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Oklahoma Claims Third Straight Men's NCAA Title; Modi Wins All-Around
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

When Sooner senior Allan Bower opened the meet on floor exercise, he stuck just about every landing. It was a trend that carried over for the rest of the evening at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. Oklahoma easily had more dismount sticks than any other team, and each perfect landing was rewarded with up to 0.20 bonus.

Allan Bower (Oklahoma)

To be fair, OU did not have a perfect meet. Defending all-around champion Yul Moldauer spun off the pommel horse while attempting a flared spindle, freshman Matt Wenske put a hand down on his Lopez vault (Kasamatsu-double twist) and Bower broke on high bar. The errors from Moldauer and Bower cost them a shot at the all-around title, which went to Stanford senior Akash Modi, who tallied 87.90. Moldauer placed second with 87.60 and Bower was third with 87.30.

Moldauer did win event titles on floor and rings, but that was never the goal. Oklahoma was on a mission to win its third consecutive NCAA team title. Illinois held the lead after two events, with the Sooners in second. Then Oklahoma started hitting routines on rings and sticking dismounts. Senior Thao Hoang stuck a full-twisting double layout, and both Moldauer and Bower stuck tucked double-doubles.

Oklahoma expanded its lead in the second half of the meet and won its 11th NCAA title, scoring 431.950. Ohio State grabbed second with 423.700, and Illinois finished third with 422.100. Stanford, runner-up to OU last year, dropped to fourth with 421.500.

These scores indicate that Oklahoma, which hasn't lost a meet since the 2014 NCAAs, is clearly in a class of its own. This victory pushed OU past Illinois, which has 10 titles, and next year the Sooners can catch Penn State, which leads all schools with 12 NCAA victories.

Minnesota, which was in sixth place for much of the night, probably hoped for better than fifth (414.200). But the Golden Gophers started slow on high bar but finished well on parallel bars.

Nebraska, which posted the highest floor total of all six teams (71.500), was holding onto fifth place until its last event, pommel horse. That's where the Cornhuskers struggled and posted their lowest event total of the night (66.55). Still, it was the first time Nebraska had qualified to the team finals in quite a while.

Other event champions: Stephen Nedoroscik (Penn State) won pommel horse; Anthony McCallum (Michigan) successfully defended his 2016 vault with a high Tsukahara-double pike; Modi defended his title on parallel bars, sticking his full-out dismount; and Robert Neff (Stanford) won high bar.

Read complete coverage of the men's NCAA Championships in the May issue of International Gymnast magazine.

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