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Marvin Kimble & Akash Modi Capture All-Around Titles at 2013 Men’s JO Nationals

Posted on 04 May 2013 by admin

Marvin Kimble put together two incredible days of powerhouse gymnastics, as he successfully defended his 2012 JO Nationals all-around championship.  Day 1 was an incredible masterpiece, blowing up the scoreboard with a mind-boggling 94.05.  Even Kohei Uchimura probably perked up after hearing the news.  Day 2 was not quite as explosive, given the technical sequences format, but he performed the routines expertly to win the all-around by almost 7 points.  Runner-up Yul Moldauer had a spectacular day, putting up a string of 9.0 scores on four events, including the only 9.0 score on HB.  Moldauer won the technical sequences session by posting an outstanding 9.0 on SR, his final event.  His big day rewarded him with a 2nd-place finish in the all-around and four top-5 placements.  Hunter Justus, Colin Van Wicklen and Quest Hayden rounded out the top 5.  Justus was a top-5 finisher four times, while his teammate, Oklahoma-bound Van Wicklen had a 3rd-place finish on FX.  Hayden tied for 3rd on PH.

Kimble won an incredible 5 event titles.  The only one that slipped away was VT, where he placed 3rd.  The 15-16 age division has a staggering amount of talent, and the competition for the 18 guaranteed spots to the U.S. Championships was fierce and well played out.  It was very interesting to see how the guys in the 1st-day standings fared in the final standings.  Here are the top 10, and in the parentheses, I have two numbers… the first one is where they placed on Day 1, the second one is where they placed on Day 2.

  • Marvin Kimble – (1st, 2nd)
  • Yul Moldauer – (3rd, 1st)
  • Hunter Justus – (2nd, 3rd)
  • Colin Van Wicklen – (5th, 7th)
  • Quest Hayden – (9th, 4th)
  • Tristan Burke – (6th, 10th)
  • Kiwan Watts – (T-7th, 11th)
  • Robert Neff – (4th, 21st)
  • Johnny Jacobson – (T-7th, 16th)
  • Bobby Baker – (10th, 8th)

Akash Modi posted the day’s 2nd highest Day 2 scores (both age divisions) and climbed back to win the all-around title in the 17-18 age group.  Modi also perfected the art of consistency by placing in the top 5 on six events, and winning an event title on PB.  Stanford coach Thom Glielmi is licking his chops anticipating Modi’s enrollment at Stanford in the fall.  1st-Day leader Dmitri Belanovski wasn’t too far behind on Day 2, and easily took 2nd place in the all-around.  Belanovski had four top-5 finishes, including an event title on SR.  Illinois-bound Chandler Eggleston put together two great days on FX and VT to win national titles on both.  His 7th-place finish gave him his first top 10 all-around performance at JOs.  His future teammate, Matt Foster, ended his club career with a 4th place all-around finish.  Ohio State signee Jake Dastrup and Yordan Aleksandrov won event titles on PH and HB, respectively.  Dastrup ended his club career with a 3rd place all-around finish.  Future Sooner Alex Powarzynski took the 5th position and won a bronze on PB.

  • Akash Modi – (2nd, 1st)
  • Dmitri Belanovski – (1st, 2nd)
  • Jake Dastrup – (3rd, 2nd)
  • Matt Foster – (5th, 5th)
  • Alex Powarzynski – (4th, 10th)
  • Allan Bower – (7th, 4th)
  • Chandler Eggleston – (6th, 12th)
  • Yordan Aleksandrov – (8th, 8th)
  • Lee Grogan – (11th, 7th)
  • Drew Willoughby – (13th, 5th)

Four separate age groups within the Level 10 JO Division competed for all-around and individual event honors.  A second day of optional routines were performed by this group of gymnasts to determine the winners.

  • Vitali Kan (Swiss Turners-age 15) – 81.35
  • Fletcher Braunton (Black Hills-age 16) – 82.00
  • Travis Gollott (WCOGA-age 17) – 83.80
  • Logan Melander (Black Hills-age 18) – 82.95

The two winners from the 17-18 age group are college-bound this fall to study and to continue their gymnastics careers.  Logan Melander and Travis Gollott signed with Ohio State and Nebraska, respectively.  They will be great additions to the programs.  Both also added two event titles, as Melander took top honors on FX and HB, and Gollott won gold on FX and PB.  Vitali Kan won an event title on FX, while Melander’s teammate Fletcher Braunton won on PH.  In one of the more impressive performances of the weekend, Swiss Turners’ Josiah Eng had a two-day average of 16.15 on SR to win the 15-year-old age group.  His scores were the highest of any of the age groups, and even more remarkable that he is one of the youngest Level 10 competitors.



The Level 8s and 9 will conclude the 4-day event on Sunday with the JO optional all-around/event finals and the JE technical sequences competition.

It’s going to take days, weeks or months to fully digest the ramifications of the new format.  What is not in dispute is that the format has definitely increased participation.  A record number of boys advanced to a second day of competition, and a record number of medals were awarded.  This is a good thing!  Historically, most boys travel a long distance to compete for just one day.  This new format greatly expands the competitive field over two days.  It doesn’t make it any easier to qualify at the regional level, however, and the sheer number of boys who qualify to go to JOs has only been increased because of the creation of the new Level 8 division.  As I said before, Level 8 is a great addition because it allows more boys to be introduced to optionals earlier in their careers.  The regional team night session competition format must be returned to the fold.  If it makes it a little more difficult for the coaches, since they would have to coach more than one session (maximum of 2) in a day, so be it.  It’s all about the boys, not the coaches.  Some serious thought needs to be put into reinstating Event Finals.  One way would be to start the competition on Wednesday, and to return Event Finals to an exclusive stand-alone Sunday extravaganza.

As for technical sequences, the jury is still out.  As we saw in the Day 2 Level 10 JE competition, there was a lot of up and down movement in the standings.  Technical sequences routines were a make or break proposition for many of the boys when it came to qualifying for the U.S. Championships.  Then again, the same can be said for having a second day of optionals.  The top gymnasts did not struggle with them, in fact, it was a lot easier for them to perform technical sequences instead of doing a second day of optionals.  Those doing the cleanest routines were rewarded handsomely.  The judging was fair, and was conducted with six-member panels on each event.  The main argument against technical sequences is the further bifurcation of the sport, which could lead more boys to exit the sport.  I’d like to see more transparent discussion of the new format within the entire men’s gymnastics community.


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