Michigan, Penn St. pace Day 1 action; Iowa earns surprise bid to Super Six
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Michigan won the first session of the NCAA qualifier on Friday with a session-best 443.850. The team tally is the second-highest of the season for the Wolverines, who advanced to the NCAA Team & All-Around finals.
Following a bye in the first rotation, the Wolverines took to pommel horse, an event where Michigan hit five routines and scored a 71.70 as a team. The Wolverines were led by junior Sam Mikulak, who notched a 14.85. He was followed by sophomore Adrian de los Angeles with a 14.65 and junior Matt Freeman, who anchored the Michigan rotation with a 14.55.
In the third rotation on still rings, Michigan notched a 75.30, its third-highest score on the event this season. Junior Alex Bubnov led off with a bang, notching a career-high 15.20. He was followed by junior Jordan Gaarenstroom, who collected a 15.30. Both de los Angeles and senior Rohan Sebastian tallied 14.85s, while Freeman anchored with a 15.10.
In the No. 2 position on vault, sophomore Michael Strathern nailed his double-front for a 15.15 and was followed by Mikulak, who hit his Kasamatsu one and a half with a small step on the end for a 14.90. Sophomore Stacey Ervin provided another strong vault, hitting his double-front for a 14.95 as Michigan collected a 74.00.
Michigan's parallel bar performance on the afternoon stole the show, as the team set a season best of 75.90. The Wolverines were paced by three competitors who broke the 15-barrier, as Caesar led the charge with a 15.60. Mikulak followed in the anchor position with a 15.50, while de los Angeles collected a 15.35 in the No. 4 spot.
Following a team 71.90 effort on high bar that was highlighted by a 75.05 from Mikulak, Michigan closed out the afternoon on floor with a stellar 75.05. Three athletes in de los Angeles (15.50), Caesar (15.25) and Mikulak (15.10) all broke the 15-mark, while Sebastian chipped in with a 14.70.
De los Angeles, who entered the meet as the top all-arounder in the country, scored an 89.650, which was just .05 off his career best.
Along with Michigan, Oklahoma and Illinois qualified for Saturday's team finals.
In the second session of the day, Penn State came in first with a total team score of 436.900.
Following Penn State was Stanford (435.850) and coming in third in the evening session was Iowa (426.550), beating Cal by a tenth of a point (436.450).
The Nittany Lions topped the team scores on the pommel horse, still rings and high bar, while placing second on parallel bars. Their high bar score of 72.800 was more than two points higher than the nearest competitor. Penn State also posted a still rings score of 75.200, topping their nearest competitor by more than a point. Their pommel horse score was a 72.300, topping second-place Stanford's score by one point. On parallel bars, the Nittany Lions had the two highest scores, and with a team score of 72.450, the blue and white trailed close to Stanford's 72.800.
Penn State occupied the top three scores for the high bar event, with Wasef Burbar topping the charts with a score of 15.200. Senior Mackenzie Dow grabbed the second spot on the event with a mark of 14.750, while sophomore Matthew Felleman tied for third with Stanford's John Martin at 14.600.
Sophomore Craig Hernandez topped the event with a score of 15.400 to clear the field by nearly one-half of a point. Hernandez was joined by teammate Felix Aronovich in the top five, as Aronovich rocked his way to a score of 14.800.
On the parallel bars, Aronovich took top billing with a score of 15.050, followed by Trevor Howard (14.900).