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Moldauer, Malone and Barnhill Day 1 Leaders at U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Championships

Posted on 18 August 2017 by admin

ANAHEIM, CA — Day 1 for the Seniors started out rather raggedy, but things got better as the evening progressed.  Yul Moldauer, one of the all-around favorites was steady throughout, earning the session’s top score (86.65) over co-favorites Akash Modi (84.70) and Allan Bower (84.45).  Moldauer and Modi tied for best score on PB (14.70), while the first-day leader went on to compile top-5 scores on all six events, including 2nd and 3rd place scores on FX (14.55) and SR 14.85), respectively.  Modi was steady, too, except for a fall on PH (12.75), which knocked him down in the standings until he battled back.  It was a gritty effort.  He added another top score on HB (14.20) and tied for 6th on FX (14.25).  Bower was his rock-steady self, compiling five top-10 scores, including a 6th-place effort on PB (14.25).

Donnell Whittenburg (84.35) was narrowly edged out by Bower for the 3rd position, concluding with three top-5 scores, capped off by his session-leading score on SR (15.00).  Completing the top 5 was Colin Van Wicklen, the evening’s biggest surprise.  Van Wicklen had highest scores on FX (14.60) and VT (14.80), and garnered a tie for 2nd on HB (14.05).  The Oklahoma grad is now an established player for a spot on the World Team, especially if he keeps up the pace.

Despite a rough outing on PB, Marvin Kimble had great efforts on PH (4th-14.65), SR (2nd-14.95) and HB (4th-14.00).  He placed out of the top 10 AA, but is in a position to rack up quite a few points.  Sam Mikulak did everything he had to do to be in contention for the World Team.  He had the third best score on PH (14.75) and tied Van Wicklen for 2nd position on HB (14.05).  He would have ended up with the top score on HB, but was docked 0.5 points for using an extra mat.  Still, he proved he can execute a routine, which could help his case with the selection committee.

Alex Naddour also helped himself to some positive World Team consideration by nailing his PH routine (15.30) and securing the 6th spot on SR (14.70).  Other notables were Donothan Bailey (PH-2nd-14.85), Sean Melton (top 5 finishes on PB-14.30) and HB- 13.80) and Kanji Oyama (VT-T2nd-14.70).  In just his second AA since high school, Oklahoma grad Alex Powarzynski ended up 10th in the AA (81.50), with great finishes on VT (5th-14.50) and PB (7th-14.15).  Trevor Howard holds the 9th AA spot (81.90) and 5th on SR (14.75).  Mike Wilner ended up tied with Moldauer for 3rd on SR (14.85).

Saturday’s finale is going to be another great contest, with more surprises in store.  Only two scores of 15 were tallied on Day 1 (Naddour and Whittenburg), but don’t be surprised to see more on Day 2.  Fifteen Senior National Team spots are on the line, with new faces expected.

First day leaders in the Junior Division are Brody Malone (17-18) and Laz Barnhill (15-16).  Malone finished with an outstanding 81.30, paced by session-leading scores on PH (13.10), PB (13.55) and HB (13.40).  He led nearly the entire meet, posting top-5 scores on each event, outlasting Day 1 runner-up Vitaly Guimaraes (78.75) and Kevin Penev (78.15).  Barnhill (78.50) edged out Garrett Braunton (78.05) and 2017 Junior Elite champ Paul Juda (77.70).  He had the day’s best score on FX (13.45), while Braunton notched the highest mark on SR (13.55).  Juda compiled four top-4 scores, included three 2nd-place finishes on SR (13.45), PB (13.25) and HB (13.05).  The top-4 AA scores were separated by a mere point, so the younger division is wide open for Saturday’s finale.  Upon conclusion, a new Junior National Team will be named.




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