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NCAA: Oklahoma, Stanford Grab Two Event Titles
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
<p>NORMAN, Okla.—Men's NCAA apparatus titles were determined Saturday night at Lloyd Noble Center. Ten gymnasts qualified to each event, and as is often the case, fatigue usually plays a role in the outcome. Not only physically. Thursday's prelims and Friday's team championship both were emotionally draining just about everyone.
<p>Three event champions from 2014 qualified here on their respective events: Alec Robin (floor), Ellis Mannon (pommels) and Michael Squires (rings).
<p>Penn State freshman Thad Lawson won floor exercise with a clean set that began with a layout Thomas and ended with a stuck triple twist, which earned him 0.20 of bonus and ultimately pushed him ahead of Oklahoma sophomore Colin Van Wicklen, 15.725-15.60. Lawson tumbled 6.3 of difficulty while Van Wicklen had 6.4 (punch piked double front mount and clean whip immediate tucked half-in half-out). Zach Liebler (Minnesota) and Stacey Ervin (Michigan) tied for third with 15.575.
<p>Oklahoma senior Michael Reid dominated the pommel horse field with a stellar 15.500. He had the highest D-score (6.3) and was the only gymnast to crack 9.0 for execution (9.2). Second a year ago, Reid mounted with two scissor travels that showed excellent amplitude, and he swung the rest of his set with great stretch. Michigan's Nolan Novak, last up climbed into second (14.775), and all-around champion Akash Modi (Stanford) competed first and placed third (14.75). Defending champion Ellis Mannon (Minnesota), who won the Nissen-Emery Award, performed well until he slithered off near the end of his routine.
<p>For the second year in a row, Oklahoma's Michael Squires and Illinois' C.J. Maestas went 1-2 on rings. It also was the third straight rings title for Squires (16.40/6.8), a senior. Both displayed level Malteses and solid swing. Maestas (15.975/6.7) dismounted with a tucked double-double (steps), while Squires stuck his layout full-out cold. His strength elements were superb, especially his T-square inverted cross and open hand position on his two iron crosses. Penn State junior Alexis Torres, who competed in the American Cup in March, placed third (15.75/6.6).
<p>The vault results were close until Stanford senior Sean Senters unleashed a high, clean triple-twisting Yurchenko, which scored 15.475. Cal's Kevin Wolting was second, showing a solid Yurchenko-2.5 twist (15.075), and Oklahoma's Kanji Oyama was third with a Kasamatsu-1.5 (15.025).
<p>Parallel bars was looking like a sweep of the medals by Oklahoma's Sergey Resnick (15.075), Danny Berardini (15.000) and Dylan Akers (14.925) until the end of the event. That's when Stanford senior Brian Knott posted a 15.200 with a clean set that included a front-1.25 and a giant immediate straddle cut. Last up Akash Modi had the routine to push Knott down a notch, but the Stanford sophomore landed low on his full-out dismount and lunged forward for most likely a 0.50 deduction and a 15.100. Final results: Knott, Modi, Resnick.
<p>Illinois senior C.J. Maestas had already placed second all-around and on rings, and he sat in first for much of the high bar rotation with a 15.125 (Kolman, Kovacs, stuck layout double-double). Modi came close with a 15.100 (interesting mount from under grips: high start to full pirouette to elgrip). Last-up Danny Berardini (Oklahoma) figured to pass Maestas until he missed a Tkatchev early in his routine. Third went to Minnesota's Steve Jaciuk and Michigan's Dmitri Belanovski, who tied with 15.025. Jaciuk performed a layout Tkatchev and Moznik and stuck his layout full-out dismount, while Belanovski did a Kolman and also stuck a layout full-out.
<p>Oklahoma and Stanford won two events each, while Penn State and Illinois grabbed one apiece.

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