Categorized | Featured, Men's Gymnastics, NCAA

Illinois Makes Big Statement in the Desert, Posting 422.90; Sooners, Cardinal Win Big

Posted on 22 January 2017 by admin

Only 3.7 points separated the top three scores this weekend.  Oklahoma (426.60) again reigns at the top of the heap, as they easily downed host Nebraska (414.40).  Host Stanford (423.60) held on to the No. 2 spot with another big win over Cal (398.85) and Washington (375.65).  But it was Illinois that made the huge jump in the NCAA team standings.  The Illini (422.90) blew up in desert, taking care of business against host Arizona State (396.20).  It was a huge improvement of over ten points, compared to their season-opening win at the Windy City Invite (412.15).  The Illini put teams on notice that they are serious contenders this season.

Illinois became the first and only team to hit for at least 70 points on all six events in the same meet.  They swept all team and individual event titles, led by Alex Diab (FX-14.70,VT-14.80), Matt Foster (PH-14.75), Johnny Jacobson (PB-14.40, AA-81.85) and Joey Peters (FX-14.40, PB-14.15, AA-81.20).  When all the weekend scores are added up, Illinois will find themselves sitting as the 3rd-ranked team.  The Illini will host their first meet of the young season next weekend against Minnesota.

After laying an egg on PH (67.30), the Sooners settled down to establish new season highs on VT (73.10) and HB (72.45) to maintain their perch atop the rankings.  Levi Anderson and Colin Van Wicklen now share the nation’s best HB score (14.65) after leading their team’s resurgent effort on that event.  Yul Moldauer led the Sooners’ scoring with a 14.54 average on four events, including matching his NCAA-leading score on PB (15.50).  Freshmen Tanner Justus and Matt Wenske tied for the VT title (15.05), putting them 1-2 in the national rankings.  Reece Rickett (SR-15.10) was the 4th Sooner to hit for 15, earning him an event title.  Top-ranked AAer Allan Bower competed on only one event (PH), as he is nursing a broken finger.  Nebraska’s Chris Stephenson (FX-14.75, AA-82.95) and Antonio Castro (PH-14.80) won the remaining event titles.  The Huskers improved their season-opening team score by almost four points.  Led by Team Stephenson (Anton and Chris), Nebraska will be making waves this season.

Stanford’s Akash Modi posted the weekend’s top AA score (88.15), leading his team to victory.  Modi tallied meet-high scores on FX (15.00) and PB (14.90).  Teammate Robert Neff made his season debut in the AA a keeper (83.05).  Taylor Seaton recorded Stanford’s second “15” of the night on VT (15.00).  Josiah Eng came close to a 15, with his second-straight title on SR (14.95).   After besting their previous season high by 5.5 points, the Cardinal look like they have what it will take to put pressure on Oklahoma all season long.

Ohio State (412.15) exceeded their season-opening score by almost nine points in their home opener against UIC (381.50).  Seth Delbridge (13.85 avg.), Jake Martin (13.74 avg.) and Meyer Williams (13.4 avg.) were the top point producers for the Buckeyes, each performing on four events.  Jake Dastrup pitched in with a 14.15 avg. on three events, including a top-10 national score on PB (14.75).  Sean Melton made his season debut with a strong routine on PB (14.40).  As the Bucks’ health improves, this team will be a strong contender.  They are going to be especially strong on PB and HB, events on which many teams struggle.  Satchell Hudson (60.5 pts/5 events) and Chris Root (52.4 pts/4 events) were the leading scorers for the Flames.  Both teams will be idle next week.

Minnesota (407.70) also made a huge jump over their season-opening team score, improving by over ten points in their convincing win over Air Force (395.35).  As Minnesota heals up and settles into a stronger lineup, they will continue their upward trajectory.  The Gophers’ Yaro Pochinka is becoming quite the human highlight reel, as he posted the top-scoring VT in the nation (15.10)… Click here to see it!  

Penn State (414.20) won four out of six team/individual titles in their home win over Army (396.05).  Dom DiFulvio won his first AA of the season (82.60).  Penn State travels to Springfield next weekend, while Army will visit Air Force.

At the Navy Open, the host Midshipmen (397.65) prevailed over a field that included William & Mary (390.600), Springfield (389.70) and Temple (366.65).

In a Sunday matinee, Iowa (404.10) overpowered UIC (374.30).  The Hawkeyes improved by 16.55 points over last weekend, so they easily win the prize for most improvement.  It was the second meet of the weekend for the travel-weary Flames.  Dylan Ellsworth (AA-80.30) and freshman Nick Merryman (13.13 4-event avg.) were Iowa’s leading scorers.  Chris Root led the Flames’ effort (50.35 pts. on 4 events).  Both teams are idle next weekend.

For those teams that provide live-scoring links… Thank you!  For those teams that do not… Please climb aboard!  Promote your team!  Fans need to see LIVE SCORES!  Live scoring is the best way to promote your program… Hands down!  Without scores, there cannot possibly be a narrative. 

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