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Stanford Wins First NCAA Prelim Session
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

NORMAN, Okla.—The first of two qualifying sessions for the men's NCAA Championships ended with high drama as Penn State climbed into the top three after struggling throughout the meet. Second-ranked Stanford set the pace with 435.85, followed by California with 433.70. Penn State posted 432.90 after closing with a strong floor exercise effort in the final rotation.

Minnesota was in position to advance until its last two performers on parallel bars had falls in the fifth rotation. The Gophers finished strong on high bar but finished with 432.70. Coach Mike Burns was visibly disappointed afterward, having qualified the team finals only once, in 2007, during his tenure as head coach.

"My hat goes out to Stanford, Cal and Penn State," he said afterward. "We gave it away."

Considering how his team had performed, Penn State coach Randy Jepson was just relieved to advance.

"It was gonna come down to who misses the least," he said of the final two rotations as the Nittany Lions battled Minnesota for the third berth to the team championships. "We had four terrible events. Hopefully, we can rectify that."

Stanford coach Thom Glielmi said he was "a little disappointed in pommel horse and horizontal bar" and said a couple of his gymnasts got tentative in their approach. He still thinks the Cardinal has a chance, however, to upset the favored Oklahoma Sooners.

"I'm really hoping they go for it and go after it (Friday night), because I do feel like we can put pressure on Oklahoma," he said.

Nebraska finished fifth (424.600) and Air Force was sixth (416.700).

Session two, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature top-seed Oklahoma, MIchigan (4), Illinois (5), Iowa (8), Ohio State (9) and Army (12).

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