The best men’s collegiate gymnasts in the country had the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion rocking Saturday night as the 2009 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships closed with a thrilling round of individual event finals.
All-Around champion Steven Legendre of Oklahoma continued his outstanding run at the championship, adding individual titles on both floor exercise and vault to his medal haul. Legendre scored a 15.625 to secure his win on floor and a 16.325 on vault that was the highest score of the three-day competition on the apparatus.
Legendre’s floor performance was part of a brilliant run in the event by the Sooners, who claimed half of the eight All-American’s, including Chris Brooks’ score of 15.575 that was good enough to place third. Illinois’ Paul Ruggeri just missed sharing the top spot on the podium with Legendre, earning a score of 15.600 from the six-judge panel.
Ruggeri, however, would go on to claim a spot on the top of the podium twice later in the competition with wins on both parallel bars and high bar.
Ruggeri performed what turned out to be one of the few clean routines on the high bar as the gymnasts adopted a go-big-or-go-home attitude throughout the event. Executing four release moves and sticking his dismount, he earned a score of 15.750 to blow away the field.
Michigan’s Thomas Kelly scored a 15.275 to place second, while Stanford’s Alex Busaglia took third with a score of 14.875.
On p-bars, Ruggeri’s victory was much tighter as he finished with a score of 15175 to edge California’s Kyle Brady, who scored a 15.075. Kelly of Michigan grabbed his second top-three finish to take third with score of 14.675.
Pommel horse was just as tight at the top of the podium. Big Ten Champion Dan Ribeiro of Illinois made it three win’s for the Illini and once again proved he is among the country’s best at the discipline as he put together a clean routine that earned a score of 15.575. Ohio State student-athletes took the next two spots, just missing out on the top spot. Steven Spencer scored 15.475 to take second and Ty Echard scored 15.450 to take third.
California’s Evan Roth ended up with the most commanding win of the opening individual session, scoring 15.600 to win the still rings title by .200 over Michigan’s Phillip Goldberg. Nicholas Noon of team champion Stanford took third with a score of 15.275 as the Cardinal claimed a total of four All-American’s on the apparatus.