Season-High Team Score Gives NU First B1G Win
Lincoln, Neb. --- Led by several season-high team and individual scores, including total score (418.350) vault (71.40) and pommel horse (69.80), and three individual titles, the No. 7 Nebraska men's gymnastics team snatched its first conference victories of the season on Saturday against No. 5/6 Penn State and No. 9 Iowa at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers placed first with 418.350, while Iowa finished second and Penn State ended in third.
Chris Stephenson led the way for the Big Red with an all-around score of 83.50. Kyle King claimed the floor title, earning a 14.65, while Antonio Castro took the pommel horse title, notching a 14.70.
This is the first time that Nebraska has beaten Penn State in the regular season since 1999, and Iowa since 2013.
Chris Stephenson started the Huskers off on floor with a strong score of 14.15. Connor Adamsick and Kyle King followed with a season-best scores of 14.10 and 14.65, respectively. All-American Anton Stephenson earned 14.55, while fellow All-American Austin Epperson pitched in 14.15. NU earned a score of 71.60 and led Penn State (67.80) and Iowa (69.80) after the first event.
On pommel horse, the Huskers bested their season-high by almost two points. The team notched 69.80 on the event. The rotation started with three season-best scores from Travis Gollot (13.85), Kyle King (13.75) and Jordan King (13.80). Anton Stephenson tied his season best with a score of 13.70, while Antonio Castro paved the way on the event with 14.70.
The Big Red remained in the lead after two rotations, as Penn State notched 67.85 on still rings and Iowa earned 68.60 on floor.
Moving in Olympic order, the Huskers rotated to still rings next where Heath Anderson and Epperson led the way with scores of 13.95 each. Jordan King tied his career high score of 13.50 and Brenon Sommers beat his season best with a score of 13.75. Chris Stephenson added 13.25 to help the team finish with a score of 68.40.
Halfway through the meet, Nebraska led Iowa by more than two points and Penn State by more than three points.
On vault, the team earned a new season-high score of 71.40. Alex Magsam started for the Huskers with a season-best 14.15. Chris Stephenson and Leal each posted 14.35, while Kyle King added 13.80. To finish the event, Anton Stephenson stuck his vault landing for the second week in a row and earned 14.75.
Heading into the fifth rotation, NU had a score of 281.200, while Penn State and Iowa each had 274.700.
On parallel bars, Chris Stephenson paved the way, after posting a career-high score of 14.60, despite the scoring change prior to the season that typically lowers scores by 0.5. Anton Stephenson added support with a season-best score of 14.40. Evan Hymanson and Epperson added 13.00 and 13.70, respectively. Leal, the anchor on the event, stuck his landing and earned 12.75. As a team, NU earned 68.45 to extend its lead over the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions by more than three points and 11 points, respectively.
Despite having a lead over both teams heading into the final rotation, the Huskers did not let up on its final event -- high bar and earned a season-high 68.70. Chris Stephenson started the team off with a season-best 14.00. Leal also earned a season high (14.05), while Castro earned 13.85. Jake Bonnay helped with 12.90. Jordan King stuck his landing and scored a season-high 13.90. Anton Stephenson, competing unattached, earned 13.65.
Nebraska takes one week off before getting another shot at the Hawkeyes on March 20 at 6 p.m. in Iowa City, Iowa. The competition will be televised on BTN and will also be available on BTN2GO and the BTN2GO mobile app.