Stanford completes four-peat at 2023 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships; Fred Richard wins all-around to lead Michigan to runner-up finish

By Alex Wittenberg | April 15, 2023
The Stanford Cardinal celebrates its fourth-straight NCAA title in men's gymnastics.
The Stanford Cardinal celebrates its fourth-straight NCAA title in men's gymnastics. (© Amy Sanderson)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Stanford won the 2023 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships on Saturday, tallying a 422.458 to outstrip Michigan (419.889) and Illinois (415.590) and complete the four-peat.

Oklahoma finished about a point and a half back from Illinois and placed fourth. Nebraska was fifth with a 412.427, and Penn State finished sixth, scoring a 412.057.

Stanford took the lead after its first rotation on vault and held it through to the end of the competition. The team’s score of 422.458 was its fifth total above 420 this season. No other team broke the 420 mark in 2023.

The Cardinal’s four-peat now matches the streak OU built from 2015 to 2018. Stanford earned 12 All-American citations in total on Saturday.

The competition for second and third place was highly contested, but Michigan moved into second after the fourth event and ultimately finished runner-up thanks to a huge all-around performance from freshman Fred Richard. Richard placed first all-around with a score of 85.998, followed by Nebraska’s Taylor Christopulos (84.166) and Asher Hong (83.932).

Illinois secured third place after a strong showing on pommel horse in rotation six anchored by specialist Ian Skirkey, who scored a 15.133 to complete his perfect season on the event and win the national title. 

Stanford, Michigan, and Illinois also claimed two individual event titles apiece. 

The Cardinal’s winning night started with a stick from Taylor Burkhart on vault. Burkhart executed a Yurchenko half-on double-full off and scored a 15.0 to finish second. Hong then landed a 6.0-difficulty Ri Se Gwang to score 15.333 and win the vault title. Khoi Young also landed his Yurchenko half-on double full off to earn a 14.800.

Brandon Nguyen led the Cardinal on parallel bars, sticking his double front dismount to score a 14.566 and place fifth. Hong and Jeremy Bischoff also stuck double front half-out dismounts.

Burkhart also led the squad on high bar, notching a 14.000 to finish fifth.

On floor, Nick Kuebler planted a full-twisting double back dismount to score a 14.8 for the event title. Stanford moved to pommel horse with a four point lead.

The Cardinal then hit its first four horse routines before Young fell following a Wu. But he remounted and finished cleanly to still score a 13.633 for tenth place and close out the horse rotation. J.R. Chou put up a 13.8 earlier in the lineup and placed sixth. 

Stanford finished on rings and counted one fall. Brandon Biones stuck his dismount late in the lineup to score a 14.733 and finish second. Kuebler scored a 14.566 earlier in the rotation and placed fourth. 

The Cardinal’s high difficulty scores allowed the team to absorb the few falls it counted and remain in control of the meet throughout the night.

Michigan’s team total of 419.889 amounted to an almost six-point season high, and its runner-up finish is its best result since 2014. Michigan started on pommel horse and began building momentum after rings, where it set a season-best score of 70.197. Richard led the rings effort, finishing fifth with a 14.466, and Javier Alfonso put up a 14.233 to place seventh. 

The Wolverines gained pace on vault. David Wolma stuck an explosive Kas 1.5 to score a 14.9 and finish third on the event, while Landen Blixt landed his Yurchenko 2.5 and scored a 14.566. 

Richard then led the team on parallel bars, sticking his double front dismount to score a 15.0 and take the title. Teammate Virgil Watkins stuck his own double front after Richard to score a 14.666 for a runner-up finish. 

On high bar, Richard again hit a clutch routine to win the event title, catching a Cassina, Kolman, layout Tkatchev, straddle and pike Tkatchevs, and landing his layout double-double to score a 14.433. Adam Wooten caught a Kolman and other release elements before sticking his dismount to place third. 

Michigan went into its last event on floor with a more than two point lead over Illinois. Richard once again led the team on the apparatus, scoring a 14.8 to tie Stanford’s Kuebler for the best score on the event. Blixt finished fifth with a 14.6.

Illinois moved into second place early in the meet after a strong rings rotation led by Ashton Anaya, who secured the national title with his score of 14.8. The Illini counted two sticks on vault — from Connor McCool and Amari Sewell — to hang onto second after the second rotation.

The team then fell behind Oklahoma to fourth after parallel bars and remained in fourth until after its fifth event. On parallel bars, David Pochinka led the lineup with a score of 14.566, finishing fourth. 

Illinois’ floor performance vaulted the team into third place. McCool hit his set and took a small hop on his triple full dismount to place seventh and lead the lineup with a 14.533.

The lllini’s Sebastian Ingersoll and Max Farkhadau then performed excellent pommel horse routines to help Illinois hold onto third place. Ingersoll and Farkhadau placed fourth and fifth, respectively, and their strong routines set up Skirkey to close out the meet with aplomb. Skirkey executed a Mikulak, Sohn, full Stockli, two E flops, Wu, Roth, and triple Russian dismount to tally a 15.133 for an eight-tenth win. 

OU’s Zach Nunez and Ignacio Yockers were the team’s top individual finishers, placing second and third, respectively, on horse. Emre Dodanli stuck his triple full dismount on floor to score a 14.733 for a fourth-place finish, and Jack Freeman placed seventh on high bar (13.900).

Christopulos’ all-around score of 84.166 was a season-best by almost a point. The Husker gymnast also finished fifth on floor with a 14.6 and seventh on parallel bars (14.4).

Nebraska’s Donte McKinney nabbed an All-American citation on high bar, placing second with a 14.366. He also finished ninth on vault (14.6), while teammate Zachary Tiderman placed eighth on the event with his Yurchenko 2.5 (14.7).

Penn State’s Josh Karnes and Matt Cormier finished fourth and fifth in the all-around, respectively, and Karnes was third on parallel bars with a score of 14.633 and seventh on vault (14.733). Cormier earned All-Americans on high bar and parallel bars.

Individuals representing Ohio State finished top 8 on four events. Kameron Nelson placed third on floor (14.766) and fifth on vault (14.8) after sticking a front handspring double full, and Donovan Hewitt finished third on rings (14.6) after sticking his 1.5-twisting double back dismount. Freshman Caden Spencer nabbed fourth on high bar (14.066). Nelson also finished sixth all-around (81.665).

Navy’s Isaiah Drake and Syam Buradagunta won All-American awards — the first for Navy since 1973. Drake ended up eighth all-around (81.263), while Buradagunta placed eighth on floor (14.333)