#NCAAMGym Week 8 Recap Iowa Pulls Off The Upset, Michigan Nearly Does The Same

I've said it a few times before, but this season is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable in quite a while. Sure, Oklahoma is still dominating; but teams like Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan are proving much more difficult to take down than anyone could've predicted. If you aren't excited for the postseason then I don't know what to tell you.

(graphic via @NCAA on Twitter)

Stanford Holds off michigan in palo alto

(photo: Jess Frankl)

In a dog fight that nobody expected, Stanford (410.7) was able to squeak by Michigan (410.35) Saturday night while also defeating Illinois (404.25) and California (384.65).

(graphic via @StanfordMGym on Twitter)

The Cardinal pulled out a win on the back of Robert Neff's 81.2 all-around performance. That was enough to help Neff win the all-around despite a season-low score on HB by over a point.

Interestingly enough, Stanford ended the day with a winning team score on just one event, PB. It was there that they claimed three of the top-four positions, including a 14.4 from freshman Blake Sun (NCAA Rookie of the Week) which was good enough to win. Sun has proven to be one of the best PB workers in the country as he currently sits No. 4 in the NCAA.

The other Stanford individual title came from Grant Breckenridge on HB.

It's been a frustrating couple of years for Kurt Golder and his staff. It would be for anybody who comes off such a high-level of success (back-to-back national titles). The good news, however, is that this Wolverines team is starting to flash potential of getting back to those glory days. This weekend was no exception.

"We knew we had a lot of talent coming in this year and these past two weeks we've just been telling them to trust the process," said assistant coach, Geoff Corrigan.

"What I was happiest about is we did have a couple mistakes early, but those mistakes were kept to a minimum and the guys that came up in the lineup after those mistakes did a really good job of just getting back on track and making sure that they're executing."

There are a couple of gymnasts to note for Michigan, but it's probably best to start with the Wolverines most steady competitor over the last few years: Emyre Cole.

Emyre Cole (photo: Jess Frankl)

One of the most fun-to-watch technical gymnasts in the country, Cole put together a 14.43 three-event average that included titles on his signature events of FX & VT.

Another gymnast we've consistently made note of this year is Jacob Moore. Moore and his freshman teammate, Cameron Bock, have stepped into big roles early in their careers, and they aren't disappointing.

"He's impressive every time he competes, he's very impressive," Corrigan said of Moore. "If he's fallen this year, I don't remember it. Even if he has a mistake, it's a small mistake and they're usually mitigated by the execution that he has as well. He's just a really competitive kid, he works his butt off in the gym, he's quiet, he just works and works and works. His potential is really, really high."

Jacob Moore (photo via MGoBlue.com)

The third Wolverine gymnast enjoying a successful year is Marty Strech. Strech finished top-four on three of his events Saturday and is continuing to be a key piece for Michigan. The redshirt-junior is breaking out thanks to good health and a slight change in training plan. "The biggest change for Marty is that we haven't been pushing for him to do the all-around," explained Corrigan. "What we talked about this summer was just giving him a workload that he could be proud of in competition, something that he could do well on and then also something that didn't push him too fast, too far."

As for the injured Anthony McCallum (high ankle sprain), the coaching staff hopes they can get him into at least one meet on VT before B1G's and aims for a return to FX by NCAA's.

It wasn't the best meet for Illinois as they were only able to find seven scores over a 14. Bobby Baker did compete in the all-around again, which is encouraging. He finished second behind Neff with a 79.9.

Illini titles came from Brandon Ngai (PH) and Alex Diab (SR).

California experienced a season-low score much because of a sub-60 team score on HB where they only captured one routine above a 12.5. Aaron Mah led the team on two different events, PH & VT.

Iowa Gets Huge B1G Win Against Penn State

Andrew Herrador won HB & competed multiple events for the first time in 2018 (photo: Jess Frankl)

Iowa's (404.05) defeat of Penn State (396.55) and Arizona State (376.15) this weekend was a product of JD Reive's team simply hitting routines. With the perfect five-up, five-count recipe of no scores below a 12, the Hawkeyes were able to get a confidence-boosting B1G win.

"We've been counting like upwards of ten or eleven falls, consistently, in most of the meets leading into that one. We've just really honed in on hitting a lot of routines over the course of the week and I think a lot of the work we've been putting in finally came out on the floor together." - Jd Reive

It sure did as across the board, this was far-and-away Iowa's best meet of the year. Just as any coach would want, the team's leader and top competitor, Dylan Ellsworth (B1G Gymnast of the Week/NCAA Gymnast of the Week) led the way. On top of sticking a 2.5 on VT (he won the event) for the second week in a row, Ellsworth also produced all-around & PB titles to go along with top-five finishes on FX & SR. His teammate, Bennet Huang (B1G Freshman of the Week) finished runner-up to Ellsworth in the AA.

Dylan Ellsworth (photo: Jess Frankl)

"These last couple of meets he's really been on," Reive said about Ellsworth. "Good routines, confident performances, he's sticking a lot of his landings, he's sticking vaults and that leadership component I think has been a big part of the turnaround for the other guys that were struggling.

"Any time they can beat another Big Ten opponent -- and this year it's pretty fun because I feel like it's open game for anybody who's on -- it brings them back in. Practice yesterday was really good so they're motivated to kind of see where they stand. They haven't quite seen exactly what they're capable of yet.

Another good sign for the Hawkeyes was the return of sophomore Andrew Herrador to multiple events. They're beginning to ease him back into action following an injury-plagued first-half of the season.

The last remaining title winner for Iowa was senior Austin Hodges on PH.

Over FX, SR, VT & PB, the Nittany Lions actually finished .25 ahead of Iowa. It was PH & HB where Iowa was able to gain heavy ground. Their 59.9 on high bar marked the first time that Penn State has scored below a 65 on that event this year, so to a degree, it can be chalked up to one bad rotation. It's also important to note that Sam Zakutney was not competing this weekend.

PSU received more bad news with the loss of Quest Hayden to a torn achilles. When healthy, Hayden plays a big role in his team's success but sadly he's had some terrible luck when it comes to injuries.

Penn State was able to secure two individual titles on the day: Chris Sands on FX and Noah Roberson on SR.

Chris Sands (photo via GOPSUSports.com)

Fresh off of a 394 day last weekend, it was a day to forget for Arizona State. They just couldn't recover from a 55.8 on PH. They did finish with a pair of top-five individual finishes on VT (Daniel Bronnenberg & Peyton Gaston) & HB (Kiwan Watts & Kirk Malm).

Nebraska completes regular season sweep of osu

Anton Stephenson (photo via the Daily Nebraskan)

Nebraska has swept Ohio State in the regular season. Who would've thought? Not to say that the Huskers didn't have the talent to better the Buckeyes from the start, but three times in a row was definitely unexpected.

Nonetheless, Nebraska (404.0) won the Arnold Challenge on Saturday taking down OSU (401.6) and Air Force (390.25).

Nebraska following the meet (photo via @NebraskaMensGym on Twitter)

While they weren't their usual dominant selves on FX (66.55), the Huskers put it all together on PH (69.95), accumulating their highest score on that event since Jan. 20. All five competitors placed in the top-eight and none scored below a 13.75. That's the type of PH rotation that coaches pray for in a championship meet. Antonio Castro was Nebraska's leader, placing second with a 14.35.

Nebraska had just seven scores of 14+ on the day, but more importantly, they only had one score below a 12. Event winners included Jake Bonnay (FX), Alex Magsam (SR) and Anton Stephenson (VT).

Season-lows on FX (65.7), SR (63.8) and VT (68.2) was the eventual undoing for the still winless Ohio State Buckeyes. No Sean Melton or Alec Yoder on SR didn't help, but OSU needs to be able to prove that they have the depth to win past their big two.

"This was our first five-up, five-count meet of the year, but that's not an excuse," explained head coach Rustam Sharipov to OhioStateBuckeyes.com after the meet. "This time of the season it is important for all of our guys to contribute. We will learn from this."

On a positive note, the Buckeyes finished off the meet very well on PB & HB. Melton & Yoder finished 1-2, respectively, on both events.

Alec Yoder (photo: Jess Frankl)

It's been a trying regular season for Ohio State along with dealing with the absence of Seth Delbridge. Things won't get any easier as they travel west to face Stanford this coming weekend.

Mids Pick Up TWo Wins On The Weekend

Noah Beeman on FX at NCAA's in 2017 (photo via Navy Sports)

Competing on both Friday and Saturday on the road, Navy brought home a pair of conference wins. The first meet of the weekend saw them defeat William & Mary by a score of 390.85-383.45.

Navy really separated themselves on PH, an event where they defeated W&M by 5.8. Freshman David Toussaint (ECAC Specialist of the Week) has been a huge help for the Mids on that event in 2018 and won the title with a 13.95. He's climbed all the way to No. 16 in the nation.

David Toussaint (photo via Navy Sports)

"We continue to identify and narrow in on our weaknesses as we prepare for the postseason," said head coach Kip Simons to NavySports.com. "Going into the defending [ECAC] champion’s house and coming away with a victory is always a positive."

Similar to PH, the Mids claimed the top-three positions on HB with yet another freshman coming out on top -- Ryan McVay. Other winners included Tanner West (VT) and Lucas Beltran (PB).

Since a season-high 66.25 on pommel horse on February 4, the Tribe has begun to struggle on the event again. For two-straight meets now W&M has been unable to reach the 60-mark -- a big reason for the dip in team score.

On a positive note, they had a heck of a showing on VT, posting their third-highest team score (68.55) of the year. Freshman Collin Lillie (ECAC Rookie of the Week) broke out for a 14.1 to claim an event title while his teammate, Juan Palma finished as runner-up with a 13.95.

Collin Lillie (photo via TribeAthletics.com)

Individually, other Tribe team members to pick up wins were Palma on FX and Nate Winneg in the all-around with a 74.15.

On Sunday, Navy scored a bit lower but still secured a win over Springfield by a score of 383.25-380.65. The team ran into trouble on PB (58.8) but were made up for that lack of production with a good HB rotation (66.05).

Toussaint picked up where he left off on Friday by winning two events (FX & PH) while Tanner West did something similar by leading the field on VT. Ben Provost won HB, an event where he ranks just outside the top-20 nationally.

Springfield bettered Navy on three events yet still fell short at home. It was your usual suspects contributing for the Pride; Stephen Lewis (ECAC Gymnast of the Week) & Joshua Dieker finished 1-2, respectively, in the all-around while Chris Graff was given his first non-six event day of the year.

Lewis took home a VT title as well and Jannik Haas continues his great season on PB by winning the meet with a 13.15.

Minnesota Defeats UIC In Chicago

Vitali Kan on PH vs. Penn State (photo: Jess Frankl)

Neither Shane Wiskus nor Shaun Herzog competed on Sunday, but Minnesota was able to leave the Windy City with a win over UIC by a score of 386.05-354.9.

It wasn't a great overall performance for Minnesota, but they were able to debut a couple of gymnasts for the first time this season and get some other key competitors some rest.

The gymnast who had the best day for Minnesota was junior Vitali Kan. He placed top-two on all three of his events including a pair of titles on PH & VT.

"It's always good to put another 'W' in the win/loss column," head coach Mike Burns said to GopherSports.com after the meet. "We were a little down on our performances but had a few super bright spots. This week will be a key preparation week as we head to Iowa City for a Big Ten matchup."

Other winners for the Gophers included Alex Wittenberg (FX), Yaroslav Pochinka (SR), Ben Winkel (PB) and Jalon Stephens (HB).

Ben Winkel's season-high 14.1 earned him a title on PB (photo: Jess Frankl)

It was a difficult day for UIC who was unable to crack the 59 mark on four events. A bright spot for the Flames came from one of their freshmen -- Colin Schwartz. Over three events, Schwartz averaged a 12.66 including a fourth-place finish on PH.

Temple Clinches Berth To USAG NAtionals

Competing on Sunday against NY Alliance, the Temple Owls clinched a berth to the USAG Nationals with a season-high of 292.8. Toby Warren (Club Gymnast of the Week) competed in the all-around and produced the highest score Temple has seen this season with a 71.4.

You can check out some highlights of the Owls' day here.

Created By
Logan Bradley


Unless otherwise noted, all photos belong to Jess Frankl.

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