Posted on 04 March 2013 by admin
In the weekend’s marquee matchup, top-ranked Penn State (438.90) traveled west of the Poconos for the first time this season to prevail over Illinois (436.25), in their closest contest thus far. It came down to the final event (PB) for the Nittany Lions, as they were trailing by 1.25 points, thanks to the Illini’s season-best effort on PB (74.25). Unfortunately for the host team, Penn State’s team average on PB is a good four points higher than the Illinois’ team average on their final event (HB). The visitors hit 5-for-5 on PB, led by freshman Trevor Howard’s meet-high 15.25 to seal the win. This was the first weekend for implementing the new 5-up/5-count format, and it definitely created more excitement. Overall team scoring was lower, probably taking into account a little more tentativeness, as no team had the luxury of throwing out a low score. In this meet, PH accounted for both teams’ season lowest scores on that event (69.95-68.95). For the first time this season, Penn State failed to hit the 440 mark, but neither did any other team this weekend. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
Illinois appears to have turned the corner, turning in their 2nd-straight outstanding team effort. They won five out of six event titles, led by Yoshi Mori’s two titles on FX (15.20) and PH (14.90). Top-ranked ring man Mike Wilner exploded to another career high on SR (15.90), while freshmen Fred Hartville (VT-15.20) and Joey Peters (HB-T1st-14.80) added to the team title haul. Penn State compiled the weekend’s highest team score to keep their top ranking intact. 5-up/5-count certainly didn’t impede on their top-ranked status on SR, as they absolutely blew up on that event (77.25). All five gymnasts hit for 15+, led by Scott Rosenthal (15.65). In fact, the lowest score recorded by the team was a 15.05 by freshman Alexis Torres. Meanwhile, Felix Aronovich captured another AA title (87.10), along with achieving outstanding scores on FX (15.10), SR (15.55) and PB (15.20). Howard turned in clutch performances on all three events he competed (SR-15.60, VT-15.10, PB-15.25). His PB score was good enough for the title, and Matt Felleman tied on HB (14.80) to win Penn State’s only other title.
Four different Sooners (435.85) won event titles, as Oklahoma won their road dual meet against Nebraska (426.35). Oklahoma nearly hit their season team average (436.442), and Nebraska exceeded their’s (421.85), so their first cracks at the new format can be deemed a success. Stanton Rehkemper’s career-high on HB (14.85) and Alec Robin’s two-title effort (FX-15.20, AA-86.25) led the Sooners’ attack. Troy Nitzky (SR-15.30) and Presten Ellsworth (VT-15.00) were the other event winners for Oklahoma. Nebraska’s season-high team score was paced by Eric Schryver (PH-14.95) and CJ Schaaf (PB-14.70). The Cornhuskers also won team event titles on VT and PB.
In the annual Collegiate Challenge hosted by Stanford, the Cardinal (431.20) lost to the visiting Japanese Collegiate National Team (438.85), but ended up defeating Cal (422.75), Arizona State (389.90) and Washington (357.70). Senior National Team member Eddie Penev was masterful, capturing the AA title (88.95) with the nation’s 2nd-highest score and winning event titles with upgraded skills on FX (16.00) and VT (15.60). Dennis Zaremski hit a career-high 15.35 on SR, giving him the nation’s top freshman score on that event. Cameron Foreman swept PB (15.60) and HB (15.10) to account for Stanford’s other event titles. For Cal, freshman Tak Kawada (PH-14.70) was the Bears’ lone title winner, and Steve Lacombe had a big night on SR (15.15) and VT (15.10). Also posting big scores for Cal were Jeffrey Langenstein (FX-15.40), Kevin Wolting (FX-15.05) and Jonathan Liu (PB-15.20). Alex Gaudaur led Arizona State with another steady performance in the AA (82.35).
After pasting Iowa (416.30) by six points on PH, host Minnesota (428.75) went on to win five of six events to seal the victory. The Gophers won three individual event titles, led by Ellis Mannon (PH-15.05), Steve Jaciuk (15.10) and a tie on FX (14.80) between Sean Bauer and Josh Wokurka. They exceeded their season team average by almost two points, while the Hawkeyes really struggled on everything except SR and VT, posting their lowest team score of the season and ending their 3-meet winning streak. Leading scorers for Iowa were Javier Balboa (SR-14.85, AA-84.45), William Albert (VT-15.05) and Mitchell Landau (HB-15.00).
Freshman Neal Courter (FX-14.30, VT-14.15, HB-T1st-13.70)) and Landon Funiciello (SR-15.30, PB-14.80) to lead William & Mary (408.05) to victory over Springfield (400.40). Daniel Potemski won the AA (83.20) and tied on HB to round out the scoring. Springfield’s Ryan Ponce lost his big matchup with Funiciello, but still came up with a great 15.00 on SR. John Zirna led the field on PH (14.30) to win the Pride’s lone event title. In yet another meet the previous day on Saturday, the Tribe recorded their first of their two weekend victories, with a huge come-from-behind effort on their final event (HB). Trailing by almost four points, the Tribe made up the difference, and then some. Funiciello won titles on VT (15.05) and PB (14.60), and Courter was the winner on HB (13.90). Army had titles won by freshman Jesse Glenn (FX-15.10, AA-82.85), Garrek Hojan-Clark (15.35) and Kip Webber (SR-14.95).
In the first of two weekend meets, Air Force (421.85) defeated UIC (405.55). Tory Brown’s three event titles (FX-15.00, VT-14.90, PB-14.75) led Air Force, while freshman Trent Jarrett won his first career title on SR (15.05) for the Flames. Joseph Hodges added an event title on PH (14.30) and won the AA (84.10) for UIC. Air Force (420.05) followed up their Friday win by sweeping all six team events in their win over host UIC (411.75) on Sunday. Brown won two events (VT-15.05, HB-14.50) to lead the Falcons. Gared Chapman won the SR title (14.80), while Greg Chaput and Mac Ritchie tied for the PB title (14.00). For UIC, Dan Zerbel, Lukasz Adamczcyk and Joseph Hodges won titles on FX (14.65), PH (14.95) and AA (82.20), respectively. The Flames posted their season high team score.
Jake Dalton made it 2 for 2 in 2013 with his convincing victory in Saturday’s American Cup. Dalton followed up his victory last month at Winter Cup, setting himself up as the early favorite at this summer’s U.S. Championships. His winning margin (89.398) was 2.1 over Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev (87.298), with Germany’s Olympic silver medalist Marcel Nguyen (87.031) close behind in third place. Dalton won four events (FX-15.70, SR-T1st-15.166, VT-15.433, HB-14.733), proving he’ll be a bonafide podium contender at this fall’s World Championships. He scored 15+ on four events, narrowly missing a fifth (HB), and showed improvement on his nemesis event (PH-13.30). Best known for his world-class prowess on FX and VT, Dalton perhaps enjoyed some sweet redemption in knowing that he has joined the ranks of world class in the all-around. Danell Leyva, despite competing less than full strength due to lingering illness, placed 6th in the event staged in Worcester, MA. After a disastrous FX routine, where he balked on one of his passes, Leyva came back very inspired on his next three events. Showing some serious skill upgrades, he placed 2nd on two events (PH-14.566, VT-15.033). He simply seemed to run out of gas on his last two events (PB, HB). With the upgrades, Leyva is a steadily improving force, and remains a serious medal contender. We will soon find out at the U.S. Championships and later on at the World Championships.