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#NCAAMGym Week 5 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 (-)

Oklahoma bested Nebraska and Illinois last Saturday to add another win to their streak. The Sooners did struggle somewhat on horse and high bar, but the errors were hardly enough to dull the usual OU pomp. They face Iowa next weekend in what should be something of a repeat. Expect some of the mainstays to be sitting out on some events to rest before Winter Cup. — Alex Wittenberg

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

While Stanford’s 418 from last weekend probably wasn’t an actual 418, it was still a great showing from a great team. I want to use this space to wonder aloud how judges are still so massively off at certain meets, but that’s not what the Power Rankings are for. To get back on track: I’m already excited to see what Brody Malone will be able to do on a national stage at NCAA Championships. — Logan Bradley

3. Michigan Wolverines (+1)

Five weeks into the season and Michigan finds themselves in a terrific spot.  Cameron Bock is a legit top-five all-arounder. Emyre Cole has transitioned from a FX, VT guy to an all-around stud, Kevin Penev is coming alive and to top it all off: they are currently first place in the Big Ten regular season standings. All is well in Ann Arbor. — Ben Cooperman

4. Minnesota Golden Gophers (+2)

Minnesota again distanced themselves from their early-season struggles, beating the Iowa Hawkeyes on their home turf last Saturday. In Illinois’ loss to Nebraska, Minnesota gained new optimism about their chances in the Big Ten regular season race. They face Arizona State at home this weekend, which should make for a good opportunity to stride forward further. — Alex Wittenberg

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (-)

Penn State was off last weekend but will return to the competition this weekend as they travel to Chicago to face UIC and Springfield. — Logan Bradley

6. Illinois Fighting Illini (-3)

The Fighting Illini took the biggest tumble down the rankings after a devastating Big Ten defeat at the hands of Nebraska. While this loss does not bode well for their chance at the regular season title, there is no reason for Illinois to panic. This team is young. After the senior class they lost, it is only natural for them to stumble. The Illini will be back, hungrier than ever the next time they take the floor. — Ben Cooperman

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-)

Nebraska is sitting pretty after upsetting rival Illinois in Lincoln last Saturday. It was a huge improvement for the Huskers, whose 395.0 against Penn State the week before seemed to be symptomatic of a rocky Big Ten season. They’ve done away with that notion for now. The Huskers are off this weekend but face Minnesota, whom they beat at the Rocky Mountain Open, at home on Feb. 23. — Alex Wittenberg

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (-)

Iowa has been consistently sitting in the 8-9 range so far in 2019. Even though at times it has felt like there’s a significant gap between the top-seven and the Hawkeyes, they proved otherwise last weekend. Finishing within five points of a solid Minnesota squad should give the rest of the NCAA pause for concern when matching up with Iowa. Nobody expects the Hawks to beat Oklahoma this weekend, but keeping the deficit within single-digits would be a victory in itself. — Logan Bradley

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (-)

Ohio State clearly has not started the season the way they were hoping to.  On a brighter note: wherever there is struggle, there is room for growth. It will be interesting to see how this team handles the adversity going forward, more specifically, looking at freshman Jesse Tyndall and Angel Leon.  Both of these two have extremely high ceilings. — Ben Cooperman

10. Navy Midshipmen (+1)

Navy, by less than a point, prevailed over Army in a dogfight of a meet that the rival teams had been anticipating since the start of the season. More impressive yet, Navy did it on the road. The Midshipmen have real talent in their ranks, evidenced by their clutch high bar performance to seal the win. They’re at home this weekend against Army and Air Force (All-Academy Championships). Expect another battle. — Alex Wittenberg

11. Cal Golden Bears (-1)

Despite a season-best team score, Cal falls one spot in this week’s rankings. Such is the nature of the beast. Though they were handily beat by their BFF (Stanford), their day was still highlighted by a 70.3 FX rotation — the eighth-single rotation we’ve seen from a team on that event in 2019. Still, (cover your ears/eyes if you’re sick of hearing it) pommel horse continues to bite. It’s the only event that the Golden Bears fall outside of the top-13 nationally. — Logan Bradley

12. Army Black Knights (-)

Despite a great performance this past weekend, Army came up just shy of beating Navy in the highly-anticipated matchup. There is still reason for the Black Knights to be optimistic moving forward, they are currently sitting at No. 12, meaning a trip to Champaign in April if they can sustain this success. — Ben Cooperman

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

Air Force didn’t compete last weekend, but expect the Falcons to come prepared for a fight against Navy and Army this Saturday. — Alex Wittenberg

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (-)

I really wish Arizona State was afforded the opportunity to compete against more top-10 teams. The Sun Devils came within three points of an improved Cal team at the Pac-12 Invitational and could certainly put a scare into many teams ahead of them in these rankings. It’s also a shame that Kiwan Watts doesn’t get the national attention that he probably deserves. — Logan Bradley

15. William & Mary Tribe (-)

The Tribe had another solid performance this weekend and featured a healthy Cutter Fugett. William and Mary will get a few weeks of rest as they prepare for their back-to-back matchups on the road February 23 and 24. — Ben Cooperman

16. Springfield Pride (-)

Springfield didn’t compete last weekend. They face Penn State and UIC this Sunday. Springfield hit 388 in their last meet, and it’d be huge if they can again manage to get close to the 390 mark. — Alex Wittenberg

17. Washington Huskies

Though they finished a distant fourth at the Pac-12 Invitational, last weekend marked a season-high for the Huskies. They continue to be buoyed by all-arounder Nathan Tsuji whose 79.9 placed him just outside the top-five. The major hurdles for this team are PH and HB. If you took the average of their other four events at Pac-12’s, Washington was on pace for a 392.775. — Logan Bradley

18. UIC Flames (-)

UIC posted another score in the 350’s this past weekend as the No. 3 team in a tightly-contested B1G meet. The Flames will host Springfield and Penn State this coming weekend as they try to crack the 360 mark. — Ben Cooperman

#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 4 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 (-)

It took until Feb. 24 last year for Oklahoma to break the 420-mark. This season it happened on Jan. 26, nearly a month earlier. Yul Moldauer has yet to compete more than four events in a single meet. Translation: they’re probably only going to get better. — Logan Bradley

2. Stanford Cardinal (-)

Stanford’s 417.8 was a 10+ point improvement from the week prior, and it put the team in spitting distance of the coveted 420. Still, it’s a stretch to say that Stanford is anything but second-best, and the fact that they don’t face an opponent who can legitimately challenge them until March 2 makes assessing the team’s potential particularly difficult. That said, these no-pressure meets are great for a team’s confidence. Perhaps Stanford can use another relatively easy meet this weekend to make a bigger statement. Now would be the time, too; defeating Illinois will be no walk in the park for OU. — Alex Wittenberg

3. Illinois Fighting Illini (-)

The good news from last weekend: Hamish Carter made his collegiate debut and looks to be ready to make a positive impact on a number of events for the Illinois. The bad news from last weekend: Danny Graham suffered a season-ending injury in warm-ups. The junior ring-man looked significantly improved from last year, making it a serious blow to the Illini SR lineup. — Logan Bradley

4. Michigan Wolverines (-)

The “MGymDynasty” hashtag has been used desperately out of place over the past few years. With OU taking the last four NCAA Championships and a win streak of over 100 and counting, I don’t think there’s any doubt whose world we are living in. But maybe Cameron Bock and the 2019 Michigan Wolverines are here to bring the program back into the light.  Their statement win on Saturday certainly showed they are capable. — Ben Cooperman

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)

Penn State put up another impressive performance in their defeat of Nebraska last weekend — their 409.7 kept them in the cohort of the top teams in the Big Ten. But the Nittany Lions are off this weekend, and they don’t face another Big Ten rival until March 2. So we’ll have to wait a bit to see how PSU handles tougher competition. — Alex Wittenberg

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)

The Gophers have been solid this year, but they kicked it up a notch with their latest showing. Minnesota posted a season-high 408.300 behind Shaun Herzog’s electric vaultShane Wiskus quietly put up an 82.900 this weekend that got lost in some of the other big all-around scores. If Wiskus can continue to get closer to his potential, this team will go as far as he takes them. — Ben Cooperman

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (-2)

Nebraska’s 395.0 at Penn State was the lowest team score for the Huskers over the last three seasons. We don’t need to make any knee-jerk assumptions based off a single meet, but usually a team will go one of two directions following a disappointing weekend. We’ll see just how mentally tough this team is with Oklahoma and Illinois coming to town on Saturday. — Logan Bradley

8. Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)

The Hawkeyes had a lot of doubters coming into this season, but they have outperformed expectations thus far. Iowa took on Illinois this weekend in a tough competitive environment and still managed to best their previous performance by five points. Evan Davis and Bennet Huang will be a powerful duo for the rest of the season and beyond. — Ben Cooperman

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (-1)

Ohio State had another disappointing showing in their meet against OU last weekend. Competing in Norman is no easy task, but the Buckeyes’ 395.4 was far behind the top Big Ten teams’ weekend scores. OSU will need to conjure up some strength they haven’t yet possessed to put up a fight against a Michigan team rallying from a huge win against Minnesota. OSU needs to prove this weekend that they’re still a serious contender. — Alex Wittenberg

10. California Golden Bears (-1)

It was another solid one for Cal last Sunday against Stanford. The Golden Bears scored a 395.4 to keep consistent with where they’ve been so far this season. However, Cal is a team who can hit 400. Bump up pommels and high bar a couple points each, and that benchmark is tangible. Cal will go against Stanford, Arizona State and Washington in the Pac-12 Invitational this weekend. Let’s see if they can further channel the team’s electricity into a season-high performance. — Alex Wittenberg

11. Navy Midshipmen (-)

  • FX/PH/SR/VT average: 67.4
  • PB/HB average: 62.325

Those averages are from Navy’s meet against William & Mary last weekend. It’s no secret you’re going to get higher scores on events like FX, SR and VT, but those averages need to even out a bit more for Navy to be competitive with team’s consistently ranked No. 1-10. — Logan Bradley

12. Army Black Knights (-)

A 395 with just one event from their second-best all-arounder (Matt Davis) is a great sign for an Army team that seems to be making strides in 2019. The area of concern remains parallel bars for the Black Knights — their 63.633 average ranks No. 14 in the NCAA. — Logan Bradley

13. Air Force Falcons (-)

It was a bye weekend for the Falcons who will remain dark until the always-important All-Academy Championships on February 9. — Logan Bradley

14. Arizona State Sun Devils (-)

Arizona State didn’t compete last weekend, but they face off against Cal, Stanford and Washington in the Pac-12 Invitational this weekend. The Sun Devils could put some legitimate pressure on Cal; they’ve only been about three points behind the Bears in their last two meets. A tussle between those two would be mutually beneficial: Cal needs a real opponent because they can’t touch Stanford, and ASU needs an underdog story. — Alex Wittenberg

15. William & Mary Tribe (-)

A lot of awesome news has been popping up for William & Mary lately.  David Watkins has been quite the storyline this year with his No. 3 ranking in the country on rings. Jacopo Gliozzi had a tremendous performance this past weekend and it was announced he will receive the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy. Advancements in theoretical physics will have to wait as Gliozzi and the Tribe continue to impress on the competition floor. — Ben Cooperman

16. Springfield Pride (-)

It was a nice weekend for Springfield who was forced to count only three scores below a 12.0. With the exception of floor, they really hung with Army, even defeating the Black Knights on PH, SR and PB. If they can follow up this performance with something similar on Feb. 10 in Chicago, a top-three ECAC finish will be well within sight. — Logan Bradley

17. Washington Huskies (-)

Washington didn’t compete last weekend. They’re going against Stanford, Cal and Arizona State this weekend at the Pac-12 Invitational. Washington is looking to improve on their somewhat disappointing performance at the Windy City Invitational — their 370.15 was about six points less than what they put up in their season opener. — Alex Wittenberg

18. UIC Flames (-)

The Flames did not compete this weekend and will take on Iowa and Minnesota in their next matchup. — Ben Cooperman

#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.

#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

#NCAAMGym Week 3 Recap

We’re off and running with the 2019 #NCAAMGym campaign and so far, it’s a great one. This weekend featured a massive 418.55 from Oklahoma and a plethora of other highly-contested meets.

Before we get to the individual recaps, here’s One Thing We Learned from the week.

The NCAA Field Is Deep

During the 2018 season, it felt like there was a very obvious drop-off in talent once you got outside of the top eight or ten teams. This season, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Two teams that this has a lot to do with is Cal and Army. Both seem to have stepped their game up a lot in 2019 thanks to an influx of young, legitimate talent. Still, it’s not just those two. Plenty of other teams outside of the top-eight seem determined to make a statement. This is only good news for gymnastics fans as it should only make the fight for those twelve NCAA spots more interesting.

Another point that stems from this argument that the field feels deeper is that this year’s freshman class is a great one. It feels as though each team is trotting our one or two freshman who are already significantly important to their squad’s success. Props to you, class of 2019.

Air Force/Arizona State @ Oklahoma

The winners of the last four NCAA championships kicked off their home opener in true Oklahoma fashion, notching the top score in the country while besting Stanford’s previous mark by a healthy seven points.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

OU started on the floor exercise where they put up monster numbers.  Vitaliy Guimaraes (14.450), Gage Dyer (14.350) and Tanner Justus (14.300) took home the top three scores in the meet. They combined for a 43.100, a number that would have put them in second place on floor at the 2018 World Championships. This was of course without the reigning NCAA floor champion, Yul Moldauer.

Speaking of Moldauer, he only competed one event in this one, posting a 15.100 on rings to take the title. It says something that Oklahoma is able do all of this without their MVP on five events. Regardless, the Sooners made splashes on vault (73.000), rings (71.200) and high bar (68.450), as well as the aforementioned floor exercise (71.100).

Pommel horse is shaping up to be a slight weakness for Oklahoma. Genki Suzuki (NCAA Gymnast of the Week) won the title with a 13.700, a score that’s a far cry from some of the other numbers this team is flashing. The 66.350 from Saturday could be misleading given the absence of Moldauer.

Air Force improved upon last week’s performance by over 12 points to take second place in Norman. A tweet from Mark Williams tells us that the Falcons hit an impressive 35 of 36 routines.

It is even more astounding that their performance came this early in the season. Contributions came from all over the roster.

The big story for Air Force so far this season is what they have gotten from Lukas Texeira on high bar. Texeira earned a share of the title again this week with his 14.100. The senior has already made me look silly for leaving his name off the list of high bar contenders.

Arizona State finished in third place, just shy of their season-high tally.  Kiwan Watts (GymACT Gymnast of the Week)led the way for the Sun Devils with a huge 82.250 all-around score. Watts also tied for second place on parallel bars with a 13.850.  Jordan Williams chipped in with a nice high bar performance taking fourth place (13.800). Arizona State is really starting to make some waves this season. — Ben Cooperman

See full results here.

The Stanford Open

It wasn’t quite the 411 from week two, but the Stanford Cardinal was still able to come out of this weekend with a comfortable 10+ point victory at the Stanford Open.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Stanford has always been known as a great FX/VT team, but they might be taking it a step further this season. At the moment, it looks like they may be the only team capable of staying with OU on those two events.

Leading the charge for the Cardinal this week was Bryan Perla taking home the FX title, followed by his teammate, Bailey Perez. Perla wasn’t a big name coming out of the J.O. program, but certainly many are taking notice of him now.

As for VT, it was freshman Brody Malone taking the title, followed closely (just .05) by Connor Lewis. The other Stanford event winners were Grant Breckenridge on PB and Thomas Lee on SR (tie).

If there’s one event Stanford will have to figure out, it’s PH. For the second week in a row they failed to reach 65 as a team or record a single score higher than 13.65.

Cal, the runner-up, has to have plenty to like about their 3.4-point increase in scoring from week one. It is confirmed: the Golden Bears have a star-in-the-making with freshman Darren Wong(NCAA Rookie of the Week). Against a highly-competitive field, Wong took the all-around title (81.0) by over a point. He also finished on top of the PH podium. The sample size is small, but Wong should be vying for all-around All-America honors when NCAA’s roll around.

Other Golden Bear winners were Harrison Plate (SR) and Aaron Mah (HB). — Logan Bradley

See full results here.

Windy City Invite

On Saturday night in Chicago the Fighting Illini won the Windy City Invitational for the fifth-straight year, persevering through the early-season turbulence that dogged their rivals.

The No. 4 Illini scored a 403.15 to come out ahead of Michigan and Minnesota, who rounded out the top three. Illinois also earned four individual event titles: freshman Clay Stephens (B1G Freshman of the Week) won floor and tied for first on vault, junior Michael Paradise won pommels, and senior Alex Diab won rings.

No. 5 Michigan placed second with a 402.0 to kick off their season. Sophomore Cameron Bock (B1G Gymnast of the Week) won the all-around title, junior Mitchell Brown won parallel bars and Justin Hopgood won high bar. The Wolverines will face rival Minnesota in Minneapolis next weekend in both teams’ first Big Ten regular season championship matchup.

No. 7 Minnesota scored a 399.8, which was good enough for third. Senior Vitali Kan tied for the vault title, and senior Shaun Herzog placed second in the all around. Minnesota, in keeping with tradition, was bedeviled by pommel horse, where their 62.8 changed the tone of their night after a relatively strong start on high bar and floor.

The No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes placed fourth with a 394.8. The Hawkeyes displayed a fresh energy and looked especially poised on high bar, where they were just narrowly edged out by the Illini for the highest team score of the meet on the event.

No. 17 Washington and No. 18 UIC placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Washington’s Nathan Tsuji tied for seventh on floor. UIC was composed and energetic competing at home, but there was some gloom hanging over the arena — this could have very well been the last Windy City.

The Windy City Invitational is often seen as a window into how the Big Ten season will take shape. On the one hand, this year was no different: Illinois again looks to be the best team in the conference. On the other hand, the meet was without Ohio State and Nebraska, and though there’s always pressure to separate oneself early among conference competitors, the tenor of the regular season will markedly shift next week, when a Big Ten title is at stake. Because this meet had no bearing on the Big Ten regular-season championship, its importance pales in comparison to the regular-season matchups in the coming weeks.

There is the possibility, of course, that the team who wins the regular-season championship will be different from the team who wins the real one. But the point is that the Windy City this year wasn’t the litmus test for the Big Ten standings like it’s often viewed to be. We’ll instead learn a lot more about the nature of each team — under pressure, on the road, against conference foes — in the coming weeks, when a championship is on the line. — Alex Wittenberg

See full results here.

Navy Open

Navy made a statement this weekend, taking home the Navy Open title in their own MacDonough Hall in Annapolis, Maryland. More importantly, they broke the 400-point barrier, a feat they accomplished just four times last year.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

Despite being a young team, it has been junior Lucas Beltran who has emerged as the early season MVP for the Midshipmen. Beltran took home first place finishes on two events (FX – 14.100, VT – 14.700) as well as a third place finish (SR – 13.850). Josh Williams built on his debut performance competing three events once again and grabbing a second place finish on rings (14.100).

Navy showed that they can be great on high bar, an event that has not been kind to many teams this year. Their 65.800 was good enough for fifth place in the country this week. Of the five scores that counted, there was only a six tenth spread between the low and the high (12.900-13.500).  The ability to avoid a disastrous score was the key for Navy. The Midshipmen took the top five scores on the event and were led by freshman Cash Buske (13.500).

Another interesting note from this one is how Kip Simons spread the workload amongst his team. Not a single gymnast competed on more than three events for Navy. This strategy could pay dividends in the long term, keeping everyone fresh over the long NCAA season.

The battle for second place was a great one as William & Mary prevailed over Springfield by a mere 1.25 points. David Watkins had a tremendous performance on still rings once again, taking the title with a 14.350.  If he can stay great on this event, he will have a shot at All-American honors representing the Tribe. Jacopo Gliozzi joined his teammate in earning a Navy Open title with a tie on pommel horse (13.500)Tomas Palma also showed improvement taking a sixth place finish on floor (13.200).

Despite the narrow loss, Springfield had a very encouraging performance.  The Pride were able to top their previous performance by 6.4 points.  After losing six seniors and 20 routines from last year, the upward trajectory is a great sign for what is to come for this young team. Head Coach Matt Davis said after the competition, “all of these early meets are gaining experience for the freshman and even some of the sophomores…coming in, we have the goal of not worrying about the other teams and if we do the little things right, good stuff will happen…for us it was very encouraging.”

Stephen Lewis had another great performance, taking home the all-around title with a 77.800. Trevor Lamberton also joined him in the all-around grabbing third place with a 74.350 – a 2.15 point improvement from his previous performance.

Lucas Wilcox was not initially in the lineups, but found himself having to go after some injuries during warm-up. Wilcox stepped up big for the Pride, scoring a 12.900 on vault to keep his team on their way to a season high 378.650.

Temple was able to improve on their opening performance by almost 50 points. This was a result of stacking full lineups, something they were not able to do at the West Point Open. It was great to see the Owls fill out a full team and set a new high water mark for their 2019 season. Temple was led by Nicolino Dibattista who took a second place in the all-around with a 75.050. — Ben Cooperman

See full results here.

Penn State @ Army

Despite some big-time struggles on a pair of events, Penn State was still able to pull out a victory out at West Point this weekend.

(via RoadToNationals.com)

One quick look at those scores will tell the full tale of how the Nittany Lions’ day went. Following the day’s first four events (FX, PH, SR and VT), Penn State was on pace for a white-hot 411.35.

Then PB and HB happened. PSU was forced to count scores of 10.25 on PB along with an 11.0 and 11.45 on HB. I don’t need to explain why this is not good in a five-up-five-count scenario.

Still, team scores of 69.6 on FX and 68.8 on SR should instill some confidence. Sam Zakutney was the team leader, and event title winner, on FX with a 14.4 while the Nittany Lions swept the top-three spots on SR with Greg Tamargo, Isaac Hammett and Parker Clayton all going 13.85+.

Other Penn State event winners were Stephen Nedoroscik on PH, Brady Yamamoto/Brayden Borromeo on VT and Favian Valdez on HB.

Though Army lost, they’ve got to be proud of how they competed. The Black Knights were able to take two team event titles (PB and HB). Breakout performance of the week undoubtedly goes to freshman Matt Davis. Davis earned his first-ever all-around title with an 80.15 that included top-three finishes on FX, PB and HB. He and Cole Casanova (PB event winner) form a high-quality one-two punch for Army. — Logan Bradley

See full results here.

2019 CGA Preseason Coaches Poll

The College Gymnastics Association has released its 2019 CGA Preseason Coaches Poll. They are based off of each (20) schools receiving a single vote.

To nobody’s surprise, the Oklahoma Sooners (419 points) top the poll having received 19 of the 20 possible votes. As they go for their fifth-consecutive NCAA title, they will do so while returning the best gymnast in the nation, Yul Moldauer. Moldauer returns to Norman for his senior year having already won seven individual NCAA titles. Coming in at No. 2 is the Stanford Cardinal (390 points) with a single first place vote. Stanford returns a few key seniors (including Grant Breckenridge) but it’s their impressive freshman class that could separate them from other teams. At No. 3 is the Illinois Fighting Illini (366 points). Justin Spring’s squad will hope to use the momentum of a B1G team title to propel them on to a successful 2019 season. They will be dealing with the departure of a few key gymnasts including, but not limited to, Bobby Baker, Chandler Eggleston and Brandon Ngai. The No. 4 spot belongs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers (353 points). Similar to the Illini, the Gophers will be dealing with a massive exodus of important talent. Their momentum will come in the form of a runner-up finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Rounding out the top-five we have the Michigan Wolverines (324 points). This young team is now a year older and will return a pair of key gymnasts, Cameron Bock and Jacob Moore, who are now sophomores.

Moving down the line to No. 6 is the Ohio State Buckeyes (323 points). No doubt, the face of this team is Alec Yoder who will return for his final season in a OSU uniform. Sorely missed will be his former partner-in-crime, Sean Melton. Following Ohio State at No. 7 is the Nebraska Cornhuskers (313 points). The losses of gymnasts like Kyle King and Christopher Stephenson will be felt, though the latter’s brother, Anton Stephenson, is still there to help the Huskers. Lincoln will be home to an intriguing group of newcomers as well. The eight spot belongs to the Penn State Nittany Lions (301 points). Fortunately for PSU, they will be returning a vast majority of their team, including two-time pommel horse national champion Stephen Nedoroscik and All-American Sam Zakutney. No. 9 is JD Reive’s Iowa Hawkeyes (267 points). Reive’s squad is fairly young and will feature a pair of talented sophomores in Bennet Huang and and Addison Chung. Claiming the final spot in the top-ten is the defending ECAC champion Navy Midshipmen (225 points). The Mids will feature just three seniors in 2019 to go along with their top freshman, Josh Williams.

The remaining ten teams go as follows:

11. California (217 points)
12. Air Force (208 points)
13. William & Mary (171 points)
14. Arizona State (158 points)
15. Army (153 points)
16. Springfield College (117 points)
17. Washington (100 points)
18. UIC (91 points)
19. Temple (57 points)

20. SC United (47 points)

“After a lengthy preseason of preparation, the 2019 NCAA season is rapidly approaching,” said CGA President and Minnesota head coach, Mike Burns. “After one of the most well-attended and closely contested NCAA Championships held at UIC last April, these teams will soon be doing battle again in the very near future. The release of the CGA Preseason Coaches Poll is the green light letting the thousands of fans of college gymnastics know that it’s time to get ready to witness some outstanding athletes performing some outstanding skills in what will prove to be some epic contests between powerhouse programs. It’s going to be another exciting season of NCAA Men’s Gymnastics and you won’t want to miss any of it!”

The majority of teams’ seasons will get underway the weekend of January 11 (with meets like the West Point Open and Rocky Mountain Open). The conclusion of the 2019 campaign will come at the NCAA Championships in Champaign, IL on April 19-20.

Make sure to follow all of the action this season on the CGA’s social accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.