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Written by Admin    Saturday, 20 April 2019 16:39    PDF Print
OU Women Win Fourth NCAA Title
(6 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

With a dominant performance the University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team reclaimed the NCAA Championship title defeating LSU, UCLA and Denver in the team final competition held Saturday evening in Fort Worth, TX. The Sooners, who were undefeated this season posted 198.3375 to outscore runner up LSU (197.825) by more than half a point (.5125). Third was defending champion UCLA 197.5375, ahead of Denver 197.0.

Senior Brenna Dowell closed the competition for the Sooners with a stuck Yurchenko 1 ½ vault, which received the highest score of the final 9.9875. Oklahoma posted the top team total on three of the four events: vault 49.625, beam 49.6125 and floor 49.65. All-around champion (determined the day before) Maggie Nichols was the MVP for the team scoring 9.9125 on vault, 9.9375 on bars, 9.9625 on beam (highest beam score of the day) and 9.95 on floor.

Led by Sarah Finnegan, who posted 9.95 on the three of the events LSU was solid throughout the entire competition but could never catch up with the Sooners.

UCLA started the meet on beam where they avoided disaster (big wobble by Madison Kocian, and another wobble well covered by Kaitlyn Ohashi for 9.8). On the second rotation, floor, a few short landings and two out of bounds seemingly took the Bruins out of the race.

Denver’s fourth place finish is best ever in program history.

The win was Oklahoma’s fourth title in the last six years; all coming under head coach KJ Kindler.

 
Written by Admin    Saturday, 20 April 2019 07:19    PDF Print
Nichols Wins NCAA All-Around
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Maggie Nichols (21) from the University of Oklahoma won the all-around title Friday night at the 2019 NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, TX. Nichols, who was the defending all-around champion, scored 39.7125 (VT 9.95, UB 9.9375, BB 9.9, FX 9.925) to edge Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) and Kyla Ross (UCLA) who tied for second with 39.6625. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) 39.65, Kennedi Edney (LSU) 39.6 and Lynnzee Brown (Denver) 39.575 rounded out the top six. Oklahoma, UCLA, LSU and Denver were the four teams to qualify to Saturday’s team final. UCLA and LSU qualified from the first semifinal session held during the day, while OU and Denver qualified from the second semifinal held in the evening.

Individual event results - Vault: four way tie for first with a 9.95 - Kyla Ross (UCLA), Kennedi Edney (LSU), Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma), Derrian Gobourne (Auburn); Bars: 1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) 9.95, tied for 2nd Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) and Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) 9.9375; Beam: 1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) 9.95, 2. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) 9.9375, 3. Kaitlyn Ohashi (UCLA) 9.925; Floor: four way tie for first with a 9.95 - Kyla Ross (UCLA), Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma), Alicia Boren (Florida), Lynnzee Brown (Denver).

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Sunday, 28 October 2018 00:00    PDF Print
World Preview: Women's Qualification Day 2
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Day four at the World Championships in Doha continues with the last five subdivisions of the women’s qualifications.  Even with an average day China, Russia, Great Britain, Canada, Brazil and France should be able to join United States and Japan, the top qualifiers from day one, to the team finals.

China’s best all-arounder here in Doha is Chen Yile, but probably not a contender for the podium.  However, the team has potential for two finals on bars and beam as well as a vault final from Liu Jinru.

Russia’s podium training was very casual with many of the gymnasts receiving spots on a lot of their tumbling; however, they’ve shown better consistency as of late with the prime example being this year’s European championships where they hit 12/12 in the team final.  The Russian team is not expected to challenge the US, but just like the Chinese, their hopes are to land on the podium.  After giving birth last year to a baby girl, Aliya Mustafina is back competing for the team on bars, beam and floor.  Angelina Melnikova has potential in the all-around and floor if she manages to be consistent.  At this point Melnikova is probably Russia’s best chance for a bar final if she hits with her full difficulty.

Great Britain’s team is stacked with high level bar routines, and perhaps that is the only event where they have prospects for the individual event finals.  Becky Downie with her 6.6-set is a real possibility for a medal and even the gold if she hits perfectly.  Ellie Downie should comfortably make the all-around final.

The French team will rely on Melanie de Jesus dos Santos, who was 5th in the all-around in Montreal last year.  In addition to the all-around dos Santos has a real possibility to make finals on bars, beam and floor.  Her teammates Juliette Bossu and Marine Boyer would be aiming at a bar and beam final respectively.

Ellie Black, silver medalist in the all-around in Montreal is Canada’s best chance of a medal again.  Black also made the vault, beam and floor finals last year and could get in any of them depending on the quality of her performances.  Brooklyn Moors, one of the most artistic gymnasts currently plans to compete on floor Podkopaeva (double front half out), layout to double front and 2 ½ to front full and if she hits could repeat making the final.  Teammate Shallon Olsen, Rio Olympics vault finalist, plans a Cheng and a Yurchenko double twist and could make final if she lands both.

Under the new leadership of Valery Liukin the explosive team of Brazil could be one of the dark horses here in Doha.  With a strong performance the team should not only make team finals but also place ahead of many of the team finalists and perhaps get on the podium if one of the top teams opens the door.  Flavia Saraiva, Rio Olympics beam finalist, could challenge for a medal on that event.  We should also expect to see her in the all-around final.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Friday, 26 October 2018 23:36    PDF Print
World Preview: Women's Qualification Day 1
(2 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)

The first day of competition will feature six of the eleven subdivisions for the women but all eyes will be on subdivision five which includes Simone Biles and team USA who are expected to dominate the competition here in Doha.  The US team has won the team and all-around titles at every World and Olympic games since 2010, when Aliya Mustafina and her Russian team won the titles. The three time all-around champion Biles is returning to her first international competition after a year off from gymnastics following the Rio Olympics. The 21 year old is expected to win titles here on vault, beam, floor and the all-around.  On vault Biles may debut a new vault, a round off handspring half on double twisting front layout off, which if she performs it successfully would be named after her.

Biles’ teammates Morgan Hurd, the defending all-around champion from a year ago, and Riley McCusker will also be competing in the all-around.  With only two competitiors per country one will have a great chance to join Biles as a medalist.  Other potential event finalists for the team could be: bars (McCusker, Biles or Hurd), beam (Hurd or Kara Eaker) and floor (Hurd or Grace McCallum) all depending on how they compete in their qualification round.

Others to watch:

Japan’s Mai Murakami, who just missed the podium in the all-around at last year’s worlds but won the floor title, is once again a legitimate contender for a medal on both events.  With a solid competition Japan could easily make the team final.

Germany is competing without last year’s beam medalists Pauline Schafer and Tabea Alt.  However the team has huge potential on bars (Kim Bui fourth at this year’s European championships, Elisabeth Seitz finalist at last year’s worlds and Sophie Scheder bronze medalist from the Rio Olympics).

Netherlands will rely on Olympic beam champion Sanne Wevers who looked really prepared on the event during the podium’s training. The team has potential for the team finals however a top 12 finish is more realistic.

Belgium’s Nina Derwael, bronze medalist on bars at last year's worlds, has prepared a 6.5 set and is the favorite for the title.  Derwael, who also has potential on beam, should easily qualify to the all-around final as well.

Diana Varinska from Ukraine was in the uneven bars and all-around finals last year in Montreal and could better that result here in Doha.

Seven times Olympian Oksana Chusovitina from Uzbekistan is aiming at the vault final once again.

Martha Pihan-Kulesza is still competing for Poland and as a mom she is still capable of producing competative beam and floor performances.

Georgia-Rose Brown is Australia’s best hope for an all-around final.

Lara Mori was a floor finalist at last year's worlds and that could be Italy's best chance for a final in Doha.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by Christian Ivanov    Friday, 26 October 2018 21:23    PDF Print
China, Mikulak Shine as Men's Qualification Concludes
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

CHINA

Defending all-around champion Xiao Ruoteng posted the highest qualifying score in the all-around 87.332 to edge the leader from day one Nikita Nagornyy (Russia) 87.098.  Ruoteng led the team to a total of 257.836, which is the second best qualifying score to Russia’s 258.402.  He posted strong marks on all of the event and earned event finals on pommel horse and high bar.  China was particularly impressive on p-bars and high bar. Defending p-bars champion Zou Jingyuan dazzled with his incredible amplitude for the tops score of 15.8, while teammate Lin Chaopan earned the third highest mark of qualification there - 15.266.  Joining Xiao in the high bar final will be Deng Shudi, but it could have been Lin had he not taken a very big step on his double twisting double layout.  The team’s only major issues happened on pommel horse where both Zou and Lin had falls.   Sun Wei and Lin also posted the fifth and seventh best all-around scores.

JAPAN

Kenzo Shirai had a strong day hitting every routine and posting the sixth top all-around score.  The defending floor and vault champion tied Dalaloyan’s top floor score at 14.833, and also qualified to the vault final.  Kohei Uchimura competed three events only.   He posted the top qualifying score on high bar 14.6, but fell on pommels on his Tong Fei.  Japan had three falls on pommels and posted third best team score, more than four points lower than second place China.

UNITED STATES

Sam Mikulak hit six really good routines for an impressive 86.598, for third best in qualifying just behind Xiao and Nagornyy.  Mikulak’ strong performances earned him four individual event finals, which along with Nagornyy, is the most of any gymnast here in Doha.   Mikulak qualified 8th on floor, 5th on pommels, 6th on p-bars and 2nd on high bar.  “This is kind of what I was hoping would happen going into this competition.  I didn’t want to put too much pressure, too much stress, really just go out and hit routines, 6/6 was my goal.”  Yul Moldauer had a somewhat of an off day with issues on his pommel horse and high bar routines but still managed to qualify to floor and all-around finals.  “Today is not about being the best, you just want to qualify to team finals.  So I think as a team we did pretty well.  We got our nerves out”, he reflected after the meet.  The team suffered three major errors on pommels and qualified in fourth place with a 250.362.

GREAT BRITAIN

Olympic Champion Max Whitlock leads pommel horse qualifying with his massive 6.7 difficulty routine, which is one of the only two individual event finals for the team.  Dominic Cunningham also qualified for the vault final.  James Hall and Brinn Bevan both qualified to all-around final placing 9th and 13th, respectively.  The British team also qualified to the team final posting the fifth best score.

NOTABLE INDIVIDUALS

Ring men Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece) and Arthur Zanetti (Brazil) qualified on the event first and second, respectively.

Armenian Artur Tovmasyan and Vahagn Davtyan qualified for the rings final.  Davtyan will also compete in the vault final where he posted the third best average.

Lee Chih Kai and Tang Chia-Hung from Chinese Taipei qualified for the pommel horse and high bar finals, respectively.

Ahmet Onder (Turkey) made the floor and all-around final.

Calvo Moreno (Colombia) qualified to p-bars final with the fourth highest score.

Cuba’s Manrique Larduet competed on three events only due to wrist and shoulder injuries.  Laduet fell on both p-bars and floor, and managed first reserve in the high bar final.

For full results, click here.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
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