In several ways, Oklahoma was the big winner of this weekend’s NCAA men’s gymnastics competition.
The Sooners beat Nebraska, which isn’t shocking. But they also posted the highest men’s NCAA score so far this season, a gigantic 356.5. Better still, they did it in the all-around absence of two of their best competitors.
Oklahoma rested top all-arounders Steven Legendre and Jake Dalton on some events Saturday, allowing redshirt junior Ian Jackson to lead the team in the all-around and on his specialty, rings. Jackson returned after tearing his Achilles tendon in the middle of the 2009 season.
Other winners: Freshman Alex Naddour, who set a new school record on pommel horse (15.4; the old record was 15.2) and senior Bobby Shortle, who is likely to shoot up in the vault rankings this week after posting a personal best 16.2.
Most top teams rested their highest scoring gymnasts in the post-Winter Cup week of competition, getting ready to take on heavier events next week. Current no. 1 Michigan, for example, sat Chris Cameron and Thomas Kelley, ostensibly so they’ll be fresh when the Wolverines take on Oklahoma next Saturday.
Here’s a fuller recap of Oklahoma’s meet, as well as what else happened Saturday night:
Illinois vs. Minnesota @ Illinois: Illinois 350.65, Minnesota 342.15. Illinois junior Paul Ruggeri did it again, winning the all-around (87.2), floor exercise (14.75), vault (16.05) and high bar (16.1). Gee, think he’ll retain his no. 1 all-around standing this week? Defending NCAA pommel horse champion Daniel Ribiero won his specialty (14.75), Brian Liscovitz took the parallel bars title (14.6) and Anthony Sacramento completed the Illinois sweep by winning the rings title (14.65). (FightingIllini.com)
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma @ Oklahoma: Oklahoma 356.5, Nebraska 335.45. The biggest prize in this blowout went to redshirt junior Ian Jackson, who took his first all-around title (84.25) and also placed first on rings (15.4). Steven Legendre was first on floor (16.05) and high bar (14.45), Jake Dalton won parallel bars (14.3), Alex Naddour kept his winning streak on pommel horse going (15.4) and senior Bobby Shortle set a new career high on vault (16.2). (SoonerSports.com)
UIC vs. Michigan @ Michigan: Michigan 339.25, UIC 328.85. Don’t let the low score fool you — this team will contend for the title when it meets Oklahoma next weekend. Perhaps in anticipation of this meeting, Michigan rested its top gymnasts — including junior stars Thomas Kelley and Chris Cameron — this week as it cruised to an 10-plus point victory over Illinois-Chicago. Michigan’s Rohan Sebastian won the all-around (83.4), while Ian Makowske took the titles on floor exercise (14.55) and high bar (14.95). Senior Mel Anton Santander won pommel horse (14.95), and Syque Caesar was the top gymnast on parallel bars (14.35). UIC winners were Nikolai Korepanov on rings (14.3) and Nick Persino on vault (15.75). (MGoBlue.com)
Temple vs. Springfield @ Temple: Temple 333.35, Springfield 326.0. Temple senior Scott Bloomfield led the team on rings, posting a meet-high 15.6. Further results have not been made available. (OwlSports.com)
Cal vs. Stanford @ Gold Country Classic: Stanford 342.7, Cal 340.85. Cal’s Kyle Bunthuwong came through for his first all-around title of the season, edging Stanford freshman Eddie Penev 86.7-84.2. But Penev was the best performer of the night on floor exercise (15.45) and vault (15.65), while teammate Eric Hergenrader won pommel horse (14.0) and James Fosco took th rings title (15.0). Cal’s Dennis Mannhart won parallel bars (14.8), and Bunthuwong took the title on high bar (14.6). (CalBears.com)
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