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Stanford, Ohio State, Nebraska Advance to Men's NCAA Championships
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As expected, No. 2-ranked Stanford easily won the first of two NCAA Championship qualifiers at West Point, N.Y. The Cardinal were not flawless in the all-scores-count format, which features five gymnasts per event. But they still posted a 420.450. Led by 2017 Nissen-Emery Award recipient Akash Modi, Stanford exceeded 70 points on every event but high bar (69.20). Top-ranked all-arounder Modi had a few mistakes but still tallied the leading score (85.950). On parallel bars his legs hit the bars on a Tippelt-type skill and he went the wrong way on a Takemoto on high bar.


Akash Modi (Oklahoma)

Mourning the loss of former Buckeye gymnast Larry Mayer, who passed away on April 17, Ohio State placed second with 414.650. There is room for improvement. The Buckeyes amassed their lowest total in the first rotation on floor (67.75) and gave away at least three points on pommel horse in the second rotation. Ohio State topped 70 only on vault (70.75). Look for the 2017 Big Ten champions to improve tomorrow night.

Nebraska earned the third and final spot in Saturday's finals with a 413.050. The Cornhuskers are the only team to win five consecutive team titles (1979-83) and have been trending upward in recent years. In 2015 they placed fifth in their qualifying session and fourth last year. Nebraska had an excellent fourth rotation on floor, where its 71.15 led the six-team field. It followed that event with a third-best 69.10 on pommels. As a team, Nebraska placed second on vault with 71.10.

Penn State placed fourth with 410.500, scoring only 65.70 on high bar. Michigan, which won back-to-back championships in 2013-14, placed fifth with 406.950. The Wolverines are definitely in a rebuilding phase with plenty of freshman and sophomores. The team did win vault, however, helped my Anthony McCallum's piked double Tsukahara (14.90).

Air Force placed sixth with 403.800. The Falcons fell behind early on high bar, where it posted the lowest score of the field (65.40). Vault (70.55) and parallel bars (69.70) were the team's best results.

The team, all-around and event champions will be crowned during Saturday's team finals. Bonus points are also available for stuck dismounts on every event but pommel horse. A 'C' dismount can earn 0.10, and a 'D' or above can add 0.20. Any stuck vault earns 0.10 regardless of its value.

The second qualifier, featuring No. 1 Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, California and Navy, starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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