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Whittenburg Takes Lead at P&G Championships
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Donnell Whittenburg avoided the major mistakes that prevented three-time defending national champion Sam Mikulak from taking a comfortable lead at the P&G Championships in Hartford, Conn., Friday night. But the meet is only halfway finished.


Donnell Whittenburg (USOTC)

Whittenburg went six-for-six, including the top score on rings (15.95), to post an 89.90, which was just 0.05 better than Mikulak, who fell apart on his final event, floor exercise. After hitting what may have been his best pommel horse routine ever in the first rotation, Mikulak hit the next four events without much issue, although he is still vaulting a Kasamatsu-1.5 instead of a Lopez. Through five rotations, his biggest mistake was an over-arched peach-half on p-bars, which required a few hand placements to regain control. Mikulak's high bar, a problem event in the past, was superb, and he earned the highest mark of 15.70. Then the wheels came off on floor, when he landed a double front in a deep squat, touched a hand after a combination pass and staggered out of bounds after his triple twist dismount. His 6.9 execution score led to a 13.50, which ranked 36th in the 40-man field.

In the same rotation as Mikulak, Whittenburg performed with his usual consistency. He landed a Dragulescu vault for 15.20 and showed great amplitude on parallel bars, dropping out of a Dmitrienko (front uprise double tuck). He did, however, take a 0.3 neutral deduction on that event. On high bar, he caught his Cassina but did not attempt a Kolman, which his coach, Vitaly Marinitch, said he would fling too far away from the bar. He scored 15.05 on high bar and floor, ranking fifth on both events.

While it was no surprise to see Whittenburg and Mikulak grab the top two spots, there were some surprises in the top group. Veteran Chris Brooks sits third at 89.50 (great high bar combination of Takemoto, Yamawaki, Moznik) followed by Jake Dalton (89.40; first on floor with 15.40) and 2016 NCAA champion Yul Moldauer (89.25). 2015 NCAA champ Akash Modi was sixth with 89.15, and Sean Melton, who had the top score on parallel bars (15.55), finished seventh at 88.90, one point behind the leader.

John Orozco began on pommel horse and looked strong until the end, when he slithered off after traveling from one end to the other. The rest of his day was average by his standards, and his scored 15.10 on both p-bars and high bar.

Other contenders had uncharacteristic errors, as well. Danell Leyva missed his Kolman on high bar, and Alex Naddour crashed his pommel horse dismount after an excellent routine.

Since the Olympic selection includes three more all-around competitions, it's much too early for any gymnast to panic. But the pressure is likely to grow for those in the mix. Mikulak has been in this position before, and a lot further behind than half a tenth. But Whittenburg can also improve in places. If neither of them works to potential, any of a handful of gymnasts stands ready to become the next U.S. champion. We'll find out who that is on Sunday afternoon.

External Link: USA Gymnastics

2016 Men's P&G (USA National) Championships
June 3, Hartford, Conn.

All-Around, Day 1FXPHSRVTPBHBTotal
1. Donnell Whittenburg USOTC 6.8 15.05 5.8 13.80 6.7 15.95 6.0 15.20 6.9 14.85 6.5 15.05 89.90
2. Sam Mikulak USOTC 6.7 13.50 6.2 15.05 6.1 15.20 5.6 14.95 6.7 15.45 6.8 15.70 89.85
3. Chris Brooks USOTC 6.0 14.65 5.8 14.00 6.0 15.05 5.6 15.05 6.5 15.35 6.7 15.40 89.50
4. Jacob Dalton Oklahoma 6.7 15.40 5.0 13.60 6.4 15.50 6.0 15.35 6.5 14.90 6.3 14.65 89.40
5. Yul Moldauer Oklahoma 6.3 15.10 5.6 14.65 6.1 15.15 5.6 15.10 6.3 15.05 5.7 14.20 89.25
6. Akash Modi Stanford 6.5 14.90 6.4 14.80 5.5 14.65 5.6 14.85 6.6 15.10 6.2 14.85 89.15
7. Sean Melton Ohio State 6.2 14.65 5.6 14.10 6.3 15.15 5.6 14.85 6.5 15.55 5.7 14.60 88.90
8. Marvin Kimble USOTC 5.7 14.40 6.7 14.55 6.2 14.80 6.0 14.50 6.0 14.80 6.5 14.75 87.80
9. Paul Ruggeri USOTC 6.7 15.35 5.0 13.10 5.6 14.20 5.8 15.00 6.3 14.40 6.8 15.60 87.65
10. CJ Maestas USOTC 5.9 14.40 6.1 13.75 6.7 15.70 4.8 14.10 6.4 14.70 6.7 14.85 87.50
11. John Orozco USOTC 5.5 14.20 6.4 13.90 6.3 14.80 4.8 14.30 6.5 15.10 6.8 15.10 87.40
12. Danell Leyva Universal 6.4 14.80 6.0 14.55 5.8 13.25 5.2 14.55 6.9 15.15 7.3 14.60 86.90
13. Alex Naddour USAYouth 6.4 14.95 6.8 14.10 6.4 15.30 6.0 15.10 5.9 13.10 5.6 14.10 86.65
14. Colin VanWicklen Oklahoma 6.1 14.60 5.0 13.40 5.5 14.40 6.0 15.10 5.7 14.45 5.6 14.20 86.15
14. Kanji Oyama Oklahoma 6.2 14.00 5.9 13.75 6.0 14.65 5.6 14.75 5.8 14.80 5.6 14.20 86.15
16. Eddie Penev USOTC 6.7 15.20 5.7 14.00 5.2 14.05 5.8 14.00 5.9 14.25 6.2 14.45 85.95
17. Steven Legendre Oklahoma 6.8 14.35 5.0 13.65 6.1 15.00 5.6 15.15 6.4 14.15 5.5 13.50 85.80
18. Joshua Dixon USOTC 6.6 15.00 5.8 13.20 5.4 14.20 5.8 15.30 5.5 13.90 6.5 14.10 85.70
19. Donothan Bailey USOTC 5.8 13.45 6.5 15.30 6.0 14.60 5.6 14.10 6.1 13.75 6.2 14.45 85.65
20. Kyle Zemeir UC Berkeley 6.3 14.60 5.7 13.15 5.7 14.55 5.6 14.75 5.7 14.70 5.3 13.20 84.95
21. Kevin Wolting UC Berkeley 6.0 14.45 5.6 14.55 5.4 13.65 5.6 15.10 5.3 12.75 5.8 14.30 84.80
22. Brandon Wynn OSU 6.1 14.55 5.2 12.70 6.8 15.50 5.6 14.15 6.6 13.85 5.9 13.95 84.70
22. Matthew Wenske Cypress Academy 6.1 14.50 4.6 12.80 5.0 14.20 6.0 15.40 5.7 14.45 5.1 13.35 84.70
22. Trevor Howard Penn State 6.3 14.25 4.4 12.90 6.4 14.70 5.6 14.80 5.6 14.25 5.4 13.80 84.70
25. Tristan Duran Minnesota 5.9 14.30 5.7 14.50 5.7 13.80 5.2 14.40 5.9 14.15 5.5 13.50 84.65
26. Timothy Wang Air Force 5.9 14.05 5.9 14.85 6.0 14.05 5.6 14.80 5.8 13.10 5.8 13.50 84.35
27. Levi Anderson Oklahoma 6.0 14.35 5.4 13.35 5.6 14.10 5.2 14.35 5.4 13.65 5.9 14.45 84.25
28. Grant Breckenridge Stanford 5.3 14.05 4.3 11.95 4.7 13.75 5.2 14.50 5.5 14.55 5.9 14.45 83.25
28. Dmitri Belanovski Michigan 5.7 14.30 5.7 13.60 5.3 14.00 5.2 14.15 5.8 14.10 5.5 13.10 83.25
30. Matthew Felleman Penn State 6.0 14.10 5.5 13.85 5.5 14.10 5.2 14.25 5.7 12.50 5.6 13.75 82.55
30. Robert Neff Stanford 5.9 14.30 4.9 12.60 5.1 13.45 5.2 14.35 5.5 13.45 5.8 14.40 82.55
32. Alex Diab Illinois 6.1 14.60 4.6 12.70 6.3 14.55 5.6 13.45 5.2 13.60 5.5 12.95 81.85
33. Kiwan Watts Above the Bar 5.9 14.75 3.9 10.40 5.6 14.00 5.2 14.70 5.7 14.15 5.1 13.60 81.60
34. Emyre Cole Michigan 6.1 14.75 4.6 10.40 4.9 13.85 5.6 15.00 5.3 12.90 5.4 13.85 80.75
35. Drew Moling Ohio State 5.3 13.75 5.4 12.85 6.3 14.65 5.6 13.60 5.4 12.05 5.7 13.70 80.60
36. Adrian De Los Angeles Michigan 6.4 14.05 5.9 14.60 5.6 14.70 5.7 12.85 5.5 13.05 69.25
37. Anthony McCallum Michigan 5.9 13.95 5.2 11.80 4.8 13.15 6.0 15.40 6.1 13.70 0.0 0.00 68.00
38. Leroy Clarke Penn State 5.8 13.00 5.9 14.20 5.9 13.60 5.6 14.05 54.85
39. Tristan Duverglas Penn State 5.4 12.45 6.4 13.95 6.0 14.80 5.5 11.10 52.30
40. Ellis Mannon Minnesota 6.5 15.20 5.2 14.60 5.8 13.90 43.70
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