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Specialists Dominate NCAA Individual Events

April 17, 1988|RICHARD HOFFER

LINCOLN, Neb. — The individual titles in the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. men's gymnastics championships went to specialists, as usual, some of them the same ones who won last year. The only all-arounders to win were Houston Baptist's Miguel Rubio on high bar and Nebraska's Kevin Davis on parallel bars.

In floor exercise, Temple senior Chris Wyatt beat the defending champion, New Mexico's Chad Fox, scoring a 9.90. Fox and Chris McKee of Illinois scored a 9.85. But you didn't need a score to separate them. Immediately after his performance, Fox walked from the arena floor, not even looking at the judges' scores.

UCLA's David St. Pierre, one of four Bruins who qualified for the individual championships, placed sixth in floor with a 9.55.

In vaulting, Fox turned it around, scoring a 9.7125 to Wyatt's 9.6750. The championship was Fox's third in the event, giving the junior an opportunity for four. "It doesn't make up for the floor exercise," said Fox.

In rings, New Mexico's Paul O'Neill, another specialist, won for the second consecutive year, scoring a 9.80 to beat Stanford's Mike Matzek (9.775) and Rubio (9.750). O'Neil won this title last year when he was Rubio's teammate at Houston Baptist.

In pommel horse, Rodriguez, one of the few all-arounders to win an individual event, scored a 9.80 on pommel horse to tie for first with Penn State's Mark Sohn. Sohn, a freshman, doesn't compete in any other event. Slimmer and taller than most gymnasts, he seems built only to scissor his way across the pommel horse. Still, he said he wasn't comfortable, saying he felt sick just before he began his set.

UCLA's Curtis Holdsworth scored a 9.70 to finish sixth in the event. Pommel horse phenom Tony Pineda of UCLA slipped off the horse and finished 10th with a 9.00.

In the parallel bars, Nebraska's Davis, who had finished third in the all-around earlier in the day, retained his title, scoring a 9.90. His teammate, Mark Warburton, finished second with a 9.80. Rubio was third and Bill Barham of Cal State Fullerton fifth.

In the high bar, Rubio, who had edged Rodriguez for the all-around title earlier in the day, was one of only three gymnasts to throw a triple dismount and he was rewarded for it with a 9.95 and the championship. Iowa's Jeff Dow was second with a 9.90. UCLA's David Moriel, Nebraska's Tom Schlesinger and Rodriguez, who also dismounted with a triple, tied for third with 9.875.

Cal State Fullerton's Amir Kadury, who also dismounted with a triple, had a 9.80 for sixth.

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