#NCAAMGym Week 9 Recap OU posts NCAA-best score; Michigan & Navy with a pair of upsets

Sooners Defeat #3 OSU En Route To NCAA-Best Score

Genki Suzuki (left) and Yul Moldauer (middle-back) each won a title.

When four of six event scores are in the top-two nationally for 2017, you know you had a good night. Those four events (FX, PH, SR and HB) lifted OU over the Buckeyes, 434.55-417.6.

The real news this week was the return of freshman Matt Wenske from a meniscus repair of his knee. Wenske already looked back at full health as he opted against easing back into action and competed a beautiful kaz-double full.

Colin Van Wicklen was the lone AA'er for the Sooners. He scored an 84.15 highlighted by a 15.3 on FX which was an NCAA-best score for all of three minutes before teammate Yul Moldauer put up a 15.55.

Moldauer and Allan Bower both had lighter-than-usual days doing three and four events, respectively. Of course lighter doesn't mean less productive as the two combined for a 14.85 average over the seven routines.

OU counted just three scores below a 14 on the day. A full video recap of their meet can be found here.

Though the storylines were dominated by Sooners, the Buckeyes didn't have too bad of a day themselves. Only one event truly gave them trouble and that was FX where they could only produce one score of 14+.

Jake Martin continued his 2017 comeback tour with an AA-winning 85.3. Also winning titles were Alec Yoder on PH with a 15.4 -- the best score in the NCAA this year -- and Sean Melton on SR with a 14.95.

Martin ranks top-14 nationally on PH & HB.

The Buckeyes have only been able to exceed 420 one time this year, but have now scored a 415+ in four consecutive meets. With just one more regular season competition to go, they look like the favorites to win another B1G title.

Stanford Wins Tri-Meet; Michigan Upsets Illinois To Take Second

Akash Modi returned to NCAA competition scoring an 87.7

Outside of Akash Modi (MPSF Gymnast of the Week) and some consistent team performances on PB & HB, it wasn't too great of a day for the Cardinal (417.55). Howver, they were still able to come away with a win over Michigan (407.3) and Illinois (404.0).

As the #1 team in the country on FX, Stanford suffered their first sub-70 score of the season with a 66.3. They also had season-low on PH with a 65.95, where they're ranked fourth in the NCAA.

Still, there were some positives such as Josiah Eng winning SR with a 15.05 and Taylor Seaton's 14.85 on VT which was good enough for third.

Kurt Golder and his staff have to be liking the progress their young team is showing. Saturday marked a season-high team score and the second time this year they've beaten a B1G opponent (defeated MINN & Iowa @ Windy City Invite).

The definite highlight of the meet came on VT where Emyre Cole competed a near-flawless yurchenko-2.5:

That 15.1 bested teammate Anthony McCallum who had a 14.95. The two both rank top-four in the NCAA on the event.

Another highlight came from sophomore Justin Hopgood with his 14.4 on HB. It marked just his third routine of the year and destroyed his previous best score of 13.05.

Outside of a stellar VT rotation it was an unspectacular but solid day for the Wolverines. There's still plenty of room for improvement as they counted six scores below a 13.

Rounding out the field was an injury-plagued Illinois team. They were without Bobby Baker and Matt Foster as both were forced to take the weekend off following cortisone injections. Both are expected back soon along with AA'er Joey Peters.

FX was the roughest event for the Illini where they scored a 64.7. They were forced to take a one-point neutral deduction following an injury to Taylor Smith. Although it looked scary, Smith reportedly avoided a major injury and could return for the postseason.

Despite some struggles, three Illini took home event titles: Alex Diab on FX (14.2), Brandon Ngai on PH (tied Modi with a 14.8) and Tyson Bull on HB (15.05). Michael Paradise claimed B1G Freshman of the Week honors after his 14.2 performance on PH.

You can check out some of the highlights from Illinois' day here.

Tyson Bull moves into 2nd in the NCAA HB rankings.

It was a disappointing trip to Ann Arbor, but reinforcements are on the way for Illinois.

Minnesota Takes Down Iowa & Arizona St. at MIGSP Meet

It was a good day for all teams involved in Saturday night's action at the Sports Pavilion in Minnesota. After all was said and done the Golden Gophers (411.2) came away with a win over Iowa (406.85) and Arizona State (391.7).

The theme of the night for Minnesota was just one routine on a couple different events holding them back from reaching the team score they're capable of. Head coach Mike Burns mentioned that lineups are still fluid as they try to find their best 15-man lineup for postseason.

The best event of the night for the Gophers might've been SR where they reached a season-high of 70.2. They were led by Yaroslav Pochinka's title winning 14.3. Justin Karstadt (B1G Gymnast of the Week) followed last week's 83.2 with an 82.55 this week including a 14.35 on PH which tied teammate Vitali Kan for the title.

Kan was one of the guys who Burns singled out as a breakout candidate this year and he has certainly lived up to that. Kan averaged a 14.26 over four events (FX, PH, SR, VT) Saturday and nabbed two season-bests on PH and SR. Having a competitor like Kan -- reliable and consistent -- can be so huge for a team in a five-up/five-count format. He's someone you feel comfortable having in the lineup as you know he's capable of scoring well on four different events.

Kan is a big factor in the Gophers' success.

Another worthy note was the return of Zach Liebler to the FX lineup. This was only his third time competing the event this year and the first time since late-January. He's capable of a much harder set than he competed, but he competed it very well, for a 14.55. Look for him to add some difficulty come B1G's.

If you take PB (63.7) out of the equation, the Hawkeyes were on pace for a 411.8, which would have been good enough to defeat Minnesota. Sadly, in men's gymnastics you've got to count all six events.

Iowa has really found their groove on PH since their 59.2 showing at Illinois. In the last two meets, the Hawkeyes have averaged a 68.4 on the event -- a vast improvement from the beginning of the season. A lot of it is thanks to Austin Hodges who now has three scores of 14 or better on the event in his last four meets.

Hodges posted an event-winning 14.05 on PB to go along with his 14.0 on PH and 13.65 on HB.

Just like the Gophers and Hawkeyes, the Sun Devils also took an important step forward Saturday improving on their last week's team score by over ten points.

With the meet's best team score on FX (68.75) Arizona State continues to make their living off of the leg events (scored a 71.15 on VT). A big part of the success on those two events was Daniel Bronnenberg (NCAA Club Gymnast of the Week) who scored a 13.9 on FX and a 14.75 on VT.

While they didn't break any records on the other four events, they avoided big mistakes which is key for any team.

AZ St.'s performance on the mat wasn't even the most encouraging thing to note from Saturday night. At the halfway point of the meet, Executive Director of the MIGS Program, Bob Wuornos, presented Sun Devils' head coach Scott Barclay with a $5,000 check to go toward the funding of their program.

The MIGS Program is meant to create opportunities for prospective collegiate gymnasts as well as leading the charge to keep current D1 programs alive. "What we're trying to do is make sure we don't lose anymore programs," commented Wuornos.

Not only are they focused on retaining programs, but with the check presented to ASU, they're also hoping to open up a dialogue about bringing programs like Arizona State back to varsity status.

If we get that program [ASU] back on line then we've got a model to take elsewhere around the country and bring other programs online. Scott [Barclay] is the perfect candidate for this because he's fought the war for many, many years. If the gymnastics community works together then we can make it happen." - Bob Wuornos

I can tell you first-hand just how valuable the collegiate gymnastics experience can be. It's something that not only allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself, but also helped shape me into the person I am today.

It's encouraging to hear that a discussion has started regarding bringing another program back to varsity status. There is a long way to go but it's up to everyone to stop simply complaining and try to make a tangible difference.

Cal Travels North To Defeat Washington

Slowly, but surely, the Golden Bears are returning to the form we saw from them early in the season. On Saturday night they took down Washington, 397.0-387.1.

Cal took home event titles on five events: Michael Rauchwerger on FX (14.4), Mitchell Awisus on PH (13.15), Rauchwerger & Nathaniel Ramil on VT (tied Washington's Justin Rowen with a 14.0), Yordan Aleksandrov on PB (14.15) and Gagik Gharibyan on HB (13.8). Aaron Mah won the AA with a 79.4.

As a team, Washington ended up winning two events, PH & PB. Nathan Tsuji, who has been a workhorse for the Huskies, ended the night just .35 behind Mah in the AA with a 79.05.

Army Improves For Second-Straight Week To Beat Springfield

For the fourth time in 2017 the Army Black Knights have defeated the Springfield Pride, this time by a score of 395.3-387.45.

Staying true to form, senior Leo Genders was one of the most effective competitors this weekend for Army averaging a 13.6 over three events. His meet-winning 14.05 on HB highlighted the day. Also picking up titles for Army was Nathan Goff on PB (13.9) and Seth Cannon/Ryan Wilson on VT who both had 14.25's.

Springfield was led by junior Chris Graff who had a career day in the AA with an 80.2. He paired that title with another one on PH (13.9).

It was an encouraging meet for the Pride who only had to count three scores under a 12.3. Sunday marked their last meet of the regular season as they'll head to Washington for USAG Collegiate Championships in a week and a half.

Navy Upsets Air Force At Home

In yet another Week 9 upset, Navy (404.1) defeated Air Force (396.3) and William & Mary (396.25) on Friday night in Annapolis.

The Mids rode a season-high 69.4 on PB which included a 14.25 from Jonny Tang (NCAA & ECAC Gymnast of the Week) and a 14.35 from Tanner West (ECAC Specialist of the Week). Tang won the AA with an 82.0 while his teammate, Noah Beeman, came in second with an 80.25, his highest score of 2017.

Having two meets this weekend, Air Force opted to give Tim Wang a bit of a rest as he did six events over the two days of competition. On Friday, the biggest struggle for the Falcons was HB where they scored a 61.05.

Of the four events Wang competed on Friday he won three of them: PH, SR and VT. Taking home other titles for the Falcons were Jonathon Fornoff on PB (14.5) and Chase Cannon on HB (14.25).

Air Force edged third place William & Mary by a narrow margin of a half tenth. Senior Neal Courter had a nice day for the Tribe putting together a three-event average (FX, VT, HB) of 13.83.

Air Force Downs Flames In Chicago

In their second meet of the weekend, Air Force traveled to Chicago and defeated UIC, 378.8-371.7. Competing with a lighter lineup, the Falcons had trouble on PH, PB and HB.

For the Flames it was a step back from their season-high of 387.7 at the Midwest Open. They were only able to score 62+ on two events: VT & PB. Senior Chris Root competed all six for UIC and took home the AA title with a 75.95.

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