NCAA Week 2 Recap
A Recap of Week 2 in the 2024 Men's NCAA Gymnastics Season
Stanford opened the 2024 season on the road with the highest score of the season with a 413.800. Right on their heels were the Oklahoma Sooners who tallied a 413.600 at home; the Sooners’ win continues their streak of 17 years without a loss on home turf. Michigan rallied from behind to take the win over Illinois, Penn State won their 10th straight West Point Open, and Ohio State is now 1-0 with a win at home over Greenville.
Nine athletes qualified to Winter Cup including: Michael Artlip, Jaden Blank, Solen Chiodi, Evan Hymanson, Ian Sandoval, Austin Padgett, Tate Costa, Rithik Puri, and Jordan Kovach.
The Nitty Gritty
Cal Benefit Cup
Stanford opened the season as the four-peat national champions that they are with their highest opening score since 2017. Two-time world team member, Asher Hong, has taken a different approach to the Olympic year than those competing as Michigan; He secured the all-around win with an 84.850 as well as three event titles. World team member, Khoi Young competed on four events and took home the top score on pommel horse – the event where he won a World Silver Medal last year. With incredible depth, Stanford only fielded two all-arounders; National Team Member, Taylor Burkhart put in a strong performance with an 83.250 for second place at the meet and the second-highest all-around score in the nation. Burkhart also took home the event title on vault. Notably, teammates Asher Hong and Khoi Young did not compete their full difficulty on vault. Stanford swept the event titles with Junior, Ian Lasic-Ellis taking the highest score of the meet on high bar. While there were no event titles for the host team, there were still some highlights. Tyler Shimizu took third on floor with a personal best score of 14.000 and Noah Sano took third on vault.
Stanford and Cal will have a rematch at Stanford on Saturday, January 27th.
Windy City Open
The University of Michigan, now 6-0, came from behind to take the win over Illinois and Simpson in Chicago this past weekend. Hitting 87% of their routines, the Wolverines finished seven-tenths of a point higher than the Illini. The highlight for the Wolverines was Javier Alfonso’s career-high 15.100 on still rings. Illinois also put in a strong performance on rings capped with a big score from National Champion, Ashton Anaya; however, their strong start was not enough to cover a bad parallel bar rotation. When asked about highlights of the meet, head coach, Daniel Ribeiro said, “ It was great to see Tate's (Costa) hard work paying off, winning the all-around and earning a spot at the Winter Cup.” In addition to Costa’s win in the all-around, Big Ten floor champion, Connor McCool took the floor title and Logan Myers grabbed the win on high bar.
Simpson took fourth place behind GymACT’s Washington and ahead of Northern Illinois. Freshman, Jake Smith broke a new program record and became the first athlete in program history to break 13 on high bar. The Storm are inching closer with each meet to reach the 70 barrier on vault. Their 68.150 was their highest total to date on the event.
Based on results from the Windy City Invitational, Tate Costa (Illinois), Rithik Puri (Michigan), and Jordan Kovach (Illinois) will qualify for the 2024 Winter Cup. Connor McCool (Illinois - FX), Brandon Dang (Illinois - PH), Ashton Anaya (Illinois - SR), Javier Alfonso (Michigan - SR), and Crew Bold (Michigan - HB) will be eligible to petition for an individual event specialist spot based on their D scores.
Looking forward, Michigan takes on Army at home; Illinois will be away at Greenville, and Simpson will have a bi-week.
West Point Open
Penn State won their 10th straight West Point Open with a high level of difficulty and without their star, Joshua Karnes. The Nittany Lions hit 80% of their routines and are currently ranked 5th in the country. Senior, Michael Artlip won the meet with the third-highest score in the country this weekend. His butterfly (Tong Fei) on floor was a highlight of the meet. Nate Warren was the only other even winner for Penn State. On day two of the competition, the graduate student notched a 14.000 and earned his first ever event title.
Navy, who had no falls on pommel horse, put up a strong showing for second place. Three Midshipman excelled on night two of competition bringing home gold on floor, parallel bars, and high bars. Led by senior, Syam Buradagunta, Navy swept the floor podium alongside Benjamin Thurlow Lam and Colby Prince. While Isaiah Drake managed the gold on high bar, score were overall quite low compared to scores across the nation as a 12.9 was enough for the top spot.
Army placed third in their season opener at home. Jaden Blank, the 5’11’’ freshman took second in the all-around and qualified a spot to Winter Cup. Teammate, Franco Peirano took home top honors on vault and a trio of Army gymnasts took home second place on pommel horse (Maddox Pabellon), vault (Steven Manolakis), and parallel bars (Blaze Kennedy).
Springfield and William & Mary rounded out the fourth and fifth place teams. Peyton Cramer (Springfield) was the lone DIII gymnast on the podium with a win on pommel horse. Sam Lee took the top spot of any athlete from William & Mary with a fourth place on parallel bars.
OU vs. Air Force
Oklahoma took on Air Force at home winning the team and five event titles. This win continues Oklahoma’s streak of home victories dating back to 2007. The Sooners lead the nation on vault after tallying a massive 72.100; they also lead the nation on parallel bars. OU took their 61st straight home victory in front of a crowd of 850 who braved sub-zero temperatures. Those who made it out saw junior Emre Dodanli claim three event titles. Tas Hajdu and Colin Flores won the still rings, and parallel bar titles respectively.
The all-around and pommel horse titles went to Air Force. Air Force swept the all-around podium led by Erich Upton and Patrick Hoopes won pommel horse even with a fall.
Ohio State vs. Greenville
Ohio State took the win at home over Greenville as well as four event titles. Sophomore Caden Spencer was the star of the show taking home titles on both parallel bars and high bar which earned him Big Ten Honors this week. Greenville struggled through the first two events but hit 100% of their routines in the final four rotations for a new program best score of 387.350. For the second week in a row Greenville took home event titles on floor (Michael Avery) and Vault (Logan Waterson).
A Peak at GymACT
Reigning national champion, Arizona State leads the nation thanks to a strong performance at the Beach Blast Invitational where Jackson Harrison took the highest score of the weekend floor. ASU currently leads the nation on Floor, Still Rings, and Vault. Right on their heels are the Minnesota Gophers. The former NCAA team put in a strong performance at the Iowa GymACT Invitational beating both Iowa and KC United. The Gophers are currently the strongest pommel horse and parallel bars team. Minnesota’s Ben Letvin leads the nation’s all-around standings with a 76.000. Washington rounds out the top 3 this week with a 303.050 and the highest high bar total of the conference. Only ten of the fifteen teams GymACT teams have competed. The Rocky Mountain Mavericks will begin their campaign this weekend at the Rocky Mountain Open.
Article by: Kensley Behel
Help Support Men's Gymnastics Coverage
Our editor, Kensley Behel will be travelling to Beach Blast, Rocky Mountain Open, Winter Cup, U.S. Nationals, and U.S. Olympic Trials and your financial contributions are necessary to help cover travel! The anticipated cost of our expenses is $3,000 for the season. We have recieved $250 dollars in donationals to date (1/14/2023). If you have any questions, please feel free to email us a email@example.com.
Note: A prior version of this article stated Oklahoma swept the event titles. It has now been rectified to state Patrick Hoopes (Air Force) won pommel horse.