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#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 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 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 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 5 Recap

Amazingly, we’re already five weeks into the NCAA season. Winter Cup is fast approaching, and before you know it, postseason will be bearing down upon us. Even though a few teams will enjoy a bit of a break here starting shortly, a few have already begun to find a groove. Oklahoma is doing Oklahoma things, Michigan is enjoying a resurgence and Stanford is doing everything they can to put themselves in the national title conversation.

Speaking of the Cardinal, a member of that team is the centerpiece of the One Thing We Learned this week:

Brody Malone Is The Next NCAA Superstar

In the NBA, and a couple of other professional sports, there’s something about athletes on the west coast that makes them fly under the radar. Well, I guess the main thing is that they’re usually starting games/matches/competitions while everyone on the east coast is settling into bed. In case that’s been you so far this season, let me clue you into the NCAA’s next superstar, Brody Malone:

I’d say that speaks for itself, but I’ll elaborate a bit. Though Malone came into his freshman year as arguably the top recruit in his class, there wasn’t a whole lot of chatter about his debut. He’s quickly changed things with two 84+ all-around performances in a row. His 84.55 from January 27 stands as the second-best single score this season behind Cameron Bock’s 84.7.

In a nutshell, it seems that we might have the NCAA’s next superstar on our hands. It will take a whole lot before we can put him into conversation alongside the Mikulak’s and Moldauer’s of the world, but you get my point.

It should be a lot of fun to follow Malone’s growth as a gymnast over the next four seasons.

Pac-12 Invitational

With the inaugural Big Ten regular season championship title on the line, most of the conversation has surrounded the teams itching for their shot at the trophy.  However, the four teams out west clearly wanted some shine for themselves as they all posted season-highs at the Pac-12 Invitational.  Stanford made the biggest statement with a 19+ point victory in Tempe.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

The Stanford Cardinal have found a new leader in freshman phenom Brody Malone. Just two years after Akash Modi’s departure, it looks like Thom Glielmi has already found another transcendent talent. Malone has been lights out so far in 2019 and was his usual self this past weekend. The freshman took home the all-around title with an 84.200 and placed in the top six on all six events.

Sophomore Andrew Bitner had a great performance as well, putting up an 81.100 in the all-around, good enough for fourth place. Grant Breckenridge finished right above him in third (81.750) and took second on high bar (13.700). Three Cardinal went 80+, reminding OU they are not the only team with multiple all-around threats.

David Jessen only competed on two events but made them count.  Jessen took home both the pommel horse (13.950) and high bar (13.750) titles.  Stanford will need more of the same from their pommel horse squad as this event is clearly their Achilles heel. All in all, it was another impressive showing for Stanford, but not enough to prove they are the top team. We will have to wait for MPSF Championships for them to have their shot at Oklahoma.

Cal posted a season high 398.800, inching closer and closer to jumping the 400 mark. They were led to a second place finish and it was once again Darren Wong who paced the Bears. His 80.900 was good enough for fifth place as the freshman continues to churn out solid performances. The Golden Bears have something very special in this guy. 

Fellow Canadian Aaron Mah was also great for Cal, including a 13.650 high bar set, earning him a third place finish. Cal has looked steady this year as they continue making incremental improvements meet after meet.  In order to really make the leap JT Okada will have to solve this team’s pommel horse issue, where they struggled again. Their 61.950 has now pulled them down to No. 14 in the country on the event.

Arizona State has now gone 390+ in three straight meets. They have been led by none other than Kiwan Watts who took second place in the all-around (82.550). Watts does have some company in Jordan Williams who finished in seventh with a 79.450. That included a huge second place vault (14.750). The pair of Sun Devils are blazing a path for their quickly-improving team.

Washington rounded out the field in fourth place, but posted a season-high team score at 376.800. Nathan Tsuji posted a sixth place finish (79.900) including a second place showing on floor (14.600). Similar to Cal, if the Huskies can figure out pommel horse, they will easily jump the 380 mark.  They posted a lackluster 56.350 this past weekend. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Ohio State at Michigan

The Buckeyes traveled up north this week to face the Wolverines and got their first taste of conference competition. A meet that was close after two events turned into an 11-point blowout with Michigan coming out on top.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Ohio State had the exact pommel horse rotation they needed to start off the competition. Alec Yoder led the charge with a meet-high 14.900 en route to a huge 68.100. All five counting scores were in the 13+ range.  Unfortunately, it all started to unravel from here for the Buckeyes.

Overall, it was a sloppy competition for Ohio State after pommel horse.  Multiple scores in the 11’s and 12’s popped up on the score sheet. This trend has continued for three meets now, and is surprising given some of the talent on their roster. 

There were some bright spots for the scarlet and gray, despite dropping to 0-1 within the Big Ten. Highly-touted recruit out of Canada, Jesse Tyndall, showed a spark on p-bars. The freshman posted a 13.900, good enough for a fourth place finish. Sean Neighbarger took home a pair of second place finishes as well (FX – 14.300, VT – 14.700). Ohio State did break the 400 barrier for the first time in 2019.

This meet was really about the reemergence of Michigan as a top team in the Big Ten. On a day that Cameron Bock was battling illness, his teammate Emyre Cole (B1G Gymnast of the Week) stepped up in a big way. The Las Vegas native had an outstanding competition, tallying an 84.100 all-around score. Cole also reeled in two first place event finishes (FX – 14.600 and VT – 14.750). The emergence of Cole as an all-around threat could be what really tips the scale in Michigan’s favor down the road.

Michigan won five of six events in the blowout and the help did not come from just upperclassmen. Freshman Kevin Penev stepped up in a big way after a shaky start to his NCAA career. Penev posted a 14.300 on floor to tie for second place. His 15.8 start value puts him just one-tenth behind reigning NCAA champ Yul Moldauer. Penev adds serious difficulty to an already scary floor lineup.

The Wolverines proved themselves as the frontrunners in the Big Ten after this weekend. Despite getting some favorable judging (take a look at rings to see for yourself), Michigan is a really talented team that can execute.  Our previous thoughts have been confirmed: Michigan is back. — Ben Cooperman

Check out full results here.

Oklahoma and Illinois @ Nebraska

No. 1 Oklahoma, to no one’s surprise, sailed to victory over Nebraska and Illinois in Lincoln last Saturday. Far more dramatic, however, was the battle for second place, which was won by the No. 7 Huskers.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Nebraska’s 401.25 was good enough to beat Big Ten rival Illinois, who finished with a 399.15 after a number of uncharacteristic mistakes. Nebraska didn’t just improve markedly on their performance against Penn State the prior week; they also demonstrated an ability to show up when it matters most: a Big Ten regular season championship matchup.

The No. 6 Illini struggled particularly on high bar — their 62.8 was a season-low by over a point, and it was more than two points behind Nebraska’s score on the event. Their horse score was also their lowest of the season by over a point, but it was surprisingly on par with the horse scores of Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Nebraska looked comfortable at home and stayed composed throughout the meet. Anton Stephenson had another solid day — save for p-bars — and claimed individual event titles on high bar (in a tie) and in the all-around.

Oklahoma looked sturdy throughout the meet. Their horse and high bar scores were low for them, though, and not all of that can be traced back to judging — OU did look weaker than usual on those two. Still, they earned individual titles on floor, vault, p-bars and high bar: Yul Moldauer won floor and p-bars, Tanner Justus won vault and Genki Suzuki tied for the high bar crown.

Illinois, despite the loss, had their highlights too. Michael Paradise planted one of the most clutch sets of this season to save his team’s horse lineup with a 14.95, which was the meet’s top score by 1.4. Alex Diab’s ring dominance remained indubitable as well; he won the event with a 14.65.

But the big story is the loss, as we know. This was a meet many had hoped the Illini would use to prove they were capable of at least challenging the Sooners, of making it a contest. Instead, they crumbled during a competition that they knew would impact their chances of winning the Big Ten regular season championship. Bad meets happen, but this was especially bad timing. The Illini will have to sit with that bitter result for a little while: They’re off this weekend, the following week is Winter Cup, and they’re off again the weekend after that. Their first meet back, on March 2, is at home against Minnesota and Stanford. It should be one of the regular season’s most intense matchups — if Minnesota can show up and if Stanford can remember how to compete east of the Mississippi. — Alex Wittenberg

Check out full results here.

Minnesota and UIC @ Iowa

Despite a season-best day from the Hawkeyes, Minnesota was able to escape the weekend with an all-important conference road victory thanks to their second-consecutive 406+ team score.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

“For some reason, Iowa has always been a tough place for us to compete so this was a very satisfying win for us. It was a tight meet back and forth and the lead changed hands a couple times throughout the afternoon,” Minnesota head coach, Mike Burns, told GopherSports.com. “Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never an easy thing to do so I’m proud of how these guys stuck together and how they managed the problems they ran into through the course of the afternoon and were able to bring home the victory.”

By no means was this a perfect day for the Gophers — they left Iowa City with a pair of sub-65 event scores (PH and HB) signaling plenty of room for growth.

https://twitter.com/GopherMGym/status/1092552908502126593

Among the positives was another 82 all-around score for their star, sophomore Shane Wiskus. The Minnesota native racked up four top-three event finishes, including meet-high scores on SR (13.7), PB (14.35) and HB (13.55). Other winning Gophers were freshman Eric Nakamura grabbing his first collegiate title on FX along with seniors Vitali Kan (VT) and Justin Karstadt (PH). That’s a nice combination of youth and experience showing out.

As I mentioned earlier, despite not coming out on top, Iowa had a nice showing in their first home meet. One thing that jumps out about the Hawkeyes is the success they continue to have on high bar in 2019. Iowa now ranks No. 5 in the NCAA on the event and their 66.05 on Saturday was one of the best scores of the weekend. Everyone knows how important HB is, and if the Hawkeyes can keep it up there, that’s a huge advantage for them.

Doing all six events for the third weekend in a row was Bennet Huang who has now racked up three-straight 79+ scores. That’s good enough to have him sitting at No. 16 in the NCAA rankings.

Team captain Jake Brodarzon also chipped in with a good afternoon, posting a pair of runner-up finishes on SR and VT.

The Flames of UIC took a slight step back, score-wise, from the last time they met with these teams just two weeks ago at the Windy City Invite. Sam Montague led his team with a season-high 69.9 all-around score, good enough for a top-five finish. — Logan Bradley

Check out full results from the tri-meet here.

Navy @ Army

Back in December, coaches of both Army and Navy explained to me that they had February 2 circled on the calendar. The rivalry between these two feels like something you can’t quite fully understand unless you’ve been on one of the two sides. I can tell you one thing from a pure observational standpoint: this head-to-head meet always means a lot to both teams.

This time around, the Navy Midshipmen were able to grab a very, very rare road win in a tight battle with Army.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

It truly went right down to the the last event, high bar, for both teams. As you can see, the Mids were able to overcome a slight deficit thanks a 66.9 on the event (the seventh-highest score across the NCAA on HB in 2019). Talk about stepping up, freshman Cash Buske was the eventual event winner, scoring a 13.6. To come up big in such a pressure-packed scenario says a lot about the first year gymnast.

All-in-all, there was no single star for Navy on Saturday. In fact, seven different Mids recorded at least one top-three finish. To have that type of depth speaks to the job that Kip Simons has done in recruiting and building this team.

I know it surely isn’t an adequate consolation prize, but the Army Black Knights were able to secure their highest team score of 2019 by over five points. In fact, this was Army’s highest score dating all the way back to February 4, 2017.

A few Knights chipped in on the effort, including Cole Casanova whose 80.9 was the top all-around score on the day. The senior also took home titles on VT and PB. Others securing titles were Matt Davis (FX), Matthew Martin (PH) and Taka Giese (SR). — Logan Bradley

Check out full results here.

Temple @ William & Mary

No. 15 William & Mary beat No. 20 Temple 388.5-342.65 on Saturday.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

William & Mary swept the event titles and kept close to 390, a mark they surpassed last weekend in their loss to Navy. Earning individual event titles were Cutter Fugett on floor and p-bars, Jacopo Gliozzi on pommels, David Watkins on rings, Jack Hasenkopf on vault and David Allen on high bar.

William & Mary is off until Feb. 23 when they face Army on the road.

Temple was weighed down most by their scores in the low-50s on pommels and high bar. Nicolino Dibattista, the meet’s only all around competitor, placed second on floor and finished with a 72.3 in the all-around.

Temple will get another crack at it on Feb. 24 when they face William & Mary and Springfield.

#NCAAMGym Week 3 Power Rankings

Every week we’ll be releasing a “Power Rankings” which aim 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 power 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 (-)

There is no question that Yul Moldauer is the best gymnast on Oklahoma, or in the NCAA for that matter. Despite the apparent resting of their top performer, OU has been able to remain dominant. Their depth has allowed for a new regular season MVP to emerge: Genki Suzuki.  His transformation from mostly competing as a pommel horse specialist to an all-around stud has been astounding. As long as Moldauer remains out of the all-around, it’s Suzuki who paces No. 1 Oklahoma. — Ben Cooperman

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

Stanford again performed well enough to give legitimacy to the claim that they’re OU’s top contender — although their 406.3 was a far cry from the Sooners’ 418.55. Stanford needs to be hitting consistently above 410 to remain relevant in the NCAA-upset conversation. Better showings on pommels and high bar will help get them there. — Alex Wittenberg

3. Illinois Fighting Illini (-)

There has been a lot of talk about freshmen this season, a conversation that should be started with Illinois. After Michael Fletcher shined in week two, it was Clay Stephens showing out in week three. It is quite possible that Hamish Carter jumps into the conversation as well. The Fighting Illini could have three gymnasts in the conversation for freshman of the year – that’s scary. — Ben Cooperman

4. Michigan Wolverines (+1)

We finally got to see what to expect from Michigan last Saturday, and the takeaway was still somewhat uncertain. While star sophomore Cameron Bock shone, freshman Kevin Penev stumbled. Still, Michigan was right on Illinois’ heels, and if Penev can clean it up, they could be quite good. We’ll know a lot more about the team after seeing how they fare against Minnesota this weekend, in each team’s first Big Ten regular-season championships face-off. — Alex Wittenberg

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (+2)

Nebraska didn’t compete in week three but will open up their B1G slate this weekend on the road against Penn State.

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (-2)

Was this week’s issues on PB (60.9) and HB (61.35) the result of an off afternoon, or does it signal a deeper problem for the Nittany Lions? That remains to be seen, but meltdowns aren’t going to fly once Penn State dives into its conference slate, starting this weekend. — Logan Bradley

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-1)

What Minnesota has done so far this year is a testament to how far their program has come. After a second place NCAA finish, the Gophers still look hungry even after losing an outstanding group of seniors. Still, the Gophers won’t truly reach their full potential unless they can shake early season struggles on pommel horse and rings. — Ben Cooperman

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (-)

Ohio State didn’t compete last weekend, but the Buckeyes are looking to improve upon their performance at the Rocky Mountain Open, where they were beat by conference foes Nebraska and Minnesota. They face OU in Norman this weekend, an especially tough atmosphere in which to compete. How Ohio manages that challenge will lend insight into how they’ll make out this season. — Alex Wittenberg

9. California Golden Bears (+2)

Darren Wong and Aaron Mah led Cal to a solid Week 3 showing that was an improvement over Week 2. But Cal was still about four points away from 400. A big question this season will be whether Cal can consistently hit 400+ and secure themselves in the top 10. — Alex Wittenberg

10. Iowa Hawkeyes (-1)

The Hawkeyes made their debut this past weekend with a fourth place finish in Chicago. The bright spot for them came on high bar where they posted a 66.550, good enough for the current No. 3 spot in the country. Iowa will head back to the state of Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini this coming weekend. — Ben Cooperman

11. Navy Midshipmen (-1)

It took Navy until Feb. 3 to reach the 400-point mark in 2018. In 2019? Jan. 19. Granted, it’s early, but the Midshipmen look like they’ll have a strong grip on the ECAC this season. There’s room to grow, too. As a team they’ve averaged just a 63.375 on PB through two weeks of competition. — Logan Bradley

12. Army Black Knights (+1)

It’s clear that Army is an improved team. If I’m the Black Knights, I’m happy having ended last week’s competition within six points of Penn State. It should be a lot of fun watching freshman Matt Davis grow this season and learn alongside fellow all-arounder, and senior, Cole Casanova. — Logan Bradley

13. Air Force Falcons (+1)

The deeper NCAA field does not bode well for Air Force.  The Falcons have been a consistent top-12 team for several years.  With the reemergence of Army, this team is going to be in a tough race to stamp their ticket to the NCAA Championships in April. — Ben Cooperman

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (-2)

ASU notched a 392.5 in Week 3, which wasn’t good enough to beat Air Force. Kiwan Watts had another good day, however, putting up an all-around score of 82.25. Arizona State is a legitimate competitor, and if they can overcome some struggles, like last week’s pommels, they could inch closer to 395. — Alex Wittenberg

15. William & Mary Tribe (-)

The Tribe has a high bar problem and it was evident this past weekend when they lost nearly nine points to Navy on the single event alone. One William & Mary gymnast enjoying a nice early part of the year is David Watkins. The senior is No. 4 nationally on SR based off average score. — Logan Bradley

16. Springfield Pride (-)

The Pride showed great improvement last week at the Navy Open and were able to continue to develop their young team. Springfield has their first home meet this coming weekend against Army where they will look to continue the positive trend. — Ben Cooperman

17. Washington Huskies (-)

Washington scored a 370.15 at Windy City last Saturday to beat UIC. It’s becoming an old refrain here, but Washington struggled severely on pommels, scoring a 55.45. Washington should focus on getting pommels and high bar above 60 and continue nourishing Nathan Tsuji to jump up in the rankings. — Alex Wittenberg

18. UIC Flames (-)

The Flames are obviously reeling from losing valuable gymnasts to transfer, but they’ve still got young gymnasts stepping up. Xan Weaver and Sam Montague (freshman and sophomore, respectively) both cracked the top-20 in the all-around at the Windy City Invite. — Logan Bradley