Moldauer, Modi & Bower Put On A Show
Boy, do we have a treat coming for us in the all-around final of this year's NCAA Championships at West Point. It took twelve events, but Yul Moldauer of Oklahoma was able to get by Akash Modi of Stanford, beating him by seven tenths of a point. Allan Bower rounded out the top three, falling short of Modi by just over one point.
Amazingly enough, Moldauer was able to overcome a 12.75 on pommel horse on day one. He made up for it on still rings with a two-day total of 30.1 to win the event. When you look at Moldauer physically compared to guys like Naddour, Whittenburg and Melton (who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th on the event, respectively) it's almost unfathomable to think he could best them on an event like rings. This can teach us an important lesson: never doubt Yul.
Modi finished top-eight on all six events. The difference maker was a missed hand on his tkatchev-half on event twelve, high bar. He was nearly as brilliant as Moldauer on parallel bars (third place finisher on PB was 1.1 behind Modi in second) and rocked his signature half-in/half-out dismount on day one.
I can't say enough about the consistency of Allan Bower. He finished top-seven on every event but the one that continues to impress me the most is pommel horse. I could be wrong, but I don't think he has the physical ability to miss a PH routine. Bower is one of the most fun gymnasts to watch in my opinion and I'm sure much of his consistency can be attributed to the work being done by OU head coach, Mark Williams.
Though he didn't do the all-around, Sean Melton of Ohio State was another current NCAA athlete who impressed this past weekend. Melton competed four events (FX, SR, PB, HB) and finished top-six in every one. Hypothetically, if Melton had averaged a 14.0 on PH and VT over four routines, he would've placed fourth all-around.
NOTE: Moldauer, Modi, Bower and Melton all qualified onto the U.S. Senior National Team.
Robert Neff finished sixth AA with a two-day score of 163.95.
Joining the four mentioned above on the National Team were Robert Neff and Grant Breckenridge of Stanford and Hunter Justus of Oklahoma (finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively). It was the first time qualifying for all three competitors. You can view the full Senior National team here.
Neff finished seventh on PB:
Breckenridge tied for third on HB:
Justus finished fourth on PB:
There were also some other notable current NCAA competitors who placed highly on events like defending-NCAA champion Anthony McCallum of Michigan who won vault:
His teammate, Emyre Cole, placed third on the event:
Brandon Ngai of Illinois finished second behind 2016 Olympian Alex Naddour on PH:
Levi Anderson of Oklahoma took home a fifth place tie on HB:
NCAA action will resume with a full slate this Saturday where seventeen teams will be competing. Don't forget, five-up/five-count format has started!