Posted on 26 February 2017 by admin
The first weekend of 5-Up/5-Count was a success. Oklahoma and Stanford made definitive statements by scoring over 420. The Cardinal did it with reduced roles for Akash Modi, Robert Neff and Grant Breckenridge, and the Sooners did it with reduced roles for Yul Moldauer, Allan Bower and Hunter Justus. Both teams have outstanding depth and leadership.
That depth certainly surfaced for the top-ranked Sooners, as Alex Powarzynski and Peter Daggett each won their first event titles. Powarzynski hit gold on VT (14.90) and PB (14.60), while Daggett earned his gold on SR (14.45). Both had event scoring averages well over 14 for the evening. Bower and Moldauer lent their support on PH, with Bower winning the event title (15.20) and Moldauer chipping in with a 14.60. That was their only event, as both were coming off from their outstanding performances at last weekend’s Winter Cup. Moldauer will be representing USA at next weekend’s American Cup. The Sooners (425.55) rolled over visiting Air Force (394.85), treating 5-Up/5-Count as no big deal.
Oklahoma won five out of six individual event titles, and tallied 70-plus on every event but FX. As Coach Mark Williams said, “It wasn’t our A team… but I was pleased with the results and a lot of the performances.” Levi Anderson matched his NCAA-leading score (14.90) on HB to capture that title. The Sooners were dominant on every event, and surprisingly failed to score 70 on one of their better events (FX). The Falcons’ Casey Branin took the FX crown (14.30) to win Air Force’s only event. Coach Williams is obviously pleased about his team’s chances the rest of the way.
Japan (425.80) won the International Challenge over Stanford (421.55), Minnesota (405.60) and Canada (392.70). Stanford gave Modi and Neff much needed rest, but that proved to be no obstacle to scoring over 420 for the fourth time this season. Modi, of course, will be joining Moldauer at next Saturday’s American Cup. Competing on PH (14.70) and HB (14.50), Modi captured event titles on both. Teammates Jacob Barrus (FX-14.85), Josiah Eng (SR-15.10) and Jordan DeClerk (PB-14.75) took care of winning titles on three other events. The Cardinal won five out of six team event titles, scoring 70-plus on four of them. Minnesota kept up their torrid streak on VT, winning as a team (71.90) and taking the two top scores (Yaro Pochinka-14.95 and Zach Liebler-14.70). The Gophers did well despite their late arrival into town, scoring a season team best on PB (70.15).
The stage is now set for next Saturday’s marquee meet. The Sooners and Cardinal, both undefeated, will compete for bragging rights. Both teams will be without the services of their best gymnast, so that evens things out for what is anticipated to be the season’s top dual meet. Pac-12 Network is slated to provide streaming coverage. We can only hope a live-scoring feed will also be provided. To top things off, and to make the meet more enjoyable for the fans, the two teams will hopefully compete one gymnast-at-a-time. Time to take a cue from Illinois, who has been running this competition format for their home dual meets.
Speaking of whom, the Illini (409.95) remained undefeated after their dual-meet victory over visiting Iowa (397.10). Illinois earned team event titles on five out of six events, in tallying the weekend’s third highest team score. Their six-point differential on PH provided over half of the team’s final victory margin. Winning event titles for the Illini were Alex Diab (FX-14.60, SR-14.90), Brandon Ngai (PH-14.70), Bobby Baker (PB-14.55) and Tyson Bull (HB-14.25). The Hawkeyes’ Andrew Botto secured season-high scores enroute to winning efforts on VT (14.95) and AA (81.55). Illinois will travel to Puerto Rico next weekend to compete against Arizona State and Michigan. Iowa will face off against Penn State and host Nebraska.
Michigan (402.10) had no trouble winning their home opener over Cal (386.80). The Bears stumbled hard right out of the gate, scoring a season low on PH (58.40). That created a nine-point deficit from which proved to be impossible to recover. The Wolverines won five out of six team events and five of six individual titles. Earning event titles for Michigan were Emyre Cole (FX-T1st-14.40), Uche Eke (PH-14.15, VT-14.80), Ryan Dunning (SR-14.50) and Anthony McCallum (PB-14.10). Aaron Mah (FX-T1st-14.40) and Yordan Aleksandrov (HB-13.40) earned event titles for the Bears. Cal took team honors on HB. Michigan will face Arizona State and Illinois next weekend in Puerto Rico, while Cal will host the Cal Benefit Cup against SoCal United and Air Force.
Penn State (409.40) hit the road and came away with a ten-point win over host Navy (399.25). The Nittany Lions racked up the fourth best team score of the weekend, winning four out of six team events and five of six individual titles. Dom DiFulvio (SR-T1st-14.40, VT-14.25) and freshman Sam Zakutney (PB-14.20, HB-13.95) each won a pair of events to lead the charge. Also winning events were Leroy Clarke (PH-14.20) and Chris Sands (SR-Tst-14.40). Jonny Tang was the leading scorer for the Mids, winning on FX (14.20) and the AA (82.30). Penn State will travel next weekend to face host Nebraska and Iowa. Navy will compete next weekend against host Springfield and Army.
Nebraska (406.30) defeated UIC (367.95) in Sunday’s matinee. In a season where many teams are showing off great VT lineups, the Huskers set a new season high (71.20), led by sophomore Anton Stephenson’s 15.10. It was Nebraska’s first recorded 15 of the season. They had no trouble winning all six events, and also swept individual titles. Stephenson also won on FX (T1st-14.05) and PH (13.65). Austin Epperson (FX-14.05), Chris Stephenson (SR-13.75) and Jordan King (HB-13.70) claimed the remaining event titles. Alex Dumstorf (FX-13.00), Chris Root (PH-13.50, SR-12.70, PB-13.80) and Victor Bello (VT-13.90) were the leading scorers for the Flames. Nebraska gets to stay home next weekend, hosting Iowa and Penn State.
William & Mary (390.40) had a big win on the road against host Army (383.50) and Springfield (380.50). Capturing five out of six events, the Tribe also enjoyed one event winner on PH (Jacopo Gliozzi-14.40). Event winners for Army were Joe Pritts (FX-14.25) and double-winner Leo Genders (VT-14.15, HB-13.85). Springfield had two event winners (Josh Dierker-SR-13.05, Jannik Haas-PB-13.45) and swept the top 3 in the AA (Stephen Lewis-77.85, Chris Graff-77.05, Dierker-76.20). William & Mary will have two meets next weekend, hosting Navy on Friday, and then traveling to Springfield to face Army & Navy.
Arizona State (395.50) won a big quad meet in the desert over Washington (391.00), Temple (382.75) and SoCal United (345.65). The Sun Devils prevailed on four out of six events, including a huge team score on VT (71.85). The Huskies took the remaining two events, winning on SR and HB. Arizona State had five different winners on four events, led by Nick Garcia on FX (T1st-13.90), Austin Kane and William Howald on PH (13.60), Garcia and Anthony Mills on VT (14.55) and Kirk Malm on HB (13.55). All five of the Sun Devils hit for at least 14.15 on VT. Nick Kano (SR-14.55) and Carl Meader (PB-14.35) were event winners for the Huskies, while Temple’s Casey Polizzotto shared the FX title (T1st-13.90). Washington’s Nathan Tsuji was the meet’s top scorer in the AA (77.80). Washington and Temple will be idle next weekend, while SoCal United will compete in the Cal Benefit Cup and Arizona State will travel to Puerto Rico.
G O O D L U C K Y U L & A K A S H !