#NCAAMGym Week 11 Recap Big Scores in Lincoln; Falcons & Sun Devils Claim USAG Titles

Air Force; Arizona State Grab USAG Titles

Air Force rebounded from a season-low two weeks ago to win the USAG team title (Photo via @AFgymnastics on Twitter).

Air Force (396.95) left little doubt on Friday cruising to their eighth-consecutive USAG team title topping William & Mary (388.4), Navy (379.7) and Springfield (373.85).

Competing AA for the ninth time in two-and-a-half months, Tim Wang (MPSF Gymnast of the Week) put up the day's best AA score (82.9) including his eleventh 14.2+ on PH in 2017. He also added meet-bests on SR (13.8) and VT (14.7). The Falcons' workhorse earned the USAG Varsity Senior Gymnast of the Year award to go along with his nice weekend.

William & Mary averages a 63 on both PH & HB but fell well below that number on Friday. Those two events were the difference makers and ultimately accounted for the eight-point margin between first and second. Bright spots came from Rob Meyer who won his second-straight USAG PB title and Tim O'Neill (ECAC Rookie of the Week) who qualified for VT finals and finished fifth with a 14.05.

It ended up being the Tribe's second-lowest team total of the year. I'd expect this weekend to be a little extra motivation for ECAC's. You can find some highlights of their meet here.

Coming in third at the varsity level was Navy. The Mids did all they could without top competitors Jonny Tang & Tanner West who missed their second-consecutive weekend of competition. Their absence has allowed Noah Beeman (ECAC Gymnast of the Week) to step into the spotlight as Navy's top AA. He responded with a 77.7 -- good enough for second place.

Rounding out the group was Springfield who wound up well below their season-average of 384.6. HB has been a constant issue for the Pride and it continued Friday as they scored a 58.55. Chris Graff finished third AA at the varsity level with a 75.8. Jannik Haas was named ECAC Specialist of the Week after his 13.7 on PB qualified him into event finals where he placed fourth with a 13.6.

Arizona State (383.65) finished off their 2017 season with a bang claiming their 20th USAG National title in the club division. Washington (381.25) kept things within an arms length but ultimately fell short while Temple (364.75) and SC United (341.5) finished third and fourth, respectively.

The Sun Devils won National titles on the individual (2) and team level this weekend (Photo via @sundevilgymnastics on Facebook).

The weekend couldn't have gone better for Riley Ward (NCAA Club Gymnast of the Week) who competed on two events and won two national titles (FX & SR).

Riley Ward captured national titles on FX & SR

Other key contributors to the victory were Nick Garcia (FX - 13.8, VT - 13.9) and Zack Mollett (FX - 14.2, PH - 12.6, SR - 12.5, PB - 13.2).

Though they fell short in the team competition, Washington didn't leave empty handed as Nathan Tsuji took the AA crown (78.2). Tsuji's importance to the Huskies in 2017 can't be understated; he competed AA in all six of their meets and accounted for 18.99% of the team's scoring this year (highest % across all varsity and club teams in NCAA).

The Temple Owls paired a third place team finish with a third place AA finish by Casey Polizzotto (73.8) in the club division.

SC United finished their year as Cecilio Garcia (68.95) and Nicolas Horner (68.5) finished fourth and fifth in the AA, respectively.

Saturday's Event Final Winners:

FX: Riley Ward (ASU): 14.6

PH: Tim Wang (AF): 14.1

SR: Riley Ward (ASU): 13.9

VT: Lucas Beltran (Navy): 14.75

PB: Rob Meyer (W&M): 14.3

HB: Ben Provost (Navy): 13.35

Gophers & Huskers Blow Out Averages in Final B1G Duel

Judges were throwing out season-high scores (32 between the two teams -- not including team totals) like they were going out of style in Minnesota's (426.95) win over Nebraska (425.55).

Let's get a couple things straight right off the bat: were both teams impressive on Saturday? No doubt about it. Was the judging as strict as it should be? Not at all. Both teams scored 15+ points above their season average.

It's never been more clear that NCAA judges need to be held more accountable for their performance. There's no way of comparing teams' scores from varying regions of the country when some panels of judges apply the rules completely different than others.

What rules were not applied in Lincoln that resulted in scores that skewed so far from Minnesota and Nebraska's averages? Is there a better system of checks and balances that can be applied so the central evaluation system in our sport isn't so flawed?

With all of that said, nothing should be taken away from the Gophers or Huskers. They put on show for a national audience on the B1G Network and should feel great heading into postseason.

Nobody was happier than Minnesota head coach Mike Burns who pointed out that a meet like this could be a defining moment for his team.

"I think this was a paradigm shifting event in the realization of their own self belief. That was the step we needed to take." - Mike Burns

It's nothing new to point out how good the Gophers are on VT in 2017, but the talent and ability was on full display Saturday. "It was by far the best vaulting we'd ever done as a team," described Burns. "We had five 5.2 vaults, which was good."

They're competing four 2.5 twisting vaults and one double-front (probably the best in the country). It looks like Justin Karstadt (NCAA/B1G Gymnast of the Week) is joining in on that fun as he competed a yurchenko 2.5 that helped contribute to his 87.05 in the AA.

Nebraska didn't make things easy, however, as they took Minnesota down to the wire.

"It was a battle right to the very end," Burns added. "I think TV got a good show out of it."

For the Huskers, Chris Stephenson led the way with an 83.9 AA score. As a whole, Nebraska looked like a confident group. The biggest takeaway should be the five hit PH routines. Capping off that rotation was Antonio Castro's big 14.9.

Hitting PH will obviously be a must, but for the Huskers to make more noise SR will need to be an event they really nail. They lack the big start values so it's imperative that they stay clean and stick dismounts.

PSU Wins Senior Meet Against IOwa

Posting the second-highest PH team score (72.35) of 2017 helps -- a lot. That's what the Nittany Lions found out in their 420.4-414.0 win over Iowa this weekend.

Leading the PH onslaught was Stephen Nedoroscik (14.6), Leroy Clarke Jr. (14.6) and Colin Coates (14.55). Head coach Randy Jepson has said many times he has one of the best PH teams in the country -- it definitely showed against Iowa.

The only blemish for PSU came on HB where they could only put together a 66.15. Michael Burns is missed on that event more than anywhere else. Burns had accumulated three scores of 14.2+ before going down with a torn achilles.

Filling Burns' void on a couple of events has been freshman Alex Thomason who did his job well for a second-straight week (PB - 13.75, HB - 13.6).

Nedoroscik/Clarke Jr. (PH), Dominic DiFulvio (SR & VT) and Wyatt Tyndall (PB) all snagged titles on Saturday.

Head coach Randy Jepson spoke to the media after the meet, you can view that here.

Iowa was no slouch putting together their second-best performance of the year. They stayed consistent throughout the day and ended up counting only one score below a 13. J.D. Reive has built this team around consistent, clean gymnastics and that strategy is paying off.

Andrew Herrador (FX), Andrew Botto (VT & AA) and Cory Paterson (HB) were event winners for the Hawkeyes.

Buckeyes Get a Road Win Over Illini

Even without a packed house, Ohio State vs. Illinois still had the competitive feel of a postseason meet. In a competition that could be considered a B1G Championship warmup the Buckeyes took home a victory, 416.85-415.25.

One thing that stood out for Ohio State: Alec Yoder looked as good as ever. Yoder made the most of his three events (PH - 15.1, VT - 14.55, PB - 14.35) and seems like a good bet to defend his B1G PH title in two weeks.

The second part of the Buckeye's 1-2 punch, Sean Melton, also looked sharp winning SR (15.2) and PB (14.6). As long as things are clicking for those two you've got to think Rustam Sharipov and the Buckeyes like their chances of making it back-to-back B1G titles.

Lackluster PH and PB rotations ultimately doomed the Illini on Friday. Getting Matt Foster back for postseason will be a big key as his PH might be the single-most important routine for Illinois. The other key will be retaining some level of health for Bobby Baker who's scheduled for wrist surgery just days after NCAA Championships.

Continuing to have a nice year for the Illini are Alex Diab and Sebastian Quiana (B1G Freshman of the Week). As a sophomore, Diab had already established himself but Quiana is really making himself known following an event-winning 14.95 on FX. He now ranks second nationally on that event.

Illinois is in desperate need of a health reset button. Still, they narrowly missed out on beating the Buckeyes which means they have more than enough to keep pace with them in the postseason.

Michigan Gets a breakout performance on senior day

Crushing their previous high score by over seven points, Michigan cruised to a 414.95-368.6 win over UIC.

Staying true to form, Michigan did the majority of their damage on FX (71.4) & VT (72.35). What came as a surprise from their performance, though, was their season-high of 68.5 on PH. It's not an event the Wolverines will likely ever blow it out of the park on, but if they can replicate their rotation from Saturday at B1G's, they'll be in fine shape.

Mitchell Brown has been one of the lesser-talked-about freshmen in the NCAA this year but continued to do his job on three events (PH - 13.6, VT - 14.25 and PB - 13.7) as he has all year.

Emyre Cole also popped on Saturday putting together an 83.1 AA score -- his best of the year by a long shot.

Dominating the day title-wise was Anthony McCallum. He topped the leaderboard on FX (14.45), VT (14.85) and PB (13.9 to tie with teammate Jonathan Chin).

The Wolverines are certainly proving themselves as the season reaches a conclusion. You can check out some highlights of their day here.

It was another rough day for the Flames as their young core continues to gain experience. Steen Haugsted left Ann Arbor with a pair of top-five finishes on PB (12.7) and SR (13.2).

Created By
Logan Bradley


Photo credit: Jess Frankl

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