gymnastics-men-nc flag | February 14, 2014

Top 10 Preview: Top-ranked Sooners face No. 3 Cardinal

No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 Stanford at Metroplex Challenge

The Sooners are the top-ranked team in the country and have been since the season began a month ago at the Rocky Mountain Open in Colorado Springs, Colo. OU crushed the event, scoring a 443.150 and defeating the next closest team by almost 20 points - a huge margin in gymnastics.

Oklahoma has scored above a 440.000 two more meets since the season opener, with wins of 28, 4, and 14 points in its last three meets. The Sooners currently have a 442.717 team average score, which is currently four points more than defending national champion Michigan in second.

But the Sooners will face their toughest opponent of the year on Saturday when they host No. 5 Stanford at 6 p.m. in McCasland Field House. The Cardinal defeated California twice to open the season before most recently taking third against Michigan and Cal after an injury to freshman Akash Modi led to a rough final rotation.

Modi, a current member of the USA Senior National Team, has already been awarded two national gymnast of the week awards this season and is a strong all-arounder across all six events.

No. 4 Ohio State vs. T7 California

Ohio State competes in its first home event of the season at 7 p.m. Friday evening, hosting  California in a dual meet at St. John Arena.

The Buckeyes claimed four individual event titles against the Wolverines, as sophomore Jake Martin claimed first place on pommel horse with a career-high 15.60 and tied for first place on vault with a career-high 15.30, junior Drew Moling claimed first place on rings with a career-high 15.75 and sophomore Alex Johnson claimed first place on high bar with a career-high 15.40.

In addition, Ohio State earned team best scores on floor exercise (72.55), rings (74.65), parallel bars (73.65) and high bar (75.10). The team score on high bar is the highest score in the nation this year.

California enters competition Friday ranked eighth in the country with a three score average of 427.700. The Golden Bears have competed in four meets this season, finishing second to Stanford Jan. 11 and Jan. 18 with team scores of 425.650 and 426.350, respectively, while also placing second to No. 2 Michigan at the Stanford Open Jan. 25 with a score of 430.300 and defeating Arizona State Feb. 8 with a score of 426.450.

No. 5 Illinois vs, T7 Penn State

The Fighting Illini will travel to University Park, Pa., this weekend to take on Penn State at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Illini trail the Nittany Lions in the all-time series 30-53. The last time these two teams met one-on-one was in March of last season, where Penn State bested Illinois 438.900-436.250.



No. 6 Minnesota vs. No. 10 Iowa

The Gophers will hit the road for the second week in a row this weekend as they travel to Iowa to take on Iowa and No. 11 Nebraska. The meet will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The Gophers traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., last weekend to take on Air Force and came home with their second-consecutive win. Even though the Gophers dealt with injuries to some key gymnasts, they posted their second-highest score of the season and defeated Air Force 434.200 to 431.550.

Minnesota had individual champions in six of the seven events, with junior Ellis Mannon winning the all-around competition despite fighting through an injury. Senior Matt Frey posted the highest score of the meet with a 15.400 on parallel bars.

Minnesota has already faced both Iowa and Nebraska this season, emerging victorious both times.

At the Windy City Invitational, the Gophers finished just ahead of Iowa, placing fourth at the meet while the Hawkeyes finished fifth. Iowa was outscored 424.800 to 417.700, but they managed to post higher scores than the Gophers on the still rings and high bar.

The Gophers faced Nebraska two weeks ago at the Sports Pavilion, winning 435.200 to 420.700. Nebraska did not take away any team awards at the meet, but gymnast Eric Scryver was the individual champion on the high bar with a score of 14.900.

No. 9 Air Force vs. No. 13 Army 
No. 9 Air Force vs. No. 16 Temple

Air Force heads east this weekend for a pair of back-to-back road matches. The Falcons will face service academy rival Army on Friday in West Point, N.Y., before traveling to Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, for a triangular meet with 16th-ranked Temple and 17th-ranked Illinois-Chicago.

With a three-score average of 414.483, Army holds the highest GymInfo Ranking of Air Force's weekend opponents. The Black Knights, in their third consecutive meet against service academy opponents, is coming off of a 422.300-420.100 loss at Navy last weekend. Jesse Glenn currently holds a top-five national ranking on the high bar, behind an average of 15.033. As a team, Temple and Illinois-Chicago are ranked 16th (399.433) and 17th (396.767), respectively, in the national standings. Last weekend, the Owls dropped a 431.550-401.600 contest at Penn State, while the Flames finished second at SUNY-Brockport Triangular.

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