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.
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