Posted on 18 April 2009 by admin
With the pressure of the team competition out of the way, Saturday night’s event finals enabled the gymnasts to let it rip. They were competing on their best events and the prizes were for national championship and/or All-American status. The evening’s spotlight shone on Oklahoma’s Steven Legendre and Ilinois’ Paul Ruggeri as they each brought home two national titles in impressive and exciting fashion.
The floor competition was very tight, but Legendre was able to successfully defend his national title with a 15.625. Only a half-tenth of a point separated him from his teammate and third place finisher, Chris Brooks. Ruggeri captured second place, only .025 behind (15.60).
Pommel horse was outstanding, with six gymnasts scoring over 15.00. In the end, perhaps the most exciting competitor of the entire meet, Illinois’ Daniel Ribeiro, prevailed with a 15.575. Ohio State nailed down second and third with great routines by Steven Spencer (15.475) and Ty Echard (15.45). Ribeiro solidified his standing as the NCAA’s top competitor on the horse. His 16.00 on Thursday night is the nation’s highest score of the season on that event, proving that he is world class.
Cal’s Evan Roth blew away an impressive rings field with a very nice 15.60. That was more than enough to outlast Michigan’s Phillip Goldberg (15.40) and Stanford’s Nick Noone (15.275).
In the evening’s most thrilling event, Legendre was the last competitor on vault, needing to surpass Iowa’s Geoff Reins’ 16.30. Mr. Clutch pulled it out remarkably with a 16.35 to successfully defend his vault title. Stanford’s Tim Gentry also made it tough for Legendre by posting a 16.175.
Ruggeri earned his first national title of the evening on high bar, when he overwhelmed the rest of the field with a very impressive 15.75. Michigan’s Thomas Kelley, the Big 10 All-Around Champion, finished a distant second (15.275), followed by Stanford’s Alex Buscaglia’s 14.875. Ruggeri’s victory enabled him to successfully defend his high bar crown.
Cal’s Kyle Brady led most of the contest on parallel bars with a 15.075, but Ruggeri pulled a convincing 15.175 to cement his second national title. Kelley ended up in third place (14.675).
The top 8 finishers on each event earn All-American status.
- Steven Legendre (OU) – 15.625
- Paul Ruggeri (IL) – 15.60
- Chris Brooks (OU) – 15.575
- Daniel Ribeiro (IL) – 15.575
- Steven Spencer (OSU) – 15.475
- Ty Echard (OSU) – 15.45
- Evan Roth (Cal) – 15.60
- Phillip Goldberg (MI) – 15.40
- Nick Noone (ST) – 15.275
- Steven Legendre (OU) -16.325
- Geoff Reins (IA) – 16.30
- Tim Gentry (ST) – 16.175
- Paul Ruggeri (IL) – 15.175
- Kyle Brady (Cal) – 15.075
- Thomas Kelley (MI) – 14.675
- Paul Ruggeri (IL) – 15.75
- Thomas Kelley (MI) – 15.275
- Alex Buscaglia (ST) – 14.875
Here’s another reminder to set your DVRs next Thursday, April 23 at 3:00pm EDT on ESPN2. ESPNU will broadcast the action again on Saturday, April 25 at 4:00pm EDT. Both broadcasts will feature the Team Finals and All-Around Finals.