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NCAA Week 3 Preview

Preview of Week 3 of the 2024 NCAA Season

January 19, 2024

Stanford took the lead in week 2 of the NCAA season but will sit this week out giving Oklahoma the chance to overtake the top spot. Week 3 boasts four NCAA meets including one Winter Cup Qualifier. Here’s what to look out for.

Photo Cedit: Taylor Christopulos (Nebraska) - Universty of Nebraska Athletics

National Rankings - Jan 15, 2024

1. Stanford

2. Oklahoma

3. Michigan

4. Illinois

5. Penn State

6. Ohio State

7. Navy

8. California

9. Greenville

10. Air Force

11. Springfield

12. Army

13. Simpson

14. William & Mary

*Nebraska has not competed in the 2024 season. Their first meet will be at the Rocky Mountain Open.

Rocky Mountain Open

Saturday, Jan 20 at 6:00 pm CT - Colorado Springs, CO

Air Force will host teams in the annual Rocky Mountain Open. Teams include Nebraska, Oklahoma, and the Arizona State GymACT team. 

The #5 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers will open its season on the road where they will look to upset the #2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. After battling injuries, All-American Sam Phillips is expected to return to the all-around competition and will be looking for a top-three finish (excluding pre-qualified athletes) to qualify to Winter Cup. Junior, Taylor Christopulos, who ranked 2nd in the all-around at last year’s NCAA Championships, is already pre-qualified to Winter Cup. He may choose to rest the all-around  in the long season leading up to the Olympic Games. Oklahoma comes in with the second-highest score in the country and will be a tough team to beat. Fuzzy Benas and Colin Flores will be competing in the all-around and both need qualifying scores to compete at Winter Cup; this will be Flores’ collegiate debut in the all-around. Pommel horse phenom, Ignacio Yockers will be looking for a rematch against Air Force’s Patrick Hoopes. While both fell last week, Hoopes came away with the victory.  Hoopes leads a strong team overall on pommel horse as the Falcons are ranked fourth in the nation on the event. They will look to improve their overall team total in the rematch against Oklahoma. 

Top all-arounders who will be looking to qualify a spot for Winter Cup include: Fuzzy Benas (OU), Colin Flores (OU), Erich Upton (Air Force), and Sam Phillips (Nebraska). 

No. 10 Air Force

Previous Score: 382.750

Season-High:  382.750


Previous Score: First meet of 2024 Season

Season-High:  N/A

No. 2 Oklahoma

Previous Score: 413.600

Navy Open

Saturday, Jan 20 at 2:00 pm ET - Annapolis, MD

Navy will host teams in the annual Navy Open. Teams include Ohio State, Penn State, Springfield, and William & Mary.

The largest meet of the weekend is hosted by Navy. Ranked #2 overall on pommel horse, the Midshipmen will look to capitilize on that event to take a win at home. While Penn State owns the highest average of the three, only Ohio State (#3 on Still Rings) and Navy (#2 on Pommel Horse) are ranked in the top three on any event. There is a three point difference in this year’s average scores between Penn State, Ohio State, and Navy, so the title is wide open. 

Michael Artlip is the only competing gymnast to have broken the 80 mark in the all-around and will be the favorite for the title should he choose to compete all six event this weekend. Both Artlip and Navy’s Syam Buradagunta are likely to provide the audience with a showdown for the floor title. Ranked 3rd on pommel horse, Springfield’s Peyton Cramer may be the only DIII gymnast on the podium this weekend. William & Mary will also be competing this weekend and currently rank 12th in the country on vault. They will look to improve upon their performance last week at the West Point Open. 

No. 7 Navy

Previous Score: 394.500

Season-High:  394.500

No. 5 Penn State

Previous Score: 401.300

Season-High:  401.300

No. 6 Ohio State

Previous Score: 395.000

Season-High:  395.000

No. 11 Springfield

Previous Score: 381.850

Season-High:  381.850

No. 14 William & Mary

Previous Score: 359.350

Season-High:  359.350

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 12 Army

Saturday, Jan 20 at 1:00 pm CT - Ann Arbor, MI

After sitting out the first two meets of the season, 2023 World Bronze Medalists, Fred Richard, and Paul Juda are expected to return to competition. The Wolverines should easily garner another win on home turf but they won't be satisfied with just another win. With the addition of Richard and Juda they will look to test how competitive they can be against scores Stanford and Oklahoma put up last weekend – scores over eight points higher than the Wolverines' best total to date. Army's best events are high bar and vault. Having broken the 70 barrier vault once this season, they will look to repeat a strong performance in Michigan. Army's Jaden Blank will look to repeat his strong all-around performance at the West Point Open and break into the star-studded all-around line-up from the University of Michigan.

No. 3 Michigan

Previous Score:  405.150

Season-High:   405.150

No. 12 Army

Previous Score: 388.650

Season-High: 388.650

No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 9 Greenville

Saturday, Jan 20 at 2:00 pm CT - Greenville, Il

Greenville has been the most surprising team of the season. Logan Watterson sits second in that nation on vault and will look to continue his streak of event titles. Greenville's gymnasts are two for two on floor and vault titles for the year and will seek to hold that streak but will face stiff competition in Illinois’ Connor McCool. Illinois' Tate Costa is coming off a banner week and currently holds the fourth highest score in the all-around. Only three tenths away from the coveted 80.000 mark, he will look to improve his all-around total this coming weekend. Reigning National Champion, Ashton Anaya is sure to take the still rings title this weekend.

No. 4 Illinois

Previous Score:  404.450

Season-High:   404.450

No. 9 Greenville

Previous Score: 387.350

Season-High: 387.350

Fans can follow all the action with our weekly meet schedule linked to live webcasts and results.

Article by: Kensley Behel


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