Champaign, Ill. --- Anton Stephenson (82.35) and Chris Stephenson (82.05) finished third and fourth, respectively in the all-around competition at the 2017 Big Ten Championships Friday night to lead the Nebraska men's gymnastics team to a fifth-place team finish. It was NU's best finish since joining the conference prior to the 2012 season. The Huskers finished with a team score of 410.000.
"I'm really proud of our team," Head Coach Chuck Chmelka said. "We had our highest finish at the conference championship since joining the Big Ten. We're gaining ground on top and we got to keep working hard."
Ohio State claimed its second consecutive Big Ten title (418.600), as well as the top-two all-around spots (Sean Melton and Jake Martin). Illinois finished in second (416.400), while Minnesota rounded out the top three with 413.300. Penn State finished fourth (411.200), while Iowa (402.150) and Michigan (401.250) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Individually, Anton Stephenson (floor, vault, parallel bars), Antonio Castro (pommel horse), Jordan King (pommel horse) and Chris Stephenson (still rings, parallel bars) each advanced to the individual event finals tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (BTN/BTN2GO).
The Huskers got off to a great start on parallel bars, finishing with 69.90. Chris Stephenson (14.30) and Anton Stephenson (14.20) led the way for the team on the first event. Daniel Leal earned a 14.00 to add support, while Austin Epperson and Evan Hymanson pitched in 13.90 and 13.50, respectively. NU was in second place after the first rotation, trailing Minnesota (71.90).
On high bar, Nebraska scored 66.15. Anton Stephenson scored highest with 13.85, followed by Leal (13.65) and Jake Bonnay (13.30). Castro pitched in 13.00, while Jordan King finished with 12.35. Chris Stephenson, competing in the all-around, scored 12.90. Nebraska was in fourth with a score of 136.050 after two rotations.
The Big Red rotated to floor where Anton Stephenson (14.55), Chris Stephenson (14.15) and Connor Adamsick (14.05) each posted scores of 14.0 or higher. Kyle King earned 13.95 and Epperson notched 13.70. After posting 70.40 on the event, the Huskers were in third place with a score of 206.450 behind Ohio State (209.650) and Minnesota (208.700)
Nebraska had a bye after the first three events.
NU went to pommel horse where Castro scored highest with 14.25. Jordan King notched a season-best score of 14.00 to help the team. Anton Stephenson and Kyle King finished with 13.40 and 12.90, respectively, while Travis Gollott earned 12.50. Chris Stephenson, competing in the all-around, earned 12.60. Nebraska was tied with Penn State for fifth (273.500), behind Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.
On still rings, Chris Stephenson earned 13.85 to lead the Huskers. Epperson scored 13.15, while Heath Anderson and Sanjaya Roy finished with 13.25 and 13.00, respectively. Jordan King added 12.70 and Anton Stephenson scored 11.70 competing in the all-around. NU finished with 65.95, putting them in sixth place behind Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Illinois and Penn State.
The Huskers finished the night on one of the team's best events -- vault. Anton Stephenson (14.65) and Kyle King (14.40) scored highest for the team, followed by Chris Stephenson who finished with 14.25. Leal helped with 13.90, while Alex Magsam added support with 13.35. NU ended with a 70.55 on the event.