa proves the parity amongst Big Ten teams is unlike anything we’ve seen in quite some time.

Iowa cruised through this meet earning season high totals on their first five events before cooling off on high bar. This team was knocking out sets, getting significant contributions from the entire roster. Bennet Huang (14.60) and Andrew Herrador (14.20) lit the fire on floor where they both scored 14+ to take second and third, respectively, on the event.

The Hawkeyes have struggled this season on pommel horse but were able to turn that narrative around. All five of their scores were above the 13 mark and Kevin Johnson showed what he can do, posting a 14.00 to take the event title.

While typically a good high bar team, Iowa ran out of gas by the time they got there. Their 63.50 was well off their season high of 66.70. This could tell us that Iowa’s ceiling is even higher than the 406.70 they scored on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers found themselves suffering their second Big Ten defeat on the road this year. Definitely a setback for this team, but the meet was far from a disaster. Their 403.55 was still eight points higher than their season low. 

Pommel horse is what really hurt Nebraska as they had three scores in the 12’s to put up a 64.50. This is unfortunate considering they finally turned things around on rings where they scored a season high 67.650.

Highlights for the Cornhuskers include a 14.70 from Charlie Giles (B1G Freshman of the Week) to take the vault title, a tremendous feat when you are on the same team as Anton Stephenson. Stephenson earned a title of his own on floor (14.70). Jake Bonnay rounded out the event champions with his 13.85 high bar routine. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Navy @ William & Mary

The Mids started their two-meet weekend with a trip to Virginia where they took down the Tribe.

Navy was lighting up the scoreboard earlier this season but the fireworks came to an abrupt halt when they struggled a week ago at Penn State. A solid competition got the Midshipmen back over the 400 mark ever so slightly this past Friday.

The main takeaway from this competition is that Navy is a great high bar team. Ben Provost (13.85), Cash Buske (13.85) and Ryan McVay (13.60) took the top three spots en route to a team total of 66.70 on the event. Navy is now ranked No. 4 in the country on high bar. 

William & Mary put up their third straight score of 390+ as they settled in back home. Cutter Fugett won the floor exercise with a 14.20 and Andrew Lyubovsky (ECAC Rookie of the Week) won the p-bars title with a 13.65. The Tribe have been good as of late and will look to creep closer to the 400 mark. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Army @ Air Force

Take on a service academy on the road and you’d best come prepared. It seems like any time that Navy/Army/Air Force compete at home, there’s a 99% win percentage. While that’s an exaggeration, Air Force continued the trend by upsetting the Black Knights in Colorado.

The elder statesman of the group, Lukas Texeira, led the way for the Falcons with a trio of top-five finishes, including runner-up on SR and an event title on HB. That was enough to make the senior the MPSF Gymnast of the Week.

Air Force really got the job done on pipe compared to their competitive counterpart. Their 4.5 point advantage on that event proved to be the difference in this one.

Other Falcon winners were Scott McMurray on PH, Frankie Valentin on SR and Allen Shadan on PB.

Save for a season-low on HB, it was a fairly ho-hum day. In classic fashion, freshman Matthew Davis (79.95) and Cole Casanova (78.95) went 1-2 in the all-around with Davis tacking on FX and VT titles as well.

There was plenty left to be desired past the two Black Knight stars, but they provide a nice floor for an Army team that, despite the loss, remains improved from last year’s squad. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Navy @ Springfield

A double-header weekend proved too much for Navy to handle — after scoring 400 flat on Friday, Navy fell more than 10 points two days later.

They still managed to get a win, beating Springfield 387.9-383.05. They also claimed individual titles on every event.

Earning titles for Navy were Lucas Beltran on floor, David Toussaint on horse, Christian Correale on rings, Beltran on vault, Max Gerber on p-bars and Ben Provost on high bar.

Although Springfield didn’t have any individual titles, they did beat Navy as a team on rings and p-bars. Stephen Lewis (ECAC Gymnast of the Week) also had another solid day, scoring a 79.25 in the all-around.

Navy goes against Air Force, Arizona State, Nor Cal United and Penn State on Saturday in Tempe. Springfield will face Army in West Point on Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

2019 Nissen Emery Award Finalists

The Nissen-Emery Award is the highest honor bestowed upon the nation’s top senior gymnast. To win the award one must have shown gymnastics excellence, success in the classroom and sportsmanship throughout their career. For a full description of the award and list of previous winners, see here.

Of those that have won the award in the past, big names include Bart ConnerJim HartungJohn RoethlisbergerBlaine WilsonJustin SpringJonathan Horton and Sam Mikulak.

Now, for a breakdown of this year’s finalists (alphabetically):

Grant Breckenridge – Stanford

Grant Breckenridge neatly embodies the spirit of Stanford gymnastics: a refined, classic look that disregards the difficulty of what’s being performed. A 2018 high bar All-American, Breckenridge was also named to the U.S. Senior National Team in 2017 after finishing seventh in the all-around at Winter Cup. The Highland Park, IL native is best known for consistent, measured performances across all of his events. Outside of the sport, Breckenridge studies mechanical engineering and ancient history. Such diverse interests accord with the kind of gymnast he is: well-balanced with a wide repertoire of skills. (via Alex Wittenberg)

Alex Diab – Illinois

After three B1G and one NCAA still rings title (and counting), it’s safe to say that any and all “greatest current ringman” conversations start and end with Illinois’ Alex Diab. Following in the footsteps of his father, Mark (a fellow NCAA champion on SR at Iowa State), Diab has created a lasting legacy of his own. Though it’d be easy to continue on about his still rings excellence, it’s key to note the high-level contribution he’s brought on other events as an All-American both on high bar (2016) and floor exercise (2018) as well. A two-time Illini team captain, Diab has cemented himself as one of the school’s all-time greats. (via Logan Bradley)

Jacopo Gliozzi – William & Mary

It’s rare to find as talented of a gymnast as William & Mary’s Jacopo Gliozzi and first want to mention his scholastic accomplishments. A 4.0 student and double-major in math and physics, Gliozzi recently earned the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy. It’s tough to state just how impressive that is. However, don’t let that monumental academic honor detract from the Fairfax, VA native’s abilities on the mat. Primarily a pommel horse specialist, Gliozzi was a 2017 All-American and swings with an electricity unlike many we’ve seen before. Without a doubt, he will leave W&M as one of the best to have ever donned a Tribe uniform. (via Logan Bradley)

Vitali Kan – Minnesota

Vitali Kan has played a pivotal role in Minnesota’s success in the last two seasons. The two-time vault All-American has demonstrated time and again an ability to put up his best performances when it matters most. Such an attribute is one reason why Kan is leading the Gophers this season as a captain. Another is his intellect, which he’s honed while excelling in his statistics program. The progeny of gymnastics greatness, Kan was destined to succeed in the sport, and he has. (via Alex Wittenberg)

Justin Karstadt – Minnesota

Justin Karstadt garnered attention early for a classic technique and an assured demeanor. What wasn’t as easily discernible was his deep knowledge of the sport, something that’s made the Toronto native an invaluable asset to Minnesota. Karstadt is a three-time All-American, a two-time First Team All-Big Ten team selectee, and he was named the 2017 Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Year. Karstadt has also represented Canada on the international stage: He earned a bronze medal on pommel horse at last year’s World Cup Challenge in Mersin, Turkey, and he helped Canada make the team podium at the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships. A kinesiology major who plans to pursue a medical degree, Karstadt’s resolve has helped him weather setbacks and remain indispensable to Minnesota’s success. (via Alex Wittenberg)

Yul Moldauer – Oklahoma

It is impossible to tell the story of the ongoing Oklahoma dynasty without Yul Moldauer. 15-time All-American, seven total NCAA individual titles, two-time NCAA all-around champion, three-time NCAA team champion, and you can expect those numbers to increase come April. He also won a bronze medal on floor at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal — just to name one of his many accomplishments representing the United States internationally. When all is said and done, Moldauer will be remembered as one of the best to ever step foot on the NCAA competition floor. (via Ben Cooperman)

Anton Stephenson – Nebraska

It is no surprise that the resurgence of Nebraska’s program coincides with Anton Stephenson’s four-year career as a Cornhusker. Nebraska has clawed their way back into the top-five conversation over the past few years, punching their ticket to second day at the past two NCAA Championships. Stephenson has been a standout all-arounder and a star on vault over his career. 2018 Big Ten parallel bars champion and vault champion, two-time All-American and 2018 USA National vault champion highlight his illustrious career. His 3.97 GPA speaks for itself; Stephenson is a tremendous mind who will go on to to study ophthalmology at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. (via Ben Cooperman)

Alec Yoder – Ohio State

From his magnificent pommel horse work to his flared-out double pike on parallel bars, Alec Yoder has come to exemplify all that is Ohio State. A top recruit back in 2015, the Indianapolis, IN native has lived up to the hype and much more. As a U.S. Senior National Team member, Yoder represented his country at the 2018 World Championships, helping the Red, White & Blue to a fourth place team finish. His NCAA career has been equally as illustrious with eight All-American honors to his name, along with being the 2016 B1G pommel horse champion and Freshman of the Year. The two-time Buckeye team captain will long be remembered in Columbus. (via Logan Bradley)

#NCAAMGym Week 8 Power Rankings

Every week we’ll release a “Power Rankings,” aiming to provide a fluid picture of how each team across the NCAA is doing at the moment. The idea is to try not to focus too much on scores and look more at the current state of the team. The (+) or (-) next to each team’s name relates to how far they rose or fell from last week’s rankings.

This week’s power rankings are an average based off of the individual rankings of three individuals:

  • Logan Bradley (former Illinois gymnast)
  • Ben Cooperman (former Penn State gymnast)
  • Alex Wittenberg (former Minnesota gymnast)
  • Andrew Misiolek (former Stanford gymnast)

To see a list of each individual’s rankings, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (-)

Let’s see…how do I sum up the Oklahoma Sooners…Yul Moldauer. 88.3. I could easily stop there, but gymnastics is a team sport, and the senior has a great supporting cast who is performing very well. — Logan Bradley

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

Stanford again did that thing where they beat Cal in a dual meet. Snark aside, the Cardinal was impressive and again just a hair away from 420. The real story is this coming weekend’s matchup, which we’ve been eagerly awaiting: Stanford will go against Illinois and Minnesota in Champaign on Saturday. It’ll be the first true look at how competitive the team is. — Alex Wittenberg

3. Michigan Wolverines (-)

A solid performance in Norman made it clear that this team does not quite have the ability to catch the OU juggernaut. It did confirm, however, that Michigan is the team to beat in the Big Ten. The Wolverines could very well win both a Big Ten regular season and tournament title, it is just a matter of execution. — Ben Cooperman

4. Illinois Fighting Illini (+1)

Just how good is this Illinois team? Are they the team who put up a 410+ in a defeat of a B1G foe in late-January? Or are they the roughly 400 team we saw in a loss at Nebraska. We’ll find out this weekend as they’ve got a BIG test with Stanford and Minnesota coming to town. — Logan Bradley

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)

Minnesota had a disappointing loss to Nebraska last weekend and faces a huge challenge this weekend: beating Illinois in Champaign. The Gophers and the Illini will be battling with a Big Ten regular season title on the line, and the outcome of the meet will lend some insight into how the Big Ten championships will play out later this season. The Gophers need solid performances from Shane Wiskus, Shaun Herzog and Vitali Kan to get a win. — Alex Wittenberg

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (-)

Penn State’s decisive win against Navy and Air Force did not tell us much that we do not already know about this team. Backed by Stephen Nedoroscik, they have likely the strongest pommel horse team in the country. The same goes for rings where Isaac Hammett has made a name for himself. What about the other four events? The question of “how good will be Penn State be when they hit?” is slowly turning into “is Penn State capable of hitting?” — Ben Cooperman

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-)

Defending their home turf and taking down a B1G rival? That’s great. Continuing a downward trend on pommel horse? That’s not great. The Huskers’ team score on that event has decreased by over a point with every passing meet in 2019. They must right the ship. — Logan Bradley

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (-)

Iowa didn’t compete last weekend. They’re at home against Nebraska this Saturday, and an upset is far from out of the question. — Alex Wittenberg

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (+2)

Ohio State did not compete this weekend and will face off against Penn State in a Big Ten regular season match up this weekend. — Ben Cooperman

10. California Golden Bears (-)

By this point in the season it seems that we know what type of team Cal is. They’ve got a high floor (meaning you’re not going to see them bottom out in any particular meet), but a somewhat low ceiling (meaning their potential might not be quite as high as other teams ranked similarly). — Logan Bradley

11. Navy Midshipmen (-2)

Navy’s prospects this season took a hit last weekend, after dropping almost 15 points from their season-high performance two weeks prior. All that means is this weekend’s meet at William & Mary is extra important: Navy needs a resounding recovery to put themselves back on solid ground. Bad meets happen, but last weekend was troubling. — Alex Wittenberg

12. Army Black Knights (-)

The Black Knights have looked awesome this year backed by the freshman-senior duo of Matt Davis and Cole Casanova. Army put up yet another score of 395+ this past weekend and are sitting nicely in line for an NCAA Championship bid. — Ben Cooperman

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

Air Force seems to have flown (no, I don’t mean to make this a bad pun) a little bit under the radar in 2019 but is just 1.3 behind Ohio State in terms of three-score average. It’s probably because there’s no single standout gymnast to point to, rather a team full of individuals with no glaring weakness. Don’t count them out of the race for a spot at NCAA’s. — Logan Bradley

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (-)

ASU came out on top at the Sun Devil Classic last Saturday. But the team was still well below their season high of 395.9. They’re off this weekend, and that should give the team some time to recharge and focus on getting back into the mid-390 range. — Alex Wittenberg

15. William & Mary Tribe (-)

It was strange to see two meets in one weekend penciled into the Tribe’s schedule, but apparently it was the right move. William & Mary put up back-to-back season highs on their action packed road trip. — Ben Cooperman

16. Springfield Pride (-)

It’s been a bit of trying season thus far for Springfield. After ending January with a mid-380 score, the Pride has seen a significant dip in production on pommel horse and rings. Five-up-five-count is never easy on any event — though PH could continue proving especially tricky for this young team. — Logan Bradley

17. Washington Huskies (-)

Washington stayed in the mid-370s in their loss to ASU. The team was again weighed down by pommels and high bar. Washington is off this weekend and faces Cal on March 10. — Alex Wittenberg

18. UIC Flames (-)

The Flames broke the 360 mark for the first time this year in their last outing despite a disastrous pommel horse rotation. If they can clean things up on that event, they could be within striking distance of the 370 mark. — Ben Cooperman

#NCAAMGym Week 8 Recap

Two weeks without NCAA competition somehow felt like a lifetime. Nevertheless, five-up-five-count action started out with a bang as we adventure into the second-half of the NCAA season.

Before we get into everything that happened, as always, here’s the One Thing We Learned…

Inconsistent Judging Is A Real Problem

I wish this wasn’t always a topic, but unfortunately it is. Also, to make clear, it’s not a problem for just one particular region or school — the inconsistency rears its ugly head all across the country.

The reason it’s such a big issue is because it renders the rankings almost completely useless. Sure, they give us a general idea of how teams and individuals stack up, but nobody really has any clue as to how legitimate they actually are. This isn’t just a problem that I’ve observed, either. I’ve had multiple current NCAA gymnasts reach out to me regarding their own scores and how they were MUCH higher than they should’ve been — as in 1+ points too high. How does that even happen? This then leads to (in some cases) the gymnast them self being put in a sticky situation just because they were given a score that they had no control over.

I know there are some fantastic judges out there who don’t deserve criticism, but as is the case in many situations, the bad outweigh the good. I dream of a day where I can look at a West Coast, East Coast and Midwest score all from the same weekend and know it’s accurate. It feels like that day will never come. — Logan Bradley

Michigan @ Oklahoma

Yul Moldauer made his all-around season debut to lead the No. 1 Sooners to their best meet of the season last Saturday against Michigan. In doing so, OU shrugged off all doubt about their right to the throne; it was also a stark demonstration of how valuable Moldauer is to the team.

Beating the Sooners in Norman was a huge demand of the No. 3 Wolverines from the start. But their 411.2 was nonetheless a big disappointment for those who had hoped the gap between OU and the second and third-ranked teams was narrowing.  

Oklahoma excelled on all six but was especially impressive on vault: Their 73.45 was the top team score on the event this season by nearly a point. Leading the charge on vault was Levi Anderson and his Tsuk double pike, which earned him a 14.8 to tie for the title with Michigan’s Emyre Cole.

Moldauer, for his part, proved yet again that he’s untouchable in the all around. His 88.3 is the top all-around score of the season by almost four points. He also put up the country’s best floor and p-bars scores of the season, with a 15.3 and a 15.1 on each.

Michigan looked fairly confident at the start of the meet, but their rings rotation ended up being a surprising turning point. Their season-low 65.6 on the event came after a few strange mistakes, and after OU’s eruption on vault, the Wolverines were set back much too far to recover.

Highlights for the Wolverines included another solid floor set from Jacob Moore, a third-place finish on horse for Mack Lasker, a 14.55 on rings from Ryan Dunning, Cole’s vault title, and Cameron Bock making podium on p-bars and high bar.

The Wolverines have this weekend off. They face Iowa in Ann Arbor on March 9.

OU has the weekend off, too, although Moldauer will be representing at the American Cup. The Sooners’ next meet is at home against Illinois on March 9. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Cal @ Stanford

Going at each other for the sixth time in 2019, Stanford handed their rival their largest defeat of the season en route to a season-best team score.

Nothing lower than a 68.4 is quite a feat, and it should say something about the consistency that the Cardinal is finding as the season continues.

Two Stanford gymnasts competed all-around and both of them, Brody Malone and Ryan Sheppard, enjoyed fantastic days. The freshman, Malone, took home the crown with an 84.1 while Sheppard came away with a not-too-shabby 82.95.

Stanford swept the events in Palo Alto with Malone taking HB and Sheppard PB, along with Bryan Perla on FX, Joey Ringer on PH, Josiah Eng on SR and Connor Lewis on VT. Of that group, Perla is a name to really keep an eye on come MSPF and NCAA Championships. He has the talent to push for a top-three finish on floor.

Cal, on the other hand, stumbled a little bit following their upward trend prior to Winter Cup. The good: the Golden Bears continue looking great on parallel bars — a bit of unique event to have as your strength. Not a single gymnast scored below 13.1. The bad: there isn’t much in terms of fire power on vault. Not a single Cal gymnast competed a 5.0+ VT. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Navy/Air Force @ Penn State

Penn State cruised to victory over Air Force and Navy last Saturday and cracked 410 for the first time this season.

The No. 4 Nittany Lions struggled on floor but were poised otherwise. They set season highs on pommel horse, rings and p-bars, and earned individual titles on every event besides floor. Their 69.1 on pommels, led by Stephen Nedoroscik’s 15.25, was the highest team score on the event so far this season.

Navy had a disappointing meet, putting up just a 393.95, a nearly 15-point drop from their last meet two weeks ago. Ben Provost earned Navy’s sole individual event title with a 13.95 on floor.

Air Force had a lackluster day as well. After breaking 400 two weeks ago, the Falcons dropped to the low-390s, scoring a 392.65 to keep pace with Navy. Air Force had the top team score of the night on floor but struggled badly on pommels. It was a squandered chance for the Falcons to avenge their loss to Navy on Feb. 9.

Penn State will face Ohio State in Columbus this Saturday, and the Falcons face Army at home the same day. Navy will face William & Mary in Williamsburg on Friday. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Minnesota/UIC @ Nebraska

A tightly-contested matchup came down to the wire in Lincoln this past weekend with Nebraska defending their home arena, taking down Minnesota and UIC.

While this win will not count towards their Big Ten regular season record (the two teams will meet again March 8), the Cornhuskers made a statement defeating a great Minnesota team. Interestingly, both teams seem to have similar compositions: weaker pommel horse and rings but very strong on the other four. This formula made for one of the closest competitions we have seen so far this year.

Nebraska was led by Evan Hymanson who scored an 81.00 in his all-around debut. Hymanson had a trio of top-four finishes (FX, SR, PB). Nebraska has really shined recently on high bar, where they needed to deliver this past Saturday. Griffin Kehler and Khalil Jackson each took a share of the event title (14.00) to close out the win.

The Cornhuskers have now taken down Illinois and Minnesota in their previous two outings after a tough loss to Penn State. It is safe to say that Nebraska is back on track.

Minnesota had a great chance to take this one, down 4.3 heading into vault while Nebraska went to high bar. The Gophers made a couple of mistakes to close out the meet that allowed victory to slip from their hands. Regardless, this was still a great showing from a young team who was without one of their key contributors, Shaun Herzog.

Mike Moran had a breakout performance, tallying a first place finish on floor (14.40) and a third place finish on vault (14.55). The freshman adds to the longstanding tradition of dominant floor and vault competitors from Mike Burns’ teams. Shane Wiskus, who only competed on three events, grabbed the p-bars title (14.25).

UIC rounded out the field and broke the 360 mark for the first time this season. Sam Montague continues to look great on floor where he placed fourth with a 14.00. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

William & Mary @ Army

What a resurgence Army is experiencing this season. For the fourth-straight meet, the Black Knights registered a 395+, and in this case, came away with a victory over William & Mary.

Leading the charge were your usual suspects in Cole Casanova (81.55) and Matt Davis (78.9). Fresh off of competing in Las Vegas, Casanova captured the HB and PB titles along with all-around. I’m sure he’s been able to prove valuable to Davis in bringing him along during his freshman campaign.

As a team, Army gained the most ground on W&M thanks to a stellar 67.0 effort on FX.

As long as the Knights can keep up this level of competitiveness, they’ll be looking at an NCAA berth come April.

As for the Tribe, Friday represented a step in the right direction. It was also their first meet of a double-meet weekend where they posted their two highest team scores of the year. While competing at West Point, William & Mary actually brought home four event titles: Cutter Fugett on FX, Jacopo Gliozzi on PH, David Watkins on SR and Andrew Lyubovsky on HB. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

William & Mary/Temple @ Springfield

The great weekend continued for the Tribe with an easy victory at Springfield on Sunday afternoon.

William & Mary bested Springfield and Temple on each event, adding up to a season-best 394.15. If all goes according to plan, W&M should be able to stay in the low-to-mid-390 range for the rest of the season.

Highlights came in the form of event wins from Gliozzi on PH, Watkins on SR, Jack Hasenkopf on VT and Lyubovsky on both PB & HB. It should be noted that Lyubovsky, who’s just a freshman, is having quite the campaign. He now sits No. 24 nationally on HB.

It was a less-than-ideal day for Springfield at home. PH was their ultimate undoing as the Pride could muster just a 58.4 on the event. Five-up-five-count was a bit of their undoing as they were forced to count a sub-10 score on the event.

On the bright side of things, Stephen Lewis recorded his second 80+ all-around score of the season. That was highlighted by an event-winning 13.7 on FX. — Logan Bradley

The Temple Owls finished with a team score of 352.55 and were led in the all-around by Garrett McDaniel. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

The Sun Devil Classic

Three teams battled it out at the Sun Devil Classic where Arizona State proved they are the powerhouse of GymACT.

It was not their best competition, but it was enough to get the job done.  The Sun Devils were led by none other than Kiwan Watts. Watts won the all-around title with an 80.40 and took home three event titles as well (SR – 14.0, VT – 14.70, PB – 13.80). The other Sun Devil mainstay, Jordan Williams, took the day off after a stellar Winter Cup performance.

In the absence of Williams, it was Kirk Malm who stepped up as the number two guy. Malm won both pommel horse (13.15) and high bar (13.25). All in all, it was another great day for ASU as they took five of six event titles from their GymACT rival.

Washington put up their third score of 375+ but it was not enough to take down the talented Sun Devil team. Nathan Tsuji was once again the highlight, winning floor with a 13.80. Michael Sibley was able to notch a second place finish on p-bars (13.15). Sibley was joined by his teammate, Oscar Hemmert, who also grabbed a second place finish. Hemmert’s clean high bar set earned him a 13.00.

William Pearce led SC United to a third place finish tallying a 70.00 in the all-around. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

#NCAAMGym Week 6 Power Rankings

Every week we’ll release a “Power Rankings,” aiming to provide a fluid picture of how each team across the NCAA is doing at the moment. The idea is to try not to focus too much on scores and look more at the current state of the team. The (+) or (-) next to each team’s name relates to how far they rose or fell from last week’s rankings.

This year’s power rankings are an average based off of the individual rankings of five individuals:

  • Logan Bradley (former Illinois gymnast)
  • Ben Cooperman (former Penn State gymnast)
  • Alex Wittenberg (former Minnesota gymnast)
  • Andrew Misiolek (former Stanford gymnast)
  • Jessica Frankl (CGA gymnastics expert/photographer)

To see a list of each individual’s rankings, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page.

1. Oklahoma Sooners (-)

Coming off a rock bottom performance by OU standards, it’s astonishing to think they’re still far and away the favorite to bring home a fifth straight national title in April. That is how good the Sooners are, and have been, for four plus years. As most teams are at home getting rest, Oklahoma has seven current team members competing this weekend at Winter Cup.   Don’t be surprised if these guys put up another 410+ on their week off. — Ben Cooperman

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

Stanford flirted with 420 on their way to defeating Cal last weekend. Sound familiar? Hope so — it was the Cardinal’s third dual meet with Cal this season, and by now this recurring story has taken on the feel of a chalkier “Russian Doll.” I think it’s fair to say everyone is eager for Stanford’s meet against Illinois and Minnesota on March 2. But we’ll have to endure one more Stanford-Cal matchup before then. — Alex Wittenberg

3. Michigan Wolverines (-)

With just three meets under their belt (and having not competed last weekend), I’m still not completely sold on Michigan. It’s no fault of their own, I just want to see a larger sample size of success. Luckily, we’ll get a great sample coming out of the Winter Cup break as the Wolverines travel to Norman in what could be one of the best regular season meets of the year. — Logan Bradley

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-)

Shane Wiskus was out resting and only did four events this past weekend, winning three of those. We all know he is good, but it is becoming more and more apparent he could soon be the best gymnast in the NCAA. Minnesota has been remarkably consistent behind their leader this season, dipping below the 400 mark just once. — Ben Cooperman

5. Illinois Fighting Illini (+1)

Illinois didn’t compete last weekend and won’t again until March 2, when they face Minnesota and Stanford at home. — Alex Wittenberg

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (-1)

It was essentially two events that send the Nittany Lions down one spot: parallel bars and high bar. I know that there were some technical difficulties with the high bar in Chicago last weekend, so I can give that a slight pass, but the PB performance was concerning. — Logan Bradley

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-)

Nebraska did not compete this weekend and will face off against Minnesota and UIC at home on February 23rd. — Ben Cooperman

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (-)

Iowa got within 10 points of the Sooners last weekend but struggled badly on horse. The Hawkeyes don’t have the requisite difficulty this season to contend with the top Big Ten teams, meaning they have to rely on high hit percentages and strong execution, both of which were lacking to some degree against OU. Iowa is off until March 2, when they face Nebraska at Carver-Hawkeye. — Alex Wittenberg

9. Navy Midshipmen (+1)

The Mids have finally done enough to crack the inside of our top-ten. A convincing 5+ point victory at the All-Academy Championship certainly helps, but they’ll need to keep proving themselves to stay in this spot. The difference between the teams ranked No. 8 through No. 11 in these rankings is razor-thin. — Logan Bradley

10. California Golden Bears (+1)

Pommel horse has long been known as the hardest event in gymnastics and Cal has been no stranger to that fact over the past few years. This past weekend that all seemed to change when the Golden Bears put up a 68.45, helping them achieve their season high team score of a 404.00.  Cal is looking great heading into Winter Cup weekend. — Ben Cooperman

11. Ohio State Buckeyes (-2)

Ohio State didn’t compete last weekend and won’t again until March 2, when they face Penn State in Columbus. — Alex Wittenberg

12. Army Black Knights (-)

Parallel bars is now looking like the official thorn in Army’s side. Currently sitting No. 15 on that event as a team, the Black Knights will now have a couple of weeks to figure out what is ailing them. Other than that event, this has looked like a much-improved team in 2019. — Logan Bradley

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

The Falcons have competed only three times this year and find themselves No. 13 in the RTN standings. They proved that they are a great team this past weekend at the All-Academy Championships, but unfortunately are not in a great place heading into the Winter Cup break. The battle for that twelfth qualification spot will be a dog fight this year, one that Air Force expects to win. — Ben Cooperman

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (-)

ASU had a tough day against the Gophers last weekend, putting up their lowest team score so far this season. They were without the full contribution of Kiwan Watts, who was resting for Winter Cup, but were nonetheless in poor form, having to count far too many misses. ASU next faces NorCal United, SC United and Washington at home on Feb. 23. — Alex Wittenberg

15. William & Mary Tribe (-)

There was no meet for William & Mary this week as the Tribe will look to improve upon their roughly 389.00 average over the previous two weeks. With not much else to be said, let’s bring attention yet again to Jacopo Gliozzi’s latest amazing accomplishment. — Logan Bradley

16. Springfield Pride (-)

The trip out to Chicago did not bode well for Springfield who regressed by roughly 15 points from their previous showing. This young team will have to shake off a tough outing and get back in stride at home against Temple and William & Mary on February 24. — Ben Cooperman

17. Washington Huskies (-)

Washington didn’t compete last weekend. They’ll be back in action on Feb. 23, when they face ASU, NorCal United and SC United. — Alex Wittenberg

18. UIC Flames (-)

UIC’s team score from last weekend is a bit deceiving strictly due to a disastrous pommel horse rotation. Other than that, they actually competed quite well, setting season-high team scores on a pair of events (FX and PB). — Logan Bradley

#NCAAMGym Week 6 Recap

Here we are at the Winter Cup break. We’ll get to watch this weekend as scores of current #NCAAMGym gymnasts fight for a coveted spot on the U.S. National Team, but first, let’s take a look at what happened last weekend.

Here’s the One Thing We Learned this week:

Cal Should Compete For A Spot In Super Six

This isn’t me predicting that the Golden Bears will be making it into the NCAA Team Finals, but rather pointing out that this is a much different team than we’re used to. Cal last made second day at NCAA’s back in 2015 where they finished in fifth place. Not until now has it felt like they have a legitimate chance to get back.

With the exception of rings, Cal really hung with a very, very good Stanford team this weekend. Maybe they’ve just become accustomed to competing against them, but it’s obvious that at the very least this is an improved team.

Despite losing Yordan Aleksandrov from last year they haven’t skipped a beat. Darren Wong has much to do with that, but there are plenty of other gymnasts stepping up.

It’s great to see Cal competing at a high level again.

Stanford @ Cal

Sound familiar? Stanford and Cal met each other for the fifth straight time this past weekend. With only two Division I teams left on the west coast, these two have no choice but to follow this monotonous schedule.  Hopefully we will one day be able to see some teams join them out there.

Stanford took home another victory with their third-straight score above 410. They have shown no real weakness this year, ranking in the top two on every single event except vault, where they are ranked fourth. This meet showcased, once again, their remarkable consistency as their lowest event total was a 67.700 on high bar. They scored a 70.200 on both p-bars and floor, with the other three events sandwiched in between.

Brody Malone had another great meet competing on five events and taking the p-bars title with a 14.350. Trevor Digerolamo scored a season high 14.450 on rings good enough for first. David Jessen had another awesome high bar performance, winning the event with a 14.000.

The Cardinal had another terrific competition but unfortunately, by no fault of their own, it is tough to be able to tell if they are really capable of dethroning Oklahoma. Stanford has not yet faced a Big Ten team or OU, making it impossible to see how they perform against the top teams in the country. Until we see it, Stanford will likely continue to be looked at as OU’s inferior.

Cal broke the 400 barrier for the first time this season by four points. This was a tremendous accomplishment for them, especially considering what some of the other teams vying for a top-12 spot did across the country in Annapolis. The narrative of the remarkable improvement in team score stems from pommel horse.

The top score on pommel horse so far this year for the Golden Bears was a 63.750. This past weekend that number ballooned to a 68.450. Has Cal finally found a remedy for their weakness? Darren Wong led the pommel horse surge taking home the lone event title for his team with a 14.450. If Cal can keep this up, great things are ahead of them for the remainder of the season. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Arizona State @ Minnesota

Make that three straight weeks of 406+ for the Minnesota Gophers.

No doubt about it, a good way to head into the Winter Cup break with such a solid all around performance. As a matter of fact, at this point in the season, Minnesota is one of just four teams (Oklahoma, Stanford and Michigan being the others) to rank within the top-eight on every single event as a team.

One gymnast contributing heavily to the success in recent weeks has been Shane Wiskus. On Saturday, the sophomore competed four events, placing top-three in all of them, and winning three (VT, PB & HB). As long as they can conserve his energy throughout the rest of the season (he’s already competed all-around three times), Wiskus should prove to be the backbone of this team in the postseason.

Other winners were Shaun Herzog (FX), Vitali Kan (PH) and Justin Karstadt (SR).

As for the Sun Devils, their trip to Minneapolis was nothing to write home about as star Kiwan Watts received a bit of a breather while only doing three events. ASU’s lone top-three finish did come from the aforementioned Watts whose 13.85 earned him a runner-up finish on PB. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Oklahoma @ Iowa

The best team in the country looked strangely unremarkable against the Iowa Hawkeyes last Saturday.

No. 1 Oklahoma topped Iowa 405.15-397.75 in what amounted to their lowest-scoring meet in recent history. It was the first time the Sooners dipped below 410 in the contemporary scoring system.

OU was without the full contribution of some of their stars, who were resting for this weekend’s Winter Cup, but they were beleaguered by a now familiar problem — pommel horse, where their 62.65 in Iowa City was crippling, but not exceptional.

It’s also true that some of the apparent tepidness of OU’s meet stemmed from the “rigor” of the judging; it’s unlikely OU’s same meet would have dipped as low as 405 in Norman or Minneapolis. As we’re seeing, the prospect of judging parity is eluding NCAA gymnastics for yet another season, to the chagrin of everyone who isn’t a judge. That’s as important a storyline as the meet itself.

But back to that: No. 10 Iowa had their struggles as well. Yet, coming within 10 of the Sooners is nothing to sneeze at, and the Hawkeyes again managed to have some success in employing the low-D, high-E strategy. Just 10 out of 36 routines for the Hawkeyes had a D-score of 5.0 or higher, but 10 out of 36 routines had an E-score of 9.0 or higher.

For OU, 25 out of 36 routines had a D-score of 5.0 or higher, but just six out of 36 had an E-score of 9.0 or higher. There’s your meet.

The biggest setback for Iowa this past weekend was pommel horse; they dropped over four points on that event alone from the weekend before. If a team wants to champion the low-D-score strategy, they have to hit. Had Iowa had the same day on horse as they did against Minnesota, they would have wound up less than three points behind the Sooners.

OU claimed every individual event title, and the all around was won by Iowa’s Andrew Herrador. Vitaliy Guimaraes earned a FX title; Genki Suzuki won horse and p-bars; Peter Daggett won rings; Alexei Vernyi won vault with a stuck Kas 1.5; and Levi Anderson won high bar.

Both teams get this weekend to reset. Representing OU at Winter Cup will be Yul Moldauer, Suzuki, Gage Dyer, Guimaraes, Tanner Justus, Matt Wenske, Vernyi, Anderson and Spencer Goodell. Representing Iowa will be Jake Brodarzon, Bennet Huang and Evan Davis. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

All-Academy Championships

The three academies have been a staple in the world of men’s NCAA gymnastics for a long time. Every year, the three (Air Force, Navy and Army) duke it out in one competition. This year’s championship was better than ever, with all three teams looking tremendous. The Navy Midshipmen took the opportunity to shock everyone.

Navy posted a 408.500 – a score they were unable to attain the entirety of last season. Their performance moved them up to No. 7 in the national rankings, ahead of three Big Ten teams. This kind of early success from an academy hasn’t been seen in years.

David Toussaint won both floor (14.400) and pommel horse (14.050). His horse score led the team to a 66.350, putting them at No. 4 nationally on the event. Toussaint himself is sitting comfortably No. 4 in the country as well and should not be overlooked as an All-American contender.

What else is fueling Navy’s unprecedented start to the 2019 season? High bar. The Midshipmen scored a 67.550 on the event, moving them to No. 3 in the nation behind Stanford and Oklahoma. They were paced by first and second place finishes from Ben Provost (13.750) and Cash Buske (13.650).  The Navy victory further proves they are a force to be reckoned with.

It was a bit surprising to see Air Force outpace Army to come in second. Early on, the Falcons looked like a team that could be sitting at home in April while the top-12 teams took the floor in Champaign. They showed they are worthy of one of those spots this past weekend.

Jonah Urlaub was the standout that led his team to a runner-up finish. The senior took second place on pommel horse (13.800) and rings (13.900). He also tacked on a first place finish on vault (14.500) with a clean yurchenko double full.

Army showed some regression from their previous performance where they broke the 400 mark. Their 396.400 put them in third, a disappointing finish for a very talented team. The event that brought them down was p-bars where they scored a 63.800, sliding them to a No. 15 ranking in the country. Improvements on this event will give them the best shot at taking down Navy and others down the road.

There were still bright spots for the Black Knights. Matthew Davis continues to shine. The freshman took home the rings title (14.000) and grabbed a second place finish on floor (14.350)Cole Casanova was outstanding, yet again, scoring an 80.950 as the lone all-arounder in the meet. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Penn State and Springfield @ UIC

A snowy afternoon in Chicago proved to be a difficult one for all three teams competing. However, Penn State was able to build up a comfortable enough lead to take a convincing 20+ point victory once all was said and done.

The Nittany Lions had a good day on FX, PH, SR and VT in the win. Parallel bars and high bar, however, were a different story as they dealt with significant struggles.

Still, individuals claimed every event title, with the exception of VT and all-around. Brayden Borromeo split FX with teammate Brennan Pantazis, Stephen Nedoroscik continued his stellar year on PH, Isaac Hammet won SR, Wyatt Tyndall took home the PB crown and Favian Valdez/Michael Burns topped the HB standings.

Penn State will come out of the Winter Cup break with a home meet against Air Force and Navy.

Struggling to their lowest score since the season opener, Springfield‘s highlight came in the form of a meet-winning 14.25 vault from Stephen Lewis. The junior took home the all-around title with a 75.85.

We won’t talk about pommel horse, but UIC really had a decent day. Most encouraging was the fact that a pair of freshmen, Nick Smiley and Paul Burney, secured top-four finishes on parallel bars and high bar, respectively. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.