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NCAA Men’s Gymnastics : Kirksey Holds Off Two Challengers to Win All-Around

Associated Press

Nebraska’s Patrick Kirksey held his optional lead through Saturday’s compulsories to win the men’s National Collegiate Athletic Assn. all-around gymnastics title.

Kirksey scored 112.60 points to 111.65 for runner-up Mike Racanelli of Ohio State and 111.50 for third-place David St. Pierre of UCLA.

Kirksey led Racanelli and St. Pierre by 0.2 and 0.35 of a point, respectively, after Thursday night’s optional round. The top 24 competitors advanced from those preliminaries to Saturday’s all-around finals.

Houston Baptist’s Alfonzo Rodriguez, the nation’s top-ranked all-around gymnast this season and second at the NCAA a year ago, and his teammate Miguel Rubio, the defending NCAA all-around champion, elected to withdraw from the all-around competition Saturday afternoon because of injury.

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Rubio had been fourth and Rodriguez sixth in the all-around after the optionals but both elected to forgo the six-event all-around to concentrate on their runs at individual titles.

Midway through the all-around rotations Saturday afternoon Nebraska’s Mark Warburton and Bob Stelter moved into third and fourth ahead of St. Pierre after St. Pierre scored an 8.05 on the rings. But Warburton failed to score in the vault and Stelter slipped to a fourth-place finish after an 8.95 on the parallel bars.

Kirksey turned in a 9.50 on the floor exercise, 9.15 on the rings, 9.6 on the vault, 9.05 on the parallel bars, 9.15 on the pommel horse and 8.65 on the high bar to complete his compulsory round Saturday. He had a 1.2-point lead over Racanelli heading into their final event--the high bar.

Kirksey had fallen in his high bar routine in Friday night’s team final, in which Nebraska finished second to Illinois. He had a break in the routine again Saturday but Racanelli was unable to take advantage of it when he turned in an 8.9.

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Racanelli, the nation’s second-ranked all-around competitor this season, had an 8.55 on the pommel horse, an 8.85 on the parallel bars, a 9.0 on the rings, 9.3 on the vault and 9.6 on the floor exercise.


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