Jake Dalton Floor
Unbelievable routine! After missing out on a spot on the 2010 world team, there’s no question that Jake Dalton has been the big surprise of this competition. Not only was he stunning on his specialties, floor and vault, but he outperformed world all-around finalist and national all-around silver medalist Danell Leyva in the all-around. Absolutely huge for this gymnast.
Steven Legendre Floor
Oklahoma took the top two spots on floor at this meet, with Legendre scoring 0.2 behind teammate Dalton. With two world championships and as many world finals behind him, Legendre has started to compete like a veteran and is becoming more and more consistent with these phenomenal tumbling passes. Does a world medal await him in Tokyo?
Paul Ruggeri Floor
Had Ruggeri not botched that press to handstand he would have been right up there with Dalton and Legendre on this event. He certainly had his share of mistakes in this competition, but he’ll have another chance to prove himself in the finals and could improve dramatically upon his 10th place all-around finish here in prelims.
Daniel Ribeiro Pommel Horse
Many were surprised that a first place finish on the USA’s weakest event at last year’s nationals wasn’t enough to place this gymnast on the national team, but perhaps his whopping 16.0 here might finally catch the attention of the selection committee. A score even close to this range would do wonders for the U.S. team in international competition. If he does this again in the finals I don’t see how he could be denied a national team spot.
Glen Ishino Pommel Horse
Third all-around and third on pommel horse for this clean and consistent Cal-Berkeley gymnast. I think if Glen can repeat his overall prelim performance in the finals – especially on this event – he should reclaim the national team spot he earned last year.
Wes Haagensen Rings
Haagensen hasn’t shown his best all-around capabilities since 2009 (he was 15th in prelims here with multiple rough events), but rings is one event that still keeps him in the mix. I think he’ll need to improve in multiple areas tomorrow if he wants to keep his national team spot, but this routine did place 2nd with a solid 15.1.
Danell Leyva P-Bars
Although Leyva has had much more success on high bar than on p-bars, I actually think I like watching him better on this event. His giant diamidov skills are second to none, and if he can perfect his incredibly difficult peach skills at the beginning of the routine, he may be a world medal contender here as well.
Joey Hagerty P-Bars
This was an absolutely gorgeous parallel bars routine. Joey has always had clean and consistent gymnastics, but this event in particular showcases his smooth look, beautiful body line, and excellent toe point. Even with the steps on the dismount, I think an 8.85 E-score was a rip-off.
Alex Buscaglia High Bar
A stunning routine! This was probably my favorite routine of the entire preliminaries as a matter of fact. That had to be the best Liukin (full twisting laid out Tcatchev) I’ve ever seen, and nearly every skill he did had a unique style to it. Great body position on his releases, and great form throughout the routine. Same D-score as Leyva (7.4), but amazingly this scored 0.2 lower in execution than Leyva’s!
Danell Leyva High Bar
Although this was definitely a bit sloppier than we typically see from Leyva, he once again showed why he has consistently been one of the very best in the world on high bar over the last two years. Spectacular releases, great in-bar skills, innovative combinations, and one of the best double-doubles around.
Paul Ruggeri High Bar
This certainly wasn’t Ruggeri’s day in the all-around, but no matter what he ALWAYS seems to hit high bar. We’ve seen him execute this routine a bit better than this, but a very strong 15.65 placed him third on this event.
Steven Legendre High Bar
Of course we all know Steve as a floor and vault specialist, but he has proven in the last year to be far more than that. A spectacular all-around performance on Day 2 of the Visa Championships last year and stunning routines like this high bar set suggest that Legendre is potentially a multi-event gymnast for Team USA. I don’t care that this routine only scored a 14.0 (8.0 in execution…HUH???) – three different Covacs variations caught perfectly and a triple back dismount are what fans like me absolutely love.