Tag Archives: athletics

#NCAAMGym Week 4 Recap

This past weekend was PACKED full of #NCAAMGym action and provided just a bit more clarity on the status of a few teams. We didn’t see too many surprises, though we did see the defending champs put up a gaudy number, Penn State upset conference rival Nebraska and Michigan assert their new-found dominance.

That last point leads us into the One Thing We Learned this week:

Michigan Is Back

I’m not saying Michigan is ready to rip off a string of NCAA titles yet again, I’m just saying that Kurt Golder and co.’s recruiting efforts are starting to bear fruit.

It’s not easy to go into a conference rival’s place and win. Not only did they do that, but they put up one of the best efforts that we’ve seen from the Wolverines in years:

Cameron Bock (Co-B1G Gymnast of the Week) is a stud and they’ve got plenty of depth to back him up. There’s still work to be done and talent to be groomed, but Michigan is bursting back onto the national scene and should be a fun team to watch in 2019 and beyond.

Ohio State @ Oklahoma

No. 1 Oklahoma last Saturday surpassed the 420 mark to decisively beat No. 8 Ohio State.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

It was really only a matter of time before the Sooners decided to jettison all doubt about their dominance this season. All uncertainty that existed as a result of the team’s Week 2 flirtation with being second-best, and the resting of their top gymnast, was swiftly alleviated by their 423.95.

OU claimed individual event titles on every event except for pommels, and senior Levi Anderson won the all-around with an 83.15. Sophomore Gage Dyer notched a 14.9 on floor, the top score of the season so far on the event, and freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes’ impressive floor set was bookended by what must have been the NCAA’s first baby-cradling(?) celebration, which gets an unofficial CGA nod of respect. Yul Moldauer’s 15.0 on p-bars and Anderson’s 14.7 on high bar were the nation’s top scores on each respective event this season (Anderson’s is tied for tops).

Ohio State looked rather unequipped to battle their opponent. A 395.4 is concerning for the Buckeyes, especially when taken in context of the Norman-bump, which, while not as extreme as it can be, was indeed in effect on Saturday. Senior Alec Yoder claimed the team’s lone individual event title, on pommels. OSU’s score wasn’t the Big Ten’s worst of the weekend — Nebraska went 395 — but a sub-400 does not bode well for the team’s outlook, particularly when teams like Cal, Army and Navy are in that range.

The Buckeyes face a swaggering Michigan team in Ann Arbor this weekend, which makes for a tough rebound meet. They’ll need to improve to build up some momentum; the Buckeyes, starting at Rocky Mountain Open, haven’t demonstrated the poise we’ve grown accustomed to expect from them. It’s still early, but the Buckeyes need to drastically improve — and soon — to remain a serious contender for a Big Ten championship and in the NCAA finals picture. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Stanford @ Cal

We got a little Sunday Night Gymnastics with Stanford visiting Cal this past weekend. The meet was broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, and from the looks of it, they put on a great broadcast. In regards to the actual meet, the Cardinal stayed on a roll, marking a new season high of 417.8 in the win.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

This might be remembered as the coming out party for freshman Brody Malone (MPSF Gymnast of the Week). He put together the second-highest all-around score in the NCAA this season with an 84.55. Welcome to the NCAA. Here’s what the freshman had to say after his double-title (HB & AA) winning performance.

Fellow freshman Ian Gunther didn’t want Malone to completely steal the spotlight, however. Gunther competed on four events, winning two of them (PH & SR) and placing no lower than sixth anywhere.

With another major freshman class coming in next season, saying Stanford’s future is bright is the understatement of the century.

Other event winners for the Tree were Connor Lewis (FX), Bryan Perla (VT) and Blake Sun (PB).

The Cal Golden Bears, meanwhile, are hanging steady right around that mid-390 mark. Veteran Aaron Mah led his team in the all-around with an 80.1. That was the senior’s first time doing all six events this season and you can expect to see that a lot more moving forward.

To get to the important stuff, we need to talk about the electricity that freshman Darren Wong is bringing with these celebrations.

In all seriousness, Wong keeps bringing quality gymnastics for Cal and this week he earned a four-event (FX, PH, SR, VT) average of 13.8. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Michigan @ Minnesota

It was billed as a heated Big Ten matchup that would lend insight into each team’s chances of winning a title, and it lived up to the hype — No. 3 Michigan outpaced rival Minnesota last Saturday in a meet that altered the narrative of the Big Ten championship race.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Michigan, who was notably without Marty Stretch, scored a 413.15 to best No. 6 Minnesota’s 408.3. What was so remarkable about the meet was the shift from the week prior. The fact that both teams looked at least unrefined at Windy City and still put on their respective performances a week later underscores both the importance of the Big Ten regular season championship and how each team can rise to the competitive occasion.

That said, Michigan was simply better throughout the duration of the meet, save for some stumbles on high bar, which marked the only point of the meet when it looked like the momentum was shifting in favor of the Gophers. Sophomore Cameron Bock led the way for the Wolverines, posting an 84.7 in the all-around, the nation’s top score so far. Michigan also had an individual title on every event except for pommels, and as a team had the top score on every event except for p-bars.

Minnesota, like Michigan, drastically improved upon their performance at Windy City. Still, it wasn’t enough to keep up with the resurgence of their opponent. The events that hurt Minnesota the most were floor and rings: Michigan was about two points ahead of Minnesota on each. On the sunnier side, Shane Wiskus, the Gophers’ backbone, came away with a 82.9 while counting a fall on vault, so he’s well within Bock’s realm. Justin Karstadt claimed Minnesota’s lone event title with a 13.7 on pommels.

Importantly, this was each team’s first meet that counted toward the Big Ten regular-season championship. The takeaway is that Michigan is easily the second-favorite for that title, behind Illinois. Anyone who isn’t — at this point, at least — seriously considering Michigan as Illinois’ top rival is making a mistake. The Wolverines are back, and their unrelenting use of that hashtag (you know the one) gained some legitimacy last weekend. And Minnesota, whose prospects looked gloomy a week ago, showed they’re a lot more competitive than they first appeared.

To reiterate, the way each team rebounded from Windy City says a lot about their resiliency — and it augurs well for the hope for a heated Big Ten championships. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Iowa @ Illinois

In both team’s first taste of head-to-head conference action, Illinois was able to outlast the Hawkeyes in Champaign.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

For Illinois, the standout of the day was easily Johnny Jacobson. While we know what the senior can do on PB (B1G champion/NCAA All-American) we haven’t been able to see him completely put together an all-around day like he did on Saturday. His 81.95 was a career high and included a 13.95 on PB which earned him the event title.

Another important note for the Illini was the debut of freshman Hamish Carter. Competing on FX and HB, it wasn’t a banner day for the British Senior National Team member, but nonetheless, once he gets up to speed, he will inject some more difficulty for the Illini on multiple events. Fellow rookie Clay Stephens (B1G Freshman of the Week) grabbed a pair of runner-up finishes on the day.

Other Illini who picked up event titles on the day were Sebastian Quiana (FX), Michael Paradise (PH), Alex Diab (SR) and Ross Thompson (HB).

While it was just their second meet of 2019, Iowa was able to best their previous team score by exactly four points. Amazingly, four Hawkeyes competed in the all-around and all four scored 77.25+. Not many teams in the NCAA can say they have four guys with the ability to score that high.

Leading the group was Bennet Huang with an 80.15. Following him was Andrew Herrador (78.7), Evan Davis (78.35) and Jake Brodarzon (77.25).

Of that group, the one who stood out the most might’ve been freshman Evan Davis. The Cypress product competed with tons of fire for a rookie and was even pressed into a few situations where all eyes were on him, and he hit. It’s clear that he’s someone who J.D. Reive can seriously build around for the future.

As far as event titles go, Huang and Herrador shared the top spot on VT with a 14.55. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Nebraska @ Penn State

The crowd in Rec Hall this weekend was electric for the Penn State and Nebraska matchup. The Penn State women’s team faced off against Minnesota alongside the men’s competition, making for a great atmosphere.

Through all of the noise, the Big Ten regular season kicked off and it was the Nittany Lions who reigned supreme.

(via RoadToNatinonals.com)

Coming off an abysmal performance at West Point, this one had to have felt good for the Nittany Lions who were unable to win a single Big Ten home meet last year (0-3). The story of Penn State’s 14-point statement win really starts on the pommel horse where they put up a 67.250, counting two misses within that total. They are currently the number one pommel horse team in the country and have yet to put together a complete performance. It’s apparent Penn State has the highest ceiling in the country on this event; it is now a matter of executing. Look for Jack Baldwin and Nick Mock to be the difference makers on PH.

There were no more falls for Penn State after horse as they posted a 100% hit ratio for the remainder of the competition. They were tabbed to be a great rings team coming into the season, but very few people expected Isaac Hammett to be leading the way. The junior won the event in this one with a 13.800 and is now ranked No. 7 in the nation.

Sam Zakutney (Co-B1G Gymnast of the Week) did his usual thing – taking the floor title (14.250) and winning both parallel bars and high bar to close out the meet (13.750 and 14.700, respectively). Zakutney was joined by fellow Canadian Wyatt Tyndall at the back of the p-bars and high bar lineups, finishing third on the former with a 13.500.

Michael Burns who has struggled so far this season also came alive on Saturday. The senior contributed four solid scores, including a second place finish on high bar (14.050). Assistant Coach Tony Beck was satisfied with the performance, but still sees room for improvement. “I think overall the guys got a good feel of their potential and we still have a long way to go, but we are really happy with where we are at.”

Nebraska’s turbulent performance on Saturday was in no way indicative of what is to come for this team. To give some perspective: this was a team that finished No. 10 in the country in 2015 and has grown (in just four years) to a team consistently in the top-five conversation. One tough meet should not be enough to count this group out.

Anton Stephenson took home the lone title for the Cornhuskers on Vault (14.950), sticking his Yurchenko 2 ½ again.  His consistency on this event is truly unbelievable – we are witnessing something special.

The real bright spot for Nebraska came on high bar. This event was a weakness for them last year where they were ranked No. 9 in the country during the regular season. Although it is a small sample size, they are ranked No. 4 in 2019.  Dillan King, Khalil Jackson, Griffin Kehler and Jake Bonnay all looked great this past weekend. They will be a very strong HB line up as long as they can hit.

Assistant Coach John Robinson had this to say after the meet: “it was a pretty rough meet for us…but there is still time, we are not too concerned… we are gonna have to put it behind us and that’s okay. We are looking forward to getting back [in the gym] and grinding it out.”

The Big Ten regular season will roll on as Penn State starts 1-0 and Nebraska drops to 0-1. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Army @ Springfield

On a day where both teams set new season-highs, the Army Black Knights were able to grab a home victory over Springfield.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

It was the Cole Casanova (ECAC Gymnast of the Week) show for Army in this one; the senior racked up an 82.35 all-around score. That included event titles on FX, SR, VT, PB and HB (and AA).

Aside from Casanova having a career day — it was extremely encouraging to see Army post such a solid score without much from their second leading scorer, freshman Matt Davis. Davis competed on just one event, FX, where the Black Knights combined for a program-record 69.65. That’s the sixth-highest team score on FX in 2019.

For the Springfield Pride, Stephen Lewis continued his stellar season, leading the way with an 80.9 — his season-high by 2.5. It was highlighted by a meet-high 13.15 on PH. He also tied for the top score on PB with a 13.5. In all, four Springfield gymnasts placed within the top-five on that event.

Springfield will head for the Windy City next weekend while Army has a big one; they’ll host their arch-rival, Navy. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Navy @ William & Mary

Navy took a small step backward while William & Mary took a giant leap forward, but it was not enough to take down the Midshipmen.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Despite a six point regression from their previous showing, Navy was able to come out on top. The struggles came on parallel bars and high bar, with both event scores in the 62 range. It was an otherwise outstanding meet for Kip Simons’ group. It also marked a step forward for rookie Josh Williams (ECAC Rookie of the Week) who placed top-eight on all three of his events.

Pommel horse is becoming a huge strength for this team. Ryan Orce took second with a 14.250 and David Toussaint took third with a 14.200.  The two of them are now ranked No. 9 and No. 13 in the nation after leading their team to a 68.25 on the event.

William & Mary showed tremendous improvement in their first home competition of the year, besting their previous team high by just under eight points. The Tribe also featured Cutter Fuggett for the first time this season who tied for second on floor with a 13.500.

Andrew Lyubovsky had a great day taking home two event titles (PB, 13.750 and HB, 13.100). Jacopo Gliozzi took the pommel horse title (14.500) and came in second on rings (13.550) behind none other than his teammate David Watkins (ECAC Specialist of the Week). The Tribe will look to keep rolling behind Watkins who is shocking a lot of people this year. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.