#NCAAMGym Week 7 Recap Oklahoma erupts, Minnesota wins close one at Penn State

We're back! Following the week-long Winter Cup break, action ramped up this weekend with six meets. That included conference wins for Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and Army to go along with a mind-numbing 429.55 from the Sooners.

Sooners Nearly Hit 430 In Dominating Win

(photo: Jess Frankl)

That escalated quickly. On Saturday night, in front of their home crowd, Oklahoma cruised to an NCAA-high score (by over 10 points, bettering their score from 2/10) of 429.55 to defeat Navy (401.3).

Could you argue that there were some judging discrepancies? Sure. But look at it this way: take ten points away from OU's score and they still would've put up the highest score of the weekend by 13.35 points. It sure looks like Mark Williams has his team setting to peak at the right time.

Levi Anderson (NCAA Gymnast of the Week) caught fire putting up an all-around score of 86.1 -- second-best in the NCAA this season behind his teammate, Yul Moldauer.

Levi Anderson (photo via Sooner Sports)

"Levi was having a good night," Williams told soonersports.com. "When I saw him on parallel bars, he was just out of his mind. I've known Levi has had the talent and he's putting in the work and paying attention to the details. It has been huge."

Anderson claimed four top-three event finishes on Saturday including a highlight performance on high bar to close out the night.

You can never talk about Oklahoma without mentioning Moldauer as well. The junior took top-three on all three of his events and made this event-winning 15.4 on PB look simple.

Other titles came from Tanner Justus on FX (Justus also scored an 83.45 in his all-around debut), Genki Suzuki/Moldauer on PH, Reese Rickett on SR, Gage Dyer on VT and Suzuki on HB.

Tanner Justus (photo via Sooner Sports)

Without a doubt, Oklahoma is the top dog with just a handful of weeks until the start of postseason. Check out full highlights of their 429.55 here.

Overlooked amongst all the Sooners' hype was Navy continuing their solid 2018 campaign. Saturday marked their third-straight meet of scoring 400+.

Two of Navy's three top-five individual finishes came from freshman Ryan McVay. He led the Mids on both rings (13.5) and high bar (13.95).

Ryan McVay (photo via Navy Sports)

As a whole, Navy competed great for being in one of the toughest road venues in the country. It's also a great sign that they only were forced to count two falls. As some other teams learned this weekend, falls, especially multiple, will quickly take you out of contention in a five-up, five-count format.

"We had a bit of a watered down lineup due to some injuries, but the next man up mentality that we prepare with was in full effect tonight," explained head coach Kip Simons to navysports.com. This meet was the beginning of our preparations into the postseason and we are exactly where we need to be at this time. We will get back to work on Monday and continue our pursuit of perfection.”

Bobby Baker Leads Illini To Victory Over Michigan

Bobby Baker on VT vs. Minnesota (photo: Jess Frankl)

The wrist of Bobby Baker (B1G Gymnast of the Week) seems to be cooperating and that spells good things for the Illini. An all-around score of 82.7 from the senior helped propel Illinois (405.2) to a home victory over the Michigan Wolverines (394.9).

Altogether, Baker grabbed four top-three event finishes including titles on HB (14.35) and VT (15.0) where he stuck his 2.5.

Bobby Baker was named B1G Gymnast of the Week (graphic via @IlliniMGym on Twitter)

It wasn't all rosy for Justin Spring and his team as they found themselves with season-low team scores on FX & SR. The team is still dealing with some injuries (Alex Diab rolled his ankle at Winter Cup & Jacob Light remains out) and will have to figure out a way to make up for those missing scores.

"We definitely had a slow start tonight," Spring told fightingillini.com. "Our big focus after Minnesota was being able to finish strong under pressure and we definitely did that. Overall, tonight was as expected for the first five-up, five-count competition of the season and I think we are going to grow and get better from here."

Other Illinois event winners included Brandon Ngai (PH), Alex Diab (SR -- tied with Michigan's Marty Strech) and Sebastian Quiana (PB). Check out full highlights of Illinois' day here.

Michigan learned the hard way just how tough five-up, five-count can be. The Wolverines were forced to count four scores of 11.6 and lower, but otherwise put together a solid competition.

The freshman, Cameron Bock, had a very nice day with three top-three finishes. He ended up as runner-up on both PB & HB, helping Michigan close out the meet on a strong note.

Cameron Bock (photo via mgoblue.com)

The Wolverines are still without national champion, Anthony McCallum. McCallum is dealing with a high-ankle sprain that was suffered on February 3 against Ohio State.

Winners on Saturday for UM included Emyre Cole on FX and Marty Strech on SR.

Gophers Outlast Penn State In Happy Valley

(photo: Michael Harris)

Saturday's meet between the Gophers and Nittany Lions went all the way to the wire. Penn State held a slim, two-tenth lead heading into the final rotation but Minnesota was able to jump in front on PB, eventually winning 404.35-402.4.

"I'm so proud of these guys being able to take this meet right down to the last event and come away with a win," Mike Burns told gophersports.com. "We started strong and finished strong but ran into a bit of a buzz saw in the middle of the meet. They fought right down to the last routine of the night and they continue to find a way to get the job done."

That buzz saw he's talking about was rings. Things were looking bleak after a season-low 64.1 that featured just one score above a 13.5. The thing that may have saved Burns and his team was a solid pommel horse rotation. Justin Karstadt looks back in form as his event-winning 14.35 was his best of the season.

Justin Karstadt (photo: Jess Frankl)

Shane Wiskus earned another B1G Freshman of the Week (and NCAA Rookie of the Week) honor after winning a pair of event titles on FX & VT. He also was the top Minnesota scorer on SR.

The two other Gophers to win individual event titles were Shaun Herzog on PB and Tristan Duran on HB.

Penn State just couldn't come up with enough on HB to withstand the PB performance from Minnesota to end the meet. They made up a lot of ground on SR (4.6 points) by putting up the top three scores on the event. Chris Sands won with a 14.2.

The Nittany Lions actually beat Minnesota on VT -- an event that the Gophers have been dominant on in 2018. Josh Smith, who has been valuable of late on FX as well, tied for the event lead with Wiskus.

"You want your team at this point in the season to come out and really fight with some spirit, and we had some up and downs today," Randy Jepson said to gopsusports.com after the meet. "So did they. They came out on top, so we just have to get better.”

Huskers Win In Iowa City For The First Time Since 2005

Anton Stephenson tied Iowa's Dylan Ellsworth for the VT title (photo: Jess Frankl)

As Nebraska continues improving, it's going to come with a lot of "first time since..."-type things. This week's version is the Huskers winning in Iowa for the "first time since" 2005 by a score of 402.8-398.5.

Nebraska's highlight of the day may have come on VT with Anton Stephenson sticking yet another yurchenko-2.5 (I believe that's four straight?). Needless to say, he ranks No. 1 in the NCAA on that event.

Outside of that, it wasn't a day too out of the ordinary for the Huskers. They struggled a little bit on SR (65.2) but made up for it with in the way that they usually do -- with a very good FX rotation (69.45).

Individually, freshman Griffin Kehler won a title on FX and Antonio Castro earned a share on PH (tied Austin Hodges of Iowa).

Griffin Kehler (photo via the Daily Nebraskan)

Nebraska wasn't the only one with a stuck 2.5 on the day -- Dylan Ellsworth got one of his own to earn a share of the title with Stephenson. He sits No. 7 in the country.

It wasn't the best day as a whole for Iowa, they didn't get quite the same production (65.7) on PH that they've become accustomed to this season.

They still took home a few individual titles aside from Ellsworth on VT and Hodges on PH, including Jake Brodarzon (SR), Ellsworth on PB and Andrew Herrador on HB.

Dylan Ellsworth (photo via The Daily Iowan)

"Today did not go as well as we had hoped," head coach JD Reive told hawkeyesports.com after the meet. "We went to five-up-five-count which means there are no mulligans and we had 11 mulligans. That's not what we want to do. We took some uncharacteristic falls and those things stayed with us. We have guys that are good on pommel horse and they cannot have those falls...Ellsworth was amazing today and he didn't get the backup from his teammates that he needed but that is sport."

Arizona State Wins Sun Devil Classic With Season-high score

Riley Ward won the SR title (photo: Jess Frankl)

Competing as a split squad, Arizona State (394.9) went off for a season-high to defeat Washington (372.15), the Sun Devils' other team (355.45), SC United (351.0) and NorCal United (200.05).

The team total wasn't the only season high -- the Sun Devils also enjoyed new high scores on FX, PH & HB. Daniel Bronnenberg led the team on FX with a 14.45. That propels the senior to a No. 9 ranking in the NCAA.

The Sun Devils' winning team claimed the top-four spots on PH as they won that event by a whopping 12.2 points.

Along with Bronnenberg, other event winners for AZ State were Kirk Malm/Nikita Latman on PH, Riley Ward on SR and Malm on HB.

(photo: Jess Frankl)

If you take away PH & HB, Washington trailed Arizona State by just 3.5 points. The Huskies earned the top team score of the night on SR, claiming two of the top three individual spots.

Nathan Tsuji (NCAA Club Gymnast of the Week) competed all six events for the second time this season and bested his previous score by two whole points with a 78.75. Along with the AA title, Tsuji was also the top scorer on PB with a 13.55. Jacob Jarrett won VT with a 14.2.

The top competitor from Arizona State's third place team was Caleb Rodriguez who accumulated a 13.03 three-event average that included a 13.6 second-place finish on HB.

Noteworthy for SC United was the performance of Diego Neumaier who set a season-high of his own in the all-around with a 73.9. NorCal United's Will Ryan finished just behind Neumaier with a 72.5.

Army Handles W&M, Springfield

Cole Casanova (photo via Army West Point Athletics)

It was a solid senior day for Army (385.0) as they took down ECAC rivals William & Mary (379.8) and Springfield (373.75).

The Black Knights smashed their previous season-high on PB by 1.8 points, accumulating a 67.0 on the event. Nathan Goff led on that event, winning the title with a 14.05. Thankfully, it was enough to make up for an uncharacteristic 55.8 on HB where Army didn't have a score above 11.8.

Nathan Goff (photo via Army West Point Athletics)

Cole Casanova continues to have a nice bounce-back campaign after missing all of 2017. His all-around score of 76.6 placed him second on the day. He did grab an event win on FX.

If it weren't for PB, William & Mary would've stuck right with Amy. Forced to count a pair of sub-12's on the event, the Tribe settled for second place as a team, but put together a pair of meet-winning scores on SR (67.3) and HB (57.25).

Individual winners for W&M included Griffin Antle (PH), David Watkins (SR) and David Allen (HB).

Springfield rounded out the field and featured three of the meet's top-four all-arounders. Chris Graff was the winner this week with a 77.7 (his fifth score of 77.5+ in 2018). Stephen Lewis won VT, an event he's been very consistent on this season. He ranks just outside the top-20 in the NCAA (No. 21).

Chris Graff (photo: Jess Frankl)
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Logan Bradley


Unless otherwise noted, photos belong to Jess Frankl.

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