#NCAAMGym Week 9 Recap Shake-Up Continues As Ohio State & Iowa Pull Of Upsets

As if things weren't wide open enough, week nine went ahead and shuffled things up even more. Ohio State's win over Stanford may have been the highlight of the weekend, but you also had Iowa upsetting Minnesota, William & Mary taking down Army and California coming within less than thirteen points (impressive even if it sounds like a wide margin) of Oklahoma. Will we receive some clarity before the postseason? Probably not, and it will make things all the interesting.

NOTE: Oklahoma does not show up on the following rankings due to not yet having two away scores.

(graphic via roadtonationals.com)

Oklahoma Takes Senior Night Win Against Cal

(photo: Jess Frankl)

With just three total events from Yul Moldauer and Levi Anderson, the Sooners were able to take down Cal-Berkeley by a score of 410.1-397.25.

That number represents the lowest of the year for Oklahoma, and it's no surprise given the resting of their top two all-around competitors. "We had a couple of good home scores so that was not much of our motivation tonight," said Mark Williams to SoonerSports.com. "It was about giving an opportunity to some guys and recognizing our seniors. Overall, I feel like we are moving in the right direction."

The seniors certainly recognized themselves as both Reese Rickett and Hunter Justus went home with a title on SR & VT, respectively.

Reese Rickett (photo via @OU_MGymnastics on Twitter)

Genki Suzuki took care of all-around duties, winning the meet with an 81.55. Check out some highlights of Oklahoma's day here.

With a season-high score, the Golden Bears were able to make this one a little closer than most would've guessed. Yordan Aleksandrov & Aaron Mah are the two that make this team go, and they did their job on Saturday. Both accumulated an 80.15 in the all-around to tie for second place.

Aaron Mah (photo via The Daily Californian)

Cal was able to better OU on FX as a team despite having just one gymnast place in the top-four. Their 68.5 was the second-highest score they've seen on the event in 2018.

"We finally put a full meet together and I'm extremely proud of this team," said head coach JT Okada to CalBears.com. "Coming off a tough weekend the team came together and had focus throughout the meet. We put attention to detail in front of our goals and that allowed us to keep in the meet from start to finish."

Iowa Gaining Momentum, Upsets B1G Opponent For Second Week In A Row

(photo: Jess Frankl)

Things couldn't have gone much better for Iowa this weekend. In a meet that nobody expected them to win (similar to last week) the Hawkeyes (405.95) rose to the challenge and defeated the Gophers (400.75) and Air Force (388.6).

"Today went almost exactly as we had planned it to go. We came out and found our rhythm. We made some adjustments to the lineups that worked really well. We hit pretty much everything we did. We counted a couple of falls here and there, not eight like the previous weekend. The score showed that, the confidence level showed that, and the improvement showed that. We're getting some really good things happening consecutively over the weekends. We did what we needed to do to keep progressing forward at this point in time. I'm very happy with the performance." - J.D. Reive to HawkeyeSports.com

Helping their cause in a big way were great performances from freshman Bennet Huang (79.95 - B1G Freshman of the Week) and Dylan Ellsworth (79.6). Both gymnasts now rank top-ten nationally in the all-around.

Bennet Huang (graphic via @mensgymiowa on Twitter)

Ellsworth can't stop sticking vaults as his 14.75 won him a title. Fellow senior Austin Hodges (PH & PB) and junior Jake Brodarzon (SR) were the other event winners for the Hawkeyes. It's impossible to say that anyone has increased their own stock more over the last two weekends than Iowa.

For full highlights of their day, click here.

Minnesota on the other hand struggled for the second week in a row. The problem this time around strangely was VT, an event that the Gophers usually have no trouble with. They managed just one score over 13.65 -- a 14.3 from Shaun Herzog. The 68.35 was their lowest score of the year by over a point.

If you're looking for a positive, Mike Burns' team had a great parallel bars rotation. Freshman Shane Wiskus led the way with a 14.15 (scored a 78.95 in the AA) followed by three other scores of 13.5+.

Minnesota will get two more regular season meets to get things rolling again.

Competing for the second time in three days, Air Force improved majorly on HB, but slipped on FX. Their lone individual title on Sunday came from Lukas Texeira (HB). Texeira is a guy who we've mentioned multiple times this year, and for good reason. He's currently sitting third in the NCAA on high bar.

Illini Handle Air Force, UIC With Ease

Sebastian Quiana (photo: Jess Frankl)

Competing on Friday night in Champaign, Illinois (405.7) took care of Air Force (389.05) & UIC (359.9) en route to the weekend's third-highest team score.

A few positives came from this competition for Illinois. First and foremost, Chandler Eggleston made his season debut on VT. He competed a double-full, as opposed to his usual 2.5, but he picked up a title and his presence in lineup is a good sign for the Illini.

Secondly, Illinois had their best showing of the year on pommel horse (68.8). It's an event that this team has typically been able to rely on in the past, so if they find some stability past Brandon Ngai that would be a big help. Ngai won the event with a 15.25 and his teammates Michael Paradise (14.3), Tyson Bull (13.6) and Harry Mclellan (13.3) filled out the rest of the top-four.

Jordan Kovach is one Illinois gymnast who has flown under the radar a bit this season. A freshman, Kovach didn't get to school until January but has provided really valuable depth on FX, SR & PB.

Jordan Kovach (photo: Jess Frankl)

Illinois swept the individual titles with Alex Diab (FX & SR) and Sebastian Quiana (PB & HB) also picking up wins. You can check out highlights of Illinois' night here.

Air Force's trip to Champaign represented the first of two meets they would have this weekend. The Falcons hung with Illinois on FX & VT but struggled heavily on HB (58.4) where they counted three scores below a 12.

Freshman Frankie Valentin had the best overall meet for Air Force with a pair of top-five finishes included in his 13.35 four-event average.

Friday was the second-straight meet where UIC has scored below 360. The Flames got off to a slow start on FX & PH with both scores representing season-lows. They did later pick things up with a 67.0 on VT where they rank No. 16 in the NCAA.

The Flames sported a pair of top-six finishers with Asad Jooma on VT and Michael Peluso on HB.

Penn State Gets Back In The Win Column, Defeats AZ State & Navy

Chris Sands won FX & finished as runner-up on HB (photo: Jess Frankl)

Saturday was a good bounce-back for the Nittany Lions. On the road in Tempe, PSU (402.45) took down Arizona State (392.2) and Navy (388.15).

Chris Sands, a junior, has been huge for Penn State this season. He's competed 23 routines across five events (everything but PH) and has just two scores below a 12.8. That type of consistency isn't easy to come by. On Saturday evening, Sands brought home a FX title to go along with top-three finishes on SR & HB.

Other Nittany Lions with good days were Michael Burns who won both PB & HB and Stephen Nedoroscik who won a PH title with a 14.85 -- his second-highest score of the season.

Arizona State responded well to a disappointing week eight. The Sun Devils won PB (65.8) as a team, finishing with three of the top-five competitors.

Kiwan Watts hit a season-high mark in the all-around with an 80.85. That included a win on SR (14.05) and top-three finishes on FX, VT & PB. Peyton Gaston (VT) was the other Sun Devil to pick up a win.

Kiwan Watts (photo via Zimbio)

As for Navy, their undoing was a pair of season-low team scores on PH & HB. David Toussaint & Frank Bradley led the way for the Mids, each having three scores of 13.15+.

Buckeyes Go Into Palo Alto, Defeat Stanford

(photo: Jess Frankl)

With an opening 64.5 on pommel horse, it looked like it might be much of the same for Ohio State. Their second-lowest event score of the year put them in a bit of a hole -- though it was one that they would climb out of. When all was said and done, the Buckeyes defeated Stanford, the No. 2 team in the country, by a score of 402.15-400.85.

It was Alec Yoder's (B1G Gymnast of the Week) day as his 84.1 all-around score was the third-highest we've seen across the entire NCAA this year. Ironically enough, despite the fantastic performance, Yoder didn't win a single event outright. He did, however tie teammates for titles on VT (tied w/Alex Wilson) & PB (tied w/Sean Melton).

Alec Yoder was named B1G Gymnast of the Week (graphic via @bigten on Twitter)

Winning other titles for Ohio State were Sean Neighbarger (FX), David Szarvas (PH) and Melton (SR).

"It’s good to get a win against a team of this caliber, especially on the road,” head coach Rustam Sharipov told OhioStateBuckeyes.com. "I’m so proud of this team. We’ve started to click a bit, but there are still a couple of things that we can clean up. I’m excited for our guys but this is just the start. We still have more work to put in, but we can definitely reach higher heights."

A win is a win, especially one against a team as good as Stanford. The Buckeyes should be able to use this one as a momentum shifter as we inch closer to the postseason.

Speaking of Stanford, it certainly wasn't their day. You can point the finger toward SR & VT as the reason why the Cardinal broke down. They rank top-five nationally on both (including second on VT) which makes it more surprising. Robert Neff suffered an uncharacteristic 11.35 on rings (and still put up an 81.4 in the all-around) which is roughly a two point (give or take) swing. They also had to count two vaults of 13.25 and lower.

They were able to finish the meet on a strong note as they competed well on PB (68.25) & HB (67.65). Also, an impressive side note: not once this year has Stanford scored below a 67.85 on PB. Having a nearly-guaranteed 68 on that event is a big help.

Tribe Upsets ECAC Rival Army

David Watkins finished runner-up on SR (photo via Tribe Athletics)

Senior Day couldn't have gone much better for William & Mary who took down conference-rival Army by a score of 398.85-387.9. That score represents their highest at home in 2018 by over fifteen points.

The Tribe rattled off a pair of season-high team score on both FX (68.6) & PB (66.55). Helping out on the latter event was Griffin Antle (13.85 - ECAC Gymnast of the Week) who went home with the title. On top of PB, Antle also took home a win on PH with a 13.9 -- his season high.

All-in-all, the Tribe won three other individual titles on the day. Freshman Cutter Fugett (ECAC Rookie of the Week) took FX, Jeremiah McReynolds SR and Tim O'Neill VT. This should give W&M some momentum going into a big meet next weekend against the ECAC favorite, Navy.

(graphic via @WMTribeMGym on Twitter)

Despite winning HB by 1.4, Army couldn't keep up with their ECAC counterpart. Things fell apart on SR where they posted their lowest score (62.6) since the West Point Open -- their season-opening meet.

Cole Casanova continues getting stronger during his comeback campaign. The 78.25 all-around score he posted was good enough to defeat W&M's Jack Hasenkopf (76.1) for the title.

Senior captain Nathan Goff was the other winner for the Black Knights with a 14.05 on HB to go along with a runner-up finish on PB.

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Logan Bradley


Unless otherwise noted, photos belong to Jess Frankl

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