Oklahoma wins three individual titles
Sooners’ duo win trio of individual national titles on final day
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bummed out after his team finished a disappointing second a night earlier, Oklahoma’s Jacob Dalton came away with some nice consolation prizes.
Dalton won the vault and floor exercise and finished second and fourth in two other events at the NCAA men’s gymnastics championship on Saturday night at Ohio State’s St. John Arena.
“I was a little bit tired but I knew I had a chance to win some,” he said after hustling back and forth to the awards stand. “I went out there and just kind of put everything on the line—everything I had.”
He captured the vault with 16.550 points and won the floor exercise with 16.200. He also placed second to Illinois’ Tyler Mizoguchi in the parallel bars and was fourth on the horizontal bar.
It was a remarkable turnaround year for the sophomore. A member of the 2009 world team, he wasn’t invited back on the team last year. But this season he won the Winter Cup and American Cup, a prestigious international meet—taking first in the latter as an alternate on the morning of the competition.
His big night still didn’t make up for losing out to Stanford in Friday night’s team competition. The top-ranked Sooners totaled 361.600 points to the Cardinal’s 363.450.
“That team title would have been something amazing to have,” he said.
The reverse of that sentiment belonged to Stanford’s Alex Buscaglia. He and his teammates celebrated their title on Friday night, and then looked at Saturday’s individual events as a bonus.
“I don’t really think it could have been a better weekend,” he said after winning the horizontal bar. “We came here with the goal to win the team title. After having had that happen last night, literally, we talked about today being icing on the cake. And this certainly was the icing on the cake that I wanted.”
He had a 15.750 to hold off Michigan’s Ian Makowske.
Two other gymnasts successfully defended their titles from 2010.
Ohio State’s Brandon Wynn stretched his winning streak to 21 consecutive rings competitions dating to September of 2009 when he easily defended the title in his specialty.
He said he tried not to dwell too much on the pressures of winning the title once again.
“I tried not to think about that too much,” he said. “I tried to think about the only things that I can control: myself, my routine and what I’m doing out there. So I tried to keep myself as calm as possible, do my normal pre-meet rituals and just do my job like I do it every day in the gym.”
In addition, Oklahoma’s Alex Naddour—who won the pommel horse in 2010— tied for the top spot in the event with Daniel Ribeiro of Illinois, both at 15.550. Ribeiro had previously won the 2009 pommel horse at nationals.
An emotional Ribeiro said he couldn’t have closed out his college career any better.
“I’m excited to have my second title. It’s a great career, and now it’s over,” the senior said. “This is the biggest individual title in collegiate men’s gymnastics. For me, this is incredible. I’ve dreamed about this, and to be able to say that I did it twice is a dream come true. I’m just so happy.”