This weekend marked the coming and going of another fantastic Winter Cup competition. Once the dust settled, eighteen of the top-twenty all-around finishers currently are, or were, a member of an NCAA team. Not only that, ten of the twelve named to the U.S. Senior National team hail from the NCAA ranks as well.
Obviously the most impressive competitor of the weekend was former Michigan Wolverine, Sam Mikulak. He looked absolutely dominant over the two-day competition posting scores of 86.2 and 86.3. No other gymnast was able to reach the 84 mark on either day.
For a guy who's dealt with some serious injuries (like an achilles tear at WC in 2017), Mikulak looked stronger than he has in a long time. Here are a few highlight performances from the 25-year-old:
The highest all-around finish from a current NCAA competitor was Sean Melton (164.8) who baaarely squeaked by his Buckeye teammate, Alec Yoder (164.7), to secure fifth place.
Melton & Yoder at the 2017 Big Ten Championships (photo: Jess Frankl)
Following those two (and also finishing in the top-10) were Robert Neff (163.75) of Stanford and Shane Wiskus (162.9) of Minnesota.
U.S. SENIOR NATIONAL TEAM
- Donothan Bailey (formerly of Cal)
- Allan Bower (formerly of Oklahoma)
- Marvin Kimble
- Sean Melton (Ohio State)
- Sam Mikulak (formerly of Michigan)
- Akash Modi (formerly of Stanford)
- Yul Moldauer (Oklahoma)
- Alex Naddour (formerly of Oklahoma)
- Eddie Penev (formerly of Stanford)
- Donnell Whittenburg
- Shane Wiskus (Minnesota)
- Alec Yoder (Ohio State)
Here are a few notable performances from gymnasts currently competing in the NCAA ranks:
- Shane Wiskus (2nd): Wiskus and Mikulak were the only gymnasts to score higher than a 14.5 over the two days in Vegas. He finished in a tie with former Stanford great, Akash Modi:
- Chris Stephenson (6th): Stephenson entered Winter Cup ranked just 34th in the NCAA on floor. He's competed exclusively on FX, VT & PB in 2018 due to a shoulder problem.
- Alec Yoder (1st): Yoder looks better than ever this year on pommel horse. He and Olympian Alex Naddour were the only two gymnasts to record 15's in Vegas.
- Brandon Ngai (3rd): For the second-straight year Ngai has finished top-three on PH in Vegas. Over the two days he finished just .45 behind the second-place Mikulak.
- Sean Melton (1st): The No. 1 ranked ringman in the country didn't disappoint this weekend. His 14.55 in prelims was the highest score on the event this weekend.
- Alex Diab (2nd): Diab, similar to Melton, finished in the same spot as his NCAA ranking. The Illini came out with a strong 14.4 on day two to finish just .15 out of first.
- Sean Neighbarger (5th): Competing a yurchenko-2.5, the rookie from Ohio State was the highest current NCAA finisher on vault. He sits No. 6 in the college ranks.
- Shaun Herzog (6th): Despite having a little difficulty with his day one vault, Herzog got exactly what he needed day two with a stuck 2.5.
- Alec Yoder (t2nd): PB was a race for second with Mikulak dominating, and Yoder tied Akash Modi to grab runner-up honors. Yoder's sky-high front-1.25 and kicked-out dismount have him also placed 2nd on the event in the NCAA.
- Grant Breckenridge (4th): The first of Breckenridge's two top-four finishes came on parallel bars. Only Mikulak had a higher single-day score on the event than Breckenridge's day-two 14.4.
- Grant Breckenridge (2nd): High bar was easily the lowest-scoring event of the weekend so it makes sense that one of the cleanest gymnasts finished 2nd. Breckenridge put together a two-day total of 27.65.
- Robert Neff (3rd): It was an all-Stanford battle for second place and the 2017 NCAA HB champ got edged out. Still, Neff put together a beautiful day one 14.15.