Moldauer repeats at 2024 Winter Cup as Phillips hits 16.1 on parallel bars, Malone makes impressive return

By William Gomez | February 25, 2024
Yul Moldauer on Day 2 of the 2024 Winter Cup.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

Winter Cup’s reputation for inconsistency was blown out of the water at this year’s meet, especially when it came to the men’s competition.

The men’s program, fueled by their recent success at the 2023 World Championships, is clearly hungrier than ever to return to the Olympic podium in less than six months, and it showed by way of excellent gymnastics across the board in Louisville this weekend.

The winners of the two-day meet were determined by combining individual scores from Friday and Sunday’s meets. With national team spots on the line, each athlete knew they had to give it their all on Day 2.

After Day 1, Olympian Shane Wiskus had the overall lead, with a big 84.850 after struggling with a back injury and missing out on worlds and Pan Am Games last year. Wiskus’ Olympic teammate and world medalist Yul Moldauer was right behind him in second with an 84.450, and Cameron Bock was in third with an 82.950. 

Coming into Sunday’s competition, a tight race between Wiskus and Moldauer was expected, but Moldauer took the lead and ran with it right from the start. He drilled his Kas 1.5 in Rotation 1 to earn a 14.500 and grab the lead by 0.150. That momentum continued with a huge 15.400 on parallel bars, and his lead steadily increased throughout the night as he hit six-for-six and threw in some upgrades.

When Moldauer was asked about taking more risks on Day 2, he said, “I wanted to show even though I did routines on the first day that I’m ready to go even harder the second day; I’m not going to be tired. My mindset is this is the Olympic year. Everyone should be ready to go from this meet and forward.”

That perspective paid off, coming from behind to grab the all-around and floor titles, with Day 2 scores of 85.300 (169.750 combined) and 14.400, respectively.

Despite Moldauer coming in first, he had already solidified his spot on national team thanks to the team’s medal-winning performance at worlds, meaning the battle for second to sixth would be brutal as that would guarantee a spot on national team.

With his performance on Friday, Wiskus was sitting comfortably on top, and he ultimately finished in second place, just a couple points shy of Moldauer with an 82.600 (167.450 combined). Bock didn’t have his best day on Sunday, with some uncharacteristic errors on parallel bars and high bar, allowing Riley Loos to sneak into third with a 164.400 combined total (81.800/82.600) while he finished fourth with a 163.850 (82.950/80.900).

The fight for those final two spots came down to the last rotation between Fuzzy Benas, Donnell Whittenburg, and Jeremy Bischoff. Bischoff gave it his all at the end, nailing his Kas full for a 13.700, but it wasn’t enough to edge Benas or Whittenburg, who earned matching 163.600s. Whittenburg’s massive 14.650 on rings in the last rotation landed him in fifth, and Benas went from eighth to sixth after his excellent performance on Day 2.

Luckily for Bischoff, who was seventh with a 163.000, he was able to snag a spot on the team through the 10-Point Program (full selection procedures can be found here) after stellar performances on high bar (second place) and in the all-around. Joining him from the 10-Point results were Josh Karnes, Taylor Burkhart, Curran Phillips, and none other than Brody Malone.

After a devastating knee injury last year, the odds seemed against Malone to even be competing for a spot on this year’s team, let alone competing at this level so early in the season.

“I’m blown away by his recovery,” USAG Men’s High Performance Director Brett McClure said. “I was expecting an injury petition for Brody to try to get back on National Team for the next few months before U.S. Championships… I am in awe that he is competing here and competing so well.”

Malone had a fantastic meet as he returned to the U.S. elite stage, finishing fourth on pommel horse (high of 14.250), third on parallel bars (high of 15.000), and put his dismount to his feet on rings on Sunday to earn a 14.050.

Phillips was unstoppable this weekend, blowing away the field on parallel bars and high bar. He earned a 15.950 on parallel bars Friday and wasn’t completely satisfied with his routine.

“I had some wobbles in the routine – a little bit of mistakes – but, you know what, I’ll take it,” Phillips said after Day 1. “It’s always good to look back and have a couple things to improve on for Day 2. So that’s what I’m gonna set my mind on and try to attack on Sunday.”

And he did just that, hitting a monster set capped off with a stuck double front half dismount to score a 16.100. He grabbed the title there and on high bar, where he earned matching 14.300s for his two sets. Consistency is key for gymnasts in the Olympic year, and for Phillips, who is a three-event specialist (including vault), his path to the Olympic team is via consistency. The medal-contending difficulty? No problem.

Rounding out the new additions to the national team are two pommel horse specialists: Air Force’s Patrick Hoopes won the pommel title after hitting both days (14.850/14.750), rising to the occasion after a fall from 2021 world champion Stephen Nedoroscik on Day 2 (15.200/14.250).

Nedoroscik was the final addition to the national team after the Senior Selection Committee met to decide the 20th and final spot.

Landen Blixt retained his spot on the Senior Development Team, while first-year senior Kai Uemura was added to the SDT.

Those named to the team will retain their spots through nationals, which are set for May 30-June 2, where a new team will be named and selected athletes will then advance to Olympic Trials at the end of June. Those on the team now will be eligible for international assignments this spring, including the Baku World Cup, Doha World Cup, DTB Pokal Team Challenge and Mixed Cup, and Pacific Rim Championships. Assignments will be announced on Monday.

To relive the meet, see our play-by-play live blog that covered both days of competition.

Note: Although not competing at Winter Cup, Asher Hong, Paul Juda, Fred Richard, Colt Walker, and Khoi Young retained their spots on the national team as members of the bronze medal winning team at worlds last fall.

Senior Men’s Winners – 2024 Winter Cup

  • All-Around: Yul Moldauer – 169.750 (84.450/85.300)
  • Floor Exercise: Yul Moldauer – 28.800 (14.400/14.400)
  • Pommel Horse: Patrick Hoopes – 29.600 (14.850/14.750)
  • Rings: Alex Diab – 29.200 (14.750/14.450)
  • Vault: Kameron Nelson – 27.675 (14.050/13.625)
  • Parallel Bars: Curran Phillips – 32.050 (15.950/16.100)
  • High Bar: Curran Phillips – 28.600 (14.300/14.300)

Full all-around results can be found here. Full event results can be found here. The 10-Point results are here.

Junior Men’s Event Winners – 2024 Winter Cup

Qualifying junior men from Saturday’s Elite Team Cup and all-around final had the opportunity to compete alongside the seniors on Sunday as they participated in event finals. They held their own and gave fans a glimpse into the tremendous future of the U.S. men’s program.

  • Floor Exercise: Kyle Jordan – 14.626
  • Pommel Horse: Maksim Kan – 14.052
  • Rings: Adam Lakomy – 13.761
  • Vault: David Ramirez – 14.505
  • Parallel Bars: Nathan Roman – 13.761
  • High Bar: Danila Leykin – 13.976

Full results can be found here.

2024 Senior Men’s National Team following Winter Cup

  • Fuzzy Benas — University of Oklahoma
  • Jeremy Bischoff — Stanford University
  • Cameron Bock — University of Michigan
  • Taylor Burkhart — Stanford University
  • Asher Hong — Stanford University
  • Patrick Hoopes — U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Paul Juda — University of Michigan
  • Josh Karnes – Penn State
  • Riley Loos — Stanford University
  • Brody Malone — EVO Gymnastics
  • Yul Moldauer — 5280 Gymnastics
  • Stephen Nedoroscik — EVO Gymnastics
  • Curran Phillips — EVO Gymnastics
  • Fred Richard — University of Michigan
  • Colt Walker — Stanford University
  • Donnell Whittenburg — Salto Gymnastics Center
  • Shane Wiskus — EVO Gymnastics
  • Khoi Young — Stanford University

Senior Development Team:

  • Kai Uemura – Lakeshore Academy
  • Landen Blixt – University of Michigan