MPSF Men’s Gymnastics Week 9 Recap: Michigan upsets Oklahoma; Stanford holds off Nebraska

By Aidan Giusti | March 6, 2024
Stanford's Asher Hong on floor at the 2023 Winter Cup.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

MPSF men’s gymnastics resumed after a week hiatus for Winter Cup, with all four MPSF teams returning to the competition floor in Week 9.

Cal hosted Stanford, Nebraska, and Air Force for a senior night quad meet at Haas Pavilion while Oklahoma traveled to Ann Arbor for a head-to-head battle against the Michigan Wolverines.

#1 Oklahoma @ #4 Michigan

Final score: Michigan: 416.300 – Oklahoma: 409.550

Five Sooners competed at Winter Cup last weekend. Notably, alum Yul Moldauer winning back-to-back all-around titles and freshman Colin Flores suffering a season-ending injury (torn ACL) on vault during Day 1.

The Sooners struggled in their return to team competition after the break. Pommel horse and rings were the killers against Michigan, where they tied their lowest pommel horse total, despite being No. 1 in the nation on the event, and recorded a season low on rings by more than two points. On the flip side, they did find much improvement on floor and high bar against the Wolverines, improving 3.35 points to a 70.05 on floor and 7.2 points to a 69.3 on high bar. While the Wolverines handed Oklahoma their second loss of the season, there are still positives to take away from their 409.550 performance.

Emre Dodanli was the only Sooner who claimed an event title, adding yet another floor title to his resume this weekend with a solid 14.9; Dodanli continues to top the NCAA on floor, with a solid six-tenth lead by 3-score average.

While this was one of the first competitions this season that the Sooners didn’t cruise to multiple or all individual titles, there were still excellent performances that deserve to be recognized. Nico Hamilton followed closely behind Dodanli, claiming second place on floor with a season-best 14.8. Leo Koike also scored a season and career-best 14.0 on floor to tie for fifth. Jack Freeman claimed second on high bar with a career-high tying 14.500.

As the regular season draws to a close and we head into conference and NCAA Championships, the Sooners will need to start performing like they did near the end of January if they want to maintain their No. 1 ranking and top the podium in Columbus, Ohio in April.

#2 Stanford, #5 Nebraska, Air Force @ #8 Cal

Final score: Stanford: 410.850, Nebraska: 408.150, California: 394.850, Air Force: 386.800


After having a lot of gymnasts at Winter Cup and Khoi Young, Colt Walker, and Asher Hong in Germany last weekend, the Cardinal returned to the NCAA with their full team and, despite a handful of mistakes, reminded everyone that they are looking to win their fifth consecutive NCAA Championship.

Their 410.85 was their third highest team score this season and the second highest team score of the weekend, behind only Michigan’s 416.300. The Cardinal struggled on pommel horse and vault this weekend; a handful of falls on horse led to a season-worst 65.4, and despite some unrefined landings, the Cardinal still managed to break 70 on vault (70.45). The highlight of the weekend event-wise was easily high bar and rings, where the Cardinal improved 3 points on each event and scored a season-high 71.3 on rings.

Despite facing four opponents, the Cardinal still claimed a handful of event titles: Asher Hong won rings (14.8) and vault (14.75), J.R. Chou won parallel bars (14.2), and Jeremy Bischoff won high bar (14.4).

We have yet to see the Cardinal be as dominant as they have been in recent years. A team that went above 420 multiple times last season, most notably their 422.458 at NCAA finals last season, has yet to match that mark this season, with a high score of 415.25. Other teams in the NCAA, most notably the Oklahoma Sooners, Illinois Illini, and Michigan Wolverines have been hard at work and solidified themselves as worthy competitors and contenders to take down Stanford. The Cardinal will look to start building momentum as the regular season comes to a close. The goal: becoming only the second team in the history of men’s NCAA gymnastics to win their fifth consecutive national title.


The Bears hosted their senior night in Haas Pavilion where they honored 10 graduating seniors. Quick shoutout to the seniors: sixth-years Darren Wong and Yu-chen “Miles” Lee, fifth-year Noah Sano, and seniors Noah Newfeld, David Rauchwerger, Collin Cunane, Christopher Scales, Jelani Sweet, Seth Ornelas, and Aidan Li, as well as former gymnast and current team manager Ron Israel. They are part of one of the, if not the largest, graduating classes in program and NCAA history. Newfeld returned to the Bay Area after a successful outing at Winter Cup last weekend in Kentucky. 

Also claiming their third highest team score of the season, Cal’s 394.85 is decent considering the number of mistakes and falls throughout the night. Event-wise, the Bears put up a season-worst 62.00 on parallel bars, their best event typically, due to a handful of falls from Sano, Newfeld and Brendan Strom. The Bears redeemed themselves at the end of competition with a season-best 66.25 on high bar, led by Wong’s 13.7. The Bears claimed an event title this weekend with Tyler Shimizu’s 14.1 on floor. Celebrating his 23rd birthday and winning the Best Bear award, Theodor Roald Gadderud competed four for the Bears, leading the team on rings and parallel bars with a 13.6 and 14.0, respectively.

The Bears have one more regular season meet back in Palo Alto in two weeks before traveling back to Oklahoma for the MPSF Championships in early April. Currently holding on to the No. 8 ranking, the Bears will look to continue pushing and challenge Penn State and Ohio State’s scores in hopes of making it to Day 2 of nationals. In order to do that, they must hit more routines and continue refining, needing to find themselves back in the 400s to have a good chance.

Air Force

The Falcons joined the party in Berkeley this weekend for Cal’s quad meet. Their 386.800 was their lowest score of the season so far. Recent news of their meet with Oklahoma being invalidated made this their third counted team competition of the season.

The Falcons struggled, putting up season lows on floor, pommel horse, and parallel bars, but they did manage to set season highs on rings (64.75) and high bar (62.1). Top scorers for the Falcons included Garrett Braunton on floor (13.15), rings (13.3), and high bar (13.25), Sam Brown on pommel horse (13.75), Erich Upton on vault (14.2), and Oliver Zavel on parallel bars (13.85) and in the all-around (77.2). The Falcons did not look as energetic and refined as they have in previous weeks and will need to get that rhythm back for the rest of season if they want to be competitive with teams like Greenville and Navy, who occupy the two spots ahead of them in the current national rankings.