Saturday belongs to Sooners, Stanford
By Alex Raskin
Special to NCAA.com
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Stanford and Oklahoma were denied the 2010 NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championship by Michigan on Friday, but got some revenge on Saturday by winning two individual national titles apiece.
For the second straight season Oklahoma's Steven Legendre won the individual title on the floor exercise, which was his sixth individual national title overall. That tied Jonathan Horton's school record.
Fellow Sooner Alex Naddour won the pommel horse with a score of 15.425, Stanford's Eddie Penev won the vault with a 16.450 while his teammate Ryan Lieberman took the parallel bars with a 15.100 and Michigan's Ryan McCarthy won the high bar with a 14.750. Ohio State's Brandon Wynn won the rings with a 15.900.
The top six in each event were named All-Americans.
"They really have a tremendous work ethic and the ability to raise their game in competition," Sooners coach Mark Williams said, comparing Legendre to his predecessor, Horton. "Steve came from much more of a difficult path than Jon. People identified Jon as a superstar when he was young. Steve was pretty good at floor and vault, but when he came out of high school he wasn't a good all-arounder. For him to win a national championship in the all-around last year and (six individual national titles) is pretty amazing."
In a tale of redemption, Illinois' Tyler Williamson posted a 15.150 in the rings to finish second. Yesterday the left ring crumbled in Williamson's hand, which caused severe shoulder pain for him and major delays for the rest of the night.
Even when Williamson was permitted to re-do the event on a refurbished apparatus Friday, the shoulder kept him from competing.
"It's been really bad," Williamson said. "After yesterday, all it did was get more sore and more tight overnight. It was pretty miserable."
Miraculously, Williamson held the lead in the event until the final competitor, Wynn, posted a score of 15.900.
"I never thought it could ever happen that I could place in the top five or 10," Williamson said. "Being able to compete with these guys on this level, it's something unreal.
"Brandon Wynn is on another level of gymnastics," Williams continued. "I had no doubt in my mind that he had easily beaten me."
Stanford's Tim Gentry took third in the rings with a score of 15.125.
Among the biggest accomplishments for the night was Naddour's victory on the pommel horse.
"Alex is tremendously talented," said Oklahoma's Williams. "Alex just swings beautifully. He's a great competitor. For a freshman, that's pretty unusual for that to happen at that event. I'm real pleased with him as well."
California's Glen Ishino finished second in the pommel with a score of 15.150, and Steven Spencer (15.125) of Ohio State was third.
Stanford's Penev, who edged out Oklahoma's Jacob Dalton to win the vault, missed winning two titles by one-tenth of a point, when he was edged out in the floor exercise by Legendre. Illinois' Chad Wiest [ CQ ] (15.725) was third.
"I think it could have gone either way on floor," said Stanford coach Thom Glielmi.
"He did a great job. He nailed the floor routine and did a beautiful vault."
Stanford's other winner, Lieberman, won the parallel bars by only .050.
"Ryan Lieberman did a good routine," said Glielmi. "He's been working really hard and it really paid off. The big thing with him has been focus. He's been able to carry that into our competition and now he's starting to see the results."
Lieberman edged out Michigan's Mel Anton Santander and Oklahoma's English (14.900) was third.
Michigan swept the high bar, as Ian Makowske finished behind McCarthy and Santander finished tied for third with University of Illinois-Chicago's Andrew Stover.