#NCAAMGym Week 6 Recap

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

Here's the One Thing We Learned this week:

Cal Should Compete For A Spot In Super Six

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

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

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

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

Stanford @ Cal

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/StanfordMGym/status/1095032042331418624

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

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

https://twitter.com/CalMGym/status/1094486437909667841

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

Check out full results here.

Arizona State @ Minnesota

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/CollegeMGym/status/1094368961435717635

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

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

Check out full results here.

Oklahoma @ Iowa

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/OU_MGymnastics/status/1094340384145227776

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

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

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

Check out full results here.

All-Academy Championships

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

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/NavyAthletics/status/1095474589445120001

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

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

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

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

Check out full results here.

Penn State and Springfield @ UIC

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

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

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

https://twitter.com/CollegeMGym/status/1095399730312593410

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIlMstjk95M

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

Check out full results here.

UncategorizedLogan Bradley