NCAA Championships Preview Can Anyone dethrone oklahoma?

Regular season is done, conference meets are over and it's now time to decide a national champion. Entering the weekend, the overwhelming favorites are the 2015 & '16 NCAA champion, Oklahoma Sooners.

The most compelling storyline of the weekend might come from prelim session one on Friday afternoon. It seems as though Penn State and Nebraska will be battling it out for a spot in team finals on Saturday. The same two teams found themselves in a similar situation last year when PSU edged the Huskers by four tenths to earn a berth into finals. If Nebraska were to place top-three on Friday it would secure them their highest placing at NCAA's as a team since 1999.

Session I (Fri. April 21st - 1pm)

Rotation Sheet

#2 Stanford Cardinal

  • NCAA Team Titles: Five (last in 2011)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (MPSF): 2nd of 4
  • 2017 Team High Score: 432.05 (Home vs. Oklahoma on March 4th)

For the third-straight year, Stanford enters NCAA Championships chasing Oklahoma. Their March 4th battle against the Sooners (they lost by just .25) shows that there is indeed hope for an upset. There is plenty of young talent on this team for the future, but with a rare talent like Akash Modi in his senior year, now should be the time for the Cardinal.

Stanford boasts four top-two event rankings as a team - including PB

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Akash Modi (NQA: 87.625)

FX: Modi (NQA: 14.763)

PH: Modi (NQA: 14.613)

SR: Josiah Eng (NQA: 15.05)

VT: Taylor Seaton (NQA: 14.725)

PB: Modi (NQA: 15.213)

HB: Robert Neff (NQA: 14.65)

#3 Ohio State Buckeyes

  • NCAA Team Titles: Three (last in 2001)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 1st of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 422.2 (Home vs. Michigan on Feb. 4th)

To begin this I'd like to send my deepest regards to Larry Mayer Jr.'s family, friends and Ohio State teammates. No doubt the Buckeyes will be competing with heavy hearts this weekend, and they'll be doing it for Larry. With that being said, OSU will be riding their momentum from B1G's. Taking down Oklahoma and Stanford will be a tall task, but it's not out of the question.

Sean Melton is coming off a B1G all-around victory

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Jake Martin (NQA: 83.088)

FX: Sean Melton (NQA: 14.625)

PH: Alec Yoder (NQA: 14.825)

SR: Melton (NQA: 14.763)

VT: Seth Delbridge (NQA: 14.606)

PB: Jake Dastrup (NQA: 14.438)

HB: Martin (NQA: 14.45)

#6 Penn State Nittany Lions

  • NCAA Team Titles: Twelve (last in 2007)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 4th of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 420.4 (Home vs. Iowa on March 25th)

Penn State will be looking to break into NCAA team finals for the seventh-consecutive year. Leading the charge will be veterans Leroy Clarke Jr. and Dom DiFulvio. Despite big injuries in 2017, this team has kept its head above water thanks to some younger team members stepping up.

Nedoroscik is the top-ranked freshman in the NCAA on PH

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Sam Zakutney (NQA: 81.413)

FX: Christian McSwain (NQA: 14.288)

PH: Stephen Nedoroscik (NQA: 14.438)

SR: Dominic DiFulvio (NQA: 14.588)

VT: DiFulvio (NQA: 14.4)

PB: Zakutney (NQA: 14.35)

HB: Franz Card (NQA: 13.681)

#7 Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • NCAA Team Titles: Eight (last in 1994)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 5th of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 425.55 (Home vs. Minnesota on March 25th)

I'm going to venture a guess and say nobody wants into team finals more than the Huskers. Chmelka and his staff have recruited some really talented guys and the hope is that it pays off when it counts, NCAA Championships. We've talked about them all year, but the Stephenson brothers will be taking this team as far as they can go.

Anton Stephenson is the top-scorer for the Huskers on three events

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Chris Stephenson (NQA: 81.313)

FX: Anton Stephenson (NQA: 14.4)

PH: Antonio Castro (NQA: 14.35)

SR: Heath Anderson (NQA: 13.938)

VT: A. Stephenson (NQA: 14.856)

PB: A. Stephenson (NQA: 14.188)

HB: Castro/C. Stephenson (NQA: 13.538)

#9 Michigan Wolverines

  • NCAA Team Titles: Six (last in 2014)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 7th of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 414.95 (Home vs. UIC on March 25th)

The Wolverines are rebuilding, but they're doing so while staying competitive. They're going to need to avoid big mistakes (duh), and if they do so they could find themselves in a battle with PSU and Nebraska for a spot in finals.

Michigan owns the fifth-ranked VT team in the NCAA

2017 Top Scorers:

AA: Emyre Cole (AVG: 80.087)

FX: Cole (NQA: 14.563)

PH: Mack Lasker (NQA: 13.775)

SR: Ryan Dunning (NQA: 14.088)

VT: Anthony McCallum (NQA: 14.888)

PB: Cole (NQA: 13.975)

HB: Adam Dean (NQA: 13.719)

#11 Air Force Falcons

  • NCAA Team Titles: None
  • 2017 Conference Finish (MPSF): 4th of 4
  • 2017 Team High Score: 409.15 (Home vs. Army on Jan. 28th)

This weekend marks the last hurrah for Tim Wang who might go down as the best Falcon gymnast of all-time. It also marks the seventh season in a row that Air Force has qualified into NCAA's as a team.

Cannon enters the final weekend ranked 17th in the NCAA on HB

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Tim Wang (NQA: 83.775)

FX: Christian Kalustian (NQA: 13.838)

PH: Wang (NQA: 14.725)

SR: Wang (NQA: 14.213)

VT: Wang (NQA: 14.788)

PB: Jonathon Fornoff (NQA: 14.15)

HB: Chase Cannon (NQA: 14.05)

Session II (Fri. April 21st - 7pm)

Rotation Sheet

#1 Oklahoma Sooners

  • NCAA Team Titles: Ten (last in 2016)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (MPSF): 1st of 4
  • 2017 Team High Score: 434.55 (Home vs. Ohio State on March 11th)

Of the many times I've talked to Mark Williams this season, there was one constant: "we've just got to do what we've been doing." If the Sooners do what they've been doing, they'll be in good shape. There's a good chance they're raising a national championship trophy on Saturday night.

The Sooners are looking for their third-straight NCAA title

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Allan Bower (NQA: 85.713)

FX: Yul Moldauer (NQA: 14.825)

PH: Bower (NQA: 15.0)

SR: Moldauer (NQA: 15.063)

VT: Tanner Justus (NQA: 14.963)

PB: Moldauer (NQA: 15.388)

HB: Levi Anderson (NQA: 14.863)

#4 Illinois Fighting Illini

  • NCAA Team Titles: Ten (last in 2012)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 2nd of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 422.9 (@Arizona State on Jan. 21st)

Outside of hiccups on PH, the Illini looked up to the challenge at B1G's. It seems as though they've found a way to stay healthy enough to give themselves a chance at a top-three finish at NCAA's. That's something this team hasn't done since being crowned national champions back in 2012.

Ngai will look to defend his NCAA PH title

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Johnny Jacobson (AVG: 79.41)

FX: Alex Diab (NQA: 14.763)

PH: Brandon Ngai (NQA: 14.719)

SR: Diab (NQA: 14.719)

VT: Jacob Light (NQA: 14.613)

PB: Jacobson (NQA: 14.488)

HB: Tyson Bull (NQA: 14.65)

#5 Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • NCAA Team Titles: None
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 3rd of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 426.95 (@Nebraska on March 25th)

Last season the Gophers got over the hump and qualified into NCAA team finals. This year that seems to be the base expectation. This team could finish as high as fourth on the back of their FX (4th - NCAA) and VT (2nd - NCAA) squads.

Minnesota's FX & VT teams each rank top-four in the NCAA

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Justin Karstadt (NQA: 82.113)

FX: Alex Wittenberg (NQA: 14.575)

PH: Karstadt (NQA: 14.475)

SR: Yaroslav Pochinka (NQA: 14.163)

VT: Pochinka (NQA: 14.913)

PB: Karstadt (NQA: 14.238)

HB: Jalon Stephens (NQA: 14.219)

#8 Iowa Hawkeyes

  • NCAA Team Titles: One (last in 1969)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (B1G): 6th of 7
  • 2017 Team High Score: 414.65 (Home vs. Oklahoma & Minnesota on Feb. 10th)

In my opinion, the Hawkeyes exceeded expectations in 2017. They lost a talented senior class but their freshmen looked well-prepared to fill the void. While a trip to team finals will be hard, it isn't out of the realm of possibilities. They must avoid a FX rotation like they had at B1G's (64.15).

Paterson ended up with a runner-up finish on HB at the B1G Championships

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Andrew Botto (NQA: 79.938)

FX: Andrew Herrador (NQA: 13.863)

PH: Austin Hodges (NQA: 14.2)

SR: Botto (NQA: 14.288)

VT: Dylan Ellsworth (NQA: 14.638)

PB: Hodges (NQA: 14.0)

HB: Cory Paterson (NQA: 14.25)

#10 California Golden Bears

  • NCAA Team Titles: Four (last in 1998)
  • 2017 Conference Finish (MPSF): 3rd of 4
  • 2017 Team High Score: 410.1 (MPSF Championships @Home on April 8th)

The Bears are led by the two-headed monster of Aaron Mah and Yordan Aleksandrov. PH has been an issue all year long but it looked like less of one at MPSF's. If they can put forth a similar effort, they can contend with the Hawkeyes.

Mah is Cal's top scoring athlete on FX & PH

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Aaron Mah (NQA: 81.938)

FX: Mah (NQA: 14.475)

PH: Mah (NQA: 13.425)

SR: Yordan Aleksandrov (NQA: 14.025)

VT: Michael Rauchwerger (NQA: 14.263)

PB: Aleksandrov (NQA: 14.075)

HB: Aleksandrov (NQA: 14.175)

#12 Navy Midshipmen

  • NCAA Team Titles: None
  • 2017 Conference Finish (ECAC): 2nd of 5
  • 2017 Team High Score: 409.4 (Home vs. William & Mary on Jan. 28th)

With only two seniors on the roster, anything Navy gets this year at NCAA's is a plus. As usual, senior Jonny Tang and freshman Tanner West will lead the way. The Mids will look to take down a couple teams as the lone ECAC representative in the field.

Tanner West is the top-ranked freshman in the NCAA on SR

Top Scorers in 2017:

AA: Jonny Tang (NQA: 81.775)

FX: Tang (NQA: 14.163)

PH: Ryan Orce (NQA: 13.65)

SR: Wyatt LaPointe (NQA: 13.95)

VT: Lucas Beltran (NQA: 14.35)

PB: Tang (NQA: 14.2)

HB: Tang (NQA: 13.713)

PREDICTIONS:

TEAM: Oklahoma Sooners

AA: Yul Moldauer, OU

FX: Yul Moldauer, OU

PH: Brandon Ngai, ILL

SR: Sean Melton, OSU

VT: Anthony McCallum, MICH

PB: Akash Modi, STAN

HB: Tyson Bull, ILL

Created By
Logan Bradley
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Credits:

Photo Credit: Jess Frankl

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