April 12, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Three Big Ten men’s gymnasts won individual national titles on the final day of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships. Illinois’ Jordan Valdez placed first on the high bar, Michigan’s Sam Mikulak took home the parallel bars title and Minnesota’s Ellis Mannon won the pommel horse.
Valdez won the high bar competition with a score of 15.525, marking the first Fighting Illini to win the award since Paul Ruggeri in 2008-09. Ohio State’s Jake Martin (15.475) and Sean Melton (15.225) placed second and third, respectively. The Wolverines’ Syque Caesar placed fifth (14.975), Ohio State’s Alex Johnson finished sixth (14.950), Iowa’s Mitchell Landau placed seventh (14.925), Minnesota’s Steve Jaciuk took ninth (14.550) and Ohio State’s Andrew Rickly placed 10th (14.475).
After winning the all-around crown on Friday night, Mikulak took home the parallel bars title for the second consecutive season with a score of 15.875, while teammate Caesar placed third with a tally of 15.325. Valdez finished fifth (15.100), Penn State’s Trevor Howard tied for sixth with the Buckeyes’ Sean Melton (15.050) and Minnesota’s Matt Frey placed ninth (14.900).
Mannon took home the pommel horse title after scoring 15.425 points, becoming the first Gopher to claim the pommel horse crown since Clay Strother in 2001-02. The Nittany Lions’ Craig Hernandez placed fifth (14.775), Illinois’ Logan Bradley (14.675) and Chad Mason (14.100) finished sixth and eighth, respectively, Ohio State’s Michael Newburger took ninth (13.425) and Mikulak rounded out the top 10 with 13.250 points.
Four conference gymnasts placed among the top five on the floor exercise, including second-place Chandler Eggleston and third-place C.J. Maestas of Illinois and fourth-place Mikulak and fifth-place Stacey Ervin from Michigan. Placing among the top five on the rings was Maestas with a second-place finish, while Eggleston and Ohio State’s Jeff Treleaven finished second and fourth, respectively, on the vault.