US Men – World Championship Selection

The second day of selection camp is upon us. At the end of today, we will know the five-member US men’s team traveling to Doha at the end of October. I’ll be keeping up with the scores at the top of the post here (along with the day 1 numbers) and following along with the action as we go.

DAY 2 FX PH SR VT PB HB AA
Mikulak 14.65 14.9 13.65 14.5 15.15 13.85 86.7
Moldauer 13.95 14.15 13.95 14.65 14.35 12.8 83.85
Yoder 13.25 14.9 14.05 14.05 13.15 13.15 82.5
Modi 14.2 14.55 13.4 14.45 13.65 13.55 83.85
Van Wicklen 13.8 11.95 13.15 14.85 12.95 13.65 80.2
Bower 13.9 14.35 12.7 14.65 13.5 X X
Howard 13.65 X 14.6 14.5 13 12.85 X
Kimble X 15 14.0 X X 13.55 X

DAY 1 FX PH SR VT PB HB AA
Mikulak 14.5 14.9 14.15 14.6 15.35 14.25 87.75
Moldauer 14.6 14.6 14.25 14.7 14.55 13.4 86.1
Yoder 13.75 14.6 13.5 14.15 14.2 13.3 83.5
Modi 14.4 12.8 13.3 14.4 14.4 12.75 82.05
Van Wicklen 13.1 12.95 13.65 15 13.15 12.9 80.75
Bower 14.25 13.7 13 14.35 13.35 X X
Howard 13.65 X 14.55 14.05 12.7 12.3 X
Kimble X 13.5 13.6 X X 12.95 X

Crap, never mind. We’re starting on floor like a real competition today. Anyway, ignore me…

Yesterday, they began on vault because that’s where the US will begin in qualification at worlds. Today, it’s floor. The “I’m 3rd-best” position to lead off in TF is still very much undecided on floor. We know Mikulak and Moldauer. Important event for Modi and Bower today.

FLOOR
Mikulak went up first and was comfortable with mostly sticks after a little hoppiness on his first pass. Good routine. Will score well. His performance today is less important than most because he’s a lock.

Van Wicklen showed strong tumbling early, including a stick on his double front pike 1/2 out first pass. Went OOB on his final pass.

Yoder was pretty deep on his double double tuck with a bounce forward and struggled pulling around his second pass with a large hop to the side. Better control as he went. Won’t be a huge score, but floor isn’t particularly determinative for him.

I love how forlorn Trevor Howard always looks before floor.

Just small hops for Howard on floor until an OOB on his double arabian final pass. Did very well to keep his second pass in bounds.

Eddie Penev is the OOB line judge. With his good arm.

Bower will be pleased with his efficient routine. Just small hops on his front double pike and double double. A few sticks as well, holding very well on penultimate pass. Small hop on back 2.5 final pass.

Modi not bad, a few more hops and a few fewer sticks than Bower, but did not give away anything major on any single pass. The Manna is a bit of a struggle. Ends up a tenth lower than Bower on E but gets him on difficulty.

Moldauer finishes the rotation. A couple hops on early passes, a little less control than we typically expect, sticks through the middle of the set, and then surprises himself on his 3/1 final pass with a semi-awkward bounce up and a larger landing error.

Would say nothing much changed after that rotation. Mikulak, Modi, Moldauer top 3 again. Moldauer still pulls out a top 3 score even with a major error on his final pass.

CHEESEBURGERS ON HORSE

Van Wicklen has an early fall on horse. This is not a particularly significant event for him. If he were to make the team, he’d be unlikely to go on horse in qualification.

Pretty strong hit from Yoder on an essential event for him. Super clean through most of the beginning. One clear leg break in there but he saved his rhythm well. Did what he needed to do on that piece.

Important hit for Kimble as well. Super smooth at the beginning with great height. Some moments of knees toward the end, but small and that was very well done. Oooooh, and he beat Yoder there. VERY interesting.

Bower hits as well. Solves the problem of the leg break from day 1. Got a little sluggish toward the end of the set and lost some height, but overall a comfortable and very usable hit.

No problems for Modi on the dismount today. He works very quickly on horse and has the characteristic moments of a little sloppier form, but this is one of his good pieces, and he showed that today.

Moldauer with gorgeous flare work. A treat to watch. Struggles just a tad to push up his dismount but gets there in the end so shouldn’t be a big deal.

Mikulak hits as well. If anyone tries to continue telling you that the US is weak on horse, point to that rotation. High quality work. And quite significant in Kimble hitting for 15 and placing top 3. He needed that. I’m not sure if that itself does a ton to hurt Yoder’s place as the horse guy on its own because you’d trust Yoder to hit more and the difference was only a tenth (it was a point in Yoder’s favor yesterday), but it sure is interesting. And combined with SR and HB hits could be very interesting.

The concern for Yoder is…do you take a specialist for horse on an event that’s already strong. Are you gaining enough if you trust people like Modi and Kimble to hit? But do you?

We move to the other room for rings now. You know, like you do.

Moldauer’s score was fairly low, so perhaps the dismount muscling up was viewed more harshly than I initially thought.

RINGS

Strong and clean hit from Yoder with a stuck dismount.

Howard does what he needed to do on what is by far his most important event, following with a stuck dismount of his own.

Kimble tried to keep the stick streak going, but ultimately had to step back. Not bad at all from him again, but a couple more indistinct positions in horizontal and handstand.

Bower hits, but struggled on the dismount again today with a clear pike in shape and a large hop forward. Holds mostly clean, just one droop in a straddle planche. Destroyed in the score with a 12.7.

Modi hits, hop back on double double tuck dismount, not as much difficulty, some less flat hold positions, on what is not a super important event for his prospects.

Good clean work from Moldauer with a little hop back on dismount. Nice flat holds, one looked pretty rushed to me. Several tenths back of day 1.

Mikulak with a hit. Not his very best rings routine it looked to me, but also gets 14.65 because Mikulak. Oh phew. It’s actually 13.65. Makes a lot more sense with those final handstands. It was not an ideal set. I just assumed we were on Mikulak crack. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Van Wicklen really struggled to hold a couple straddle positions, which I imagine will hurt the score.

Rings top 3 changes a little from day 1, with Yoder outscoring Moldauer, but by only a tenth. I discussed yesterday that the US is still looking for a third rings routine if Howard doesn’t go. Yoder and Kimble both went the necessary 14 today.

VAULT

Howard with a hop forward on Kas 1.5. Mat tried to run away on him but better controlled than day 1. He does a second vault, a double front, weaker than the first day. Came in short with a hop back.

Bower small hop forward on Kas 1.5. Good. Smaller hop than day 1, scores also continuing to be pretty charitable here. Men’s vault.

Modi also a similar-sized hop forward, not as much distance as Bower. Bower outscores Modi by a couple tenths. First thing going in his favor in the fight today.

Moldauer’s 1.5, almost with a small hop forward. The trend. But you expect his score to be higher because Moldauer form.

Mikulak doesn’t stick his 1.5 like he did yesterday, another small hop forward. Good direction. Not the most distance.

Van Wicklen hits his Dragulescu with a hop back. A little stiffer in landing than yesterday it looked to me but still should be the high vault score of the day, his most important piece of gymnastics.

Yoder has the lowest difficulty vault, Kas 1/1 with a step back. Not a critical event for him.

Bower got the top 3 that he’s been looking for here on vault, but with everyone so close and performing really similar Kas 1.5s, you feel like those vaults won’t be determinative. You could use any of them and it would be fine.

14.850 for Van Wicklen on vault isn’t quite the advantage over the Kas 1.5s that he would have liked today. It was bigger yesterday. He needs HB.

PBARS

Bower collapses a little in a stutz toward the end, muscles it back up but will feel that in the E score. Otherwise looked good. Hop back on double pike.

Akash was pretty sloppy early in his routine with a series of leg breaks and knees form issues. Once he got into the bhavsar and tippelt it was good, but he struggled on his usually solid full in this time, landing short with a large lunge forward. Not the routine we needed to assuage fears.

Gooood routine from Moldauer. His straddle front is so damn high. Sticks double front 1/2 out. Better legs than most, of course, just a couple verticals.

So…we’re not getting scores from this rotation suddenly? EDDIE FIX IT.

Mikulak does Mikulak things, save for one moment of hand adjustment and a hop forward on double front 1/2 dismount. Good one.

Van Wicklen really struggles in handstand on a peach 1/2, well short – double front dismount with large stumble forward.

Yoder sticks a double pike to finish his Pbars routine. A few hesitations in there, a hand travel on a very difficult 1.5 turn, a short handstand on a stutz, some arches, but an excellent dismount.

Howard has some handstand trouble in his routine, especially on his initial peach. double front dismount with larger hop back.

Clench everything. We’re going to high bar.

Looks like Modi still snatched a top 3 on PBars even with a semi-disastrous routine. That’s important for him.

HIGH BAR

Modi hits a really solid routine for him, including a stuck double double lay, basically as clean as he can do. THere are still legs and knees and late pirouettes, so interested to see what they do with the E score here. 13.55, much improved, but not exactly what you’d call a great score.

Moldauer was really late on a Tak 1/2, and a 1.5, hop forward on DLO 1/1 dismount, things to take.

Mikulak falls again. This time on a layout Tkatchev. Two misses on HB in two days. It won’t matter for selection. But also sigh. Stuck a double double layout.

A pretty good hit for Van Wicklen. Much better than day 1, didn’t go for the skill he struggled with then. Stuck dismount, some normal late positions, but no major botching. 13.65. Higher than Modi by a tenth.

Yoder hit Kolman and Kovacs, late on some pirouettes, a little slower in swing than other but no major issues – sticks double double layout. Not a terrible day from Yoder, but enough issues that you feel like he might have opened the door. A lot will depend on Kimble.

Solid releases from Howard today. Not his event, but efficient work.

We’re finishing with perhaps the most important routine, Kimble on HB. Liukin is hit (crazy hit hit) really has to muscle out of layout tkatchev 1/2 – he’s staying on the bar but definitely opening the door for an E score like yesterday’s. Holds stick on DLO 1/1 dismount.

So…uh…there we are?

Your worlds team is going to be…pssssssssssssssh?

-Modi had another Modi day. But it was kind of…good enough. Still several top-3 placements and tied Moldauer in the AA. It had its issues, but to me he clinched himself a spot with today’s showing. Even though PB and HB weren’t great, within the field they were.
-Kimble helped himself, but enough? He did place top-3 on all of his events after 0 top-3s on the first day.
-Yoder looked a little more borderline. If you believe in Kimble Day 2, you could make the argument for him supplanting Yoder.
-You can still make an argument for Van Wicklen. He went top 3 on his two important events. Picking the five who did AA here may be your easiest team to pick. It makes sense.
-But Howard’s rings score is still legit useful. If you use the average of the two days, Howard would still be on your highest-scoring team because of that rings. Ahead of Van Wicklen or Kimble.

The bottom line is we’re going to be able to make an argument for and be furious about any possible team named.

And the team!

It is the top 5 AA. Mikulak, Moldauer, Modi, Yoder, Van Wicklen. Bower is the traveling alternate, which makes sense because he’s the best utility man of the bunch and can fill in the most places.

That means Kimble and Howard are the ones who will stay home. Kimble’s day 2 scores started to make an argument, but he didn’t have the day 1 scores or nationals scores to lean on, so you understand why that would have been viewed as an insane risk to take him. Howard was always a longshot as a last minute fill-in, but he did his job to get a rings score on an event where the US will be fairly weak in Doha. Van Wicklen’s day 2 HB score gave him two events (VT, HB) to Howard’s one, which I think made the difference.

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9 thoughts on “US Men – World Championship Selection”

  1. Okay, I’m slowly learning the subtleties of men’s vault, and I’m noticing a lot of Kas 1.5’s. Is the Kas 1.5 the DTY of the men’s side?

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  2. This team selection does not seem clear cut at all. I agree that Modi is likely on the team. So you have two spots left. You would never take both Yoder and Kimble, so pick one of those two. Which one though? Yoder is safer on PH, but would he really have a second event in a TF’s?

    Then pick one between Van Wicklen and Howard. Yes, Howard on the team puts a bigger score advantage just from rings, but Van Wicklen’s HB *could* compensate for that on top of vault. But would you want to trust Van Wicklen in a team final on HB?

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  3. Would rather see Bower than Van Wicklyn or Modi. Bower gives off the sense he would be calm and consistent no matter what, whereas everybody else seems like a tossup as to whether they’ll have a good or bad day. I think they might end up missing that Bower-quality at Worlds.
    But as long as the scoring placements were actually accurate, it’s hard to get furious about any combination of team members chosen precisely because there’s so many reasonable combinations to be made. Unless the judges were instructed to overscore/underscore anyone that we don’t know about, nothing about the team picked comes off as unfair. So congrats and good luck to the team.

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  4. Fair team. Agree with Spencer that Van W’s HB was what got him the spot. I was kind of rooting for Howard TBH, because he seemed consistent and was adding more to the team total with his SR score than Van W was on VT (and Howard himself had a usable VT), but I mean… the USA does not want to embarass itself in TF with 12s on HB. As for Kimble, I’m sure he’ll be back next year, which is more important anyway in the Olympic cycle.

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