#NCAAMGym Week 3 Oklahoma dominates; Navy catapults into 400's

Oklahoma takes care of wolverines in Norman

Yul Moldauer posted an 88.35 in the all-around

For the second time in three meets, Oklahoma has reached the 430 mark (430.05). This time around, the star of the show was defending NCAA champion Yul Moldauer (NCAA Gymnast of the Week). Moldauer joins Stanford's Akash Modi as the only gymnasts to post 14+ on every event while competing all-around. It felt like a video game watching the Sooners on high bar where they compiled an NCAA-best 72.5. It was highlighted by Levi Anderson's 14.9 which is the current best HB score in the nation.

Oklahoma popped yet again on vault (Sooners possess the top three team vault scores in the NCAA) to the tune of 73.65. Freshman Tanner Justus stuck a massive Kaz-1.5 to retain his place atop the NCAA VT leaderboard.

Just as you think the Sooners might not be machines, they go ahead and reach 430 without the services of Allan Bower and Matt Wenske. The streak continues. You can view some of Oklahoma's highlights here.

In their second meet of their season, the Michigan Wolverines broke the 400 mark (400.8). The meet went similar to the Windy City Invite as the Wolverines relied on their floor and vault teams to carry the load; they're ranked top-five nationally on both events. There was a scary moment on FX for senior Tristian Perez-Rivera as he looked to injure himself on his dismount. Perez-Rivera redshirted last year due to injury and we certainly hope the best for him.

Sophomore Emyre Cole has been spectacular for Michigan, ranking 1st in the NCAA on floor and 6th on vault following his stuck Yurchenko-2.5 on Saturday.

Illini squeak out B1G win over Gophers

Sophomore Alex Diab earned B1G Gymnast of the Week after scoring 14.2+ on four events

It was an up-and-down roller coaster ride for the Illini on Saturday but they were able to edge Minnesota 416.5-413.75. Illinois struggled mightily on pommel horse (66.4) and posted a season-low on parallel bars (66.35). "We had an uncharacteristic meltdown on PH and PB," described head coach Justin Spring. "I think that bad energy caught fire a little bit and got away from us on those events."

Still, it wasn't something a little high bar magic couldn't fix as Illinois was able to clinch the meet with a 71.2 on the final event.

"I think they got really upset and fired up after parallel bars; they attacked high bar and crushed it." - Justin Spring

After two weekends that went smoothly for the Illini, some struggles were to be expected. However, if this team wants to make the jump past Stanford, the back end of their pommel horse lineup will need to step up. "I'm not panicked about it [pommel horse]," said Spring. "But we've got to be better and I expect it not to happen again."

Sophomore Alex Diab (B1G Gymnast of the Week) starred for the Illini, earning the rings title with a 14.9 and producing good numbers on floor (14.5), vault (14.25) and high bar (14.2).

Although they didn't take home a victory, Minnesota took yet another step forward on Saturday, recording a season-best team score. Vitali Kan continued his breakout year winning a title on vault (14.85) and producing solid numbers on floor (14.4), pommel horse (13.6) and rings (13.3) as well. It also seems that the Golden Gophers have gotten some much needed help on rings (they rank 10th in NCAA) in the form of Mitchell Soukup who went 14.45.

The only thing standing in the way of more improvement for this team is the absence of standout senior, Zach Liebler. According to head coach Mike Burns, Liebler has been battling fragile ankles due to some low landings in practice. Having him on the floor, healthy and doing more events, would be a boost to Minnesota's outlook.

Air Force produces convincing defeat of Army at home

Although they're banged up, the Falcons cruised to a 409.15-389.25 defeat of the Black Knights. Air Force head coach Jeff Robinson was pleased with the performance, saying, "It was a good weekend, we ended up only having to count two missed sets which was a big improvement overall compared to the previous weekend."

Tim Wang competed four events but didn't do a dismount on rings, parallel bars or high bar due to a quadriceps injury. Senior Chase Cannon is also dealing with an injury of his own, an FCL strain."We're pretty dinged up right now," commented Robinson. "We have some guys we're trying to rest, particularly leg injuries."

An area of concern for the Falcons after last weekend was floor. They improved by over four points, posting a 66.45, but Robinson knows landings will need to be better.

"The guys have got happy feet, they're bouncing off the floor like it's a trampoline." - Jeff Robinson

As for Army, it wasn't the weekend they hoped for following an improvement in week two. No single event was the reason, it was more so the fact that they were only able to score 65+ on one event, vault (69.2). They will look to get things back on track next week at home against their rival, Navy.

Navy crushes season-best en route to win over William & Mary

If we were still in the same code as last year, Navy would have just barely missed out on breaking their program record for highest team score (409.4 would have roughly equated to a 423.9 - program record was 424.1).

Navy may have caught lightning in a bottle this year with their Freshman/Senior combo of Tanner West and Jonny Tang (ECAC Gymnast of the Week). The two scored 82.25 and 83.05 in the all-around, respectively. They accounted for 37% of Navy's team score on Saturday afternoon. "Jonny and Tanner have been the workhorses for this team and we'll continue to raise the bar on what's expected of them," said head coach Kip Simons.

The Mids also got a pair of title-winning performances from Wyatt LaPointe (ECAC Specialist of the Week) on rings (14.35) and Noah Beeman on high bar (13.9). Simons and his staff seem to really have this team on the right track.

Not to be overshadowed was a great performance from William & Mary who grabbed a season best score of their own, 401.3. Senior Aria Sabbagh stepped up in a big way, besting his season-high in the all-around by over four points with a 79.8. Rob Meyer continued his solid year with three season-highs of his own on pommel horse (13.4), rings (13.9) and parallel bars (14.35).

Penn State victorious in road meet against Springfield

Sunday's only NCAA meet featured Penn State visiting Springfield and leaving with a win, 408.1-384.55. Canadian product Sam Zakutney had a day, producing an 82.65 in the all-around to secure B1G Freshman of the Week honors. The Nittany Lions set season highs on three events, pommel horse (70.3), vault (70.95) and parallel bars (70.7).

Of the three, pommel horse may have been the most important as head coach Randy Jepson singled that event out as a strongpoint in the preseason. Freshman Stephen Nedoroscik broke through with a 14.5 and Colin Coates chipped in with a 14.3 to lead Penn State.

Just to describe how good PSU has been on PB this year; Oklahoma is the only other team to have gone 70+ on that event at every meet so far.

It could've been an even better day for the Nittany Lions had it not been for high bar, where they only managed a 63.7.

Springfield suffered a drop in production on Sunday much in part to their struggles on high bar, similar to Penn State. The Pride posted a 59.65 on the event, a season low for them. Rookie Stephen Lewis was yet again a bright spot with a season-best 78.9 in the all-around.

Cal wins SC United Open with season-high

Powered by the third-best high bar score (72.05) in the NCAA this season, the Cal Golden Bears were victorious at the SC United Open Saturday night. Three competitors scored 14.6 or better on the event including Capri Sano (14.6), Gagik Gharibyan (14.65) and Yordan Aleksandrov (14.65). Aaron Mah took home the all-around title with a season-best 81.8.

The bottom line is that Cal is one event away from being a very good team. Pommel horse has been their achilles heel so far this year as they rank 15th in the NCAA.

Taking second and producing another season-high was Arizona State with a 397.4. The Sun Devils took home three event title on the evening: Zack Mollett on pommel horse (13.8), William Sweeten on parallel bars (13.75) and Daniel Bronnenberg on vault (14.25).

Andre Pelletier took home NCAA Club Gymnast of the Week honors for his performances on vault (14.1), parallel bars (13.0) and high bar (13.6):

Through three meets Arizona State has not had an event score of less than 63.5, a very impressive feat for a club program.

Temple also came through with a season-best of their own, a 375.35. Casey Polizzotto competed all six for the Owls for the third straight weekend, producing his best score of the season, a 76.35.

SC United rounded out the group with the fourth season-best score of the night, a 350.05.

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Logan Bradley
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All photos: Jess Frankl

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