ANAHEIM – Gymnast Yul Moldauer of the University of Oklahoma takes exactly 10 deep breaths, no more, no less, a few minutes before every routine.
Then he takes three more deep breaths seconds before taking on the apparatus.
“It just calms me down makes me feel rested for my routine,” Moldauer said.
The calming ritual works more often than not and it certainly worked for Moldauer on Saturday, when he finished first in the all-around competition at the P&G Gymnastics Championships at Honda Center in Anaheim with a score of 171.600.
Moldauer, who is the reigning 2017 NCAA champion in the floor exercise and rings and silver-medalist in all-around and parallel bars, was in first heading into Saturday’s competition and held off challengers throughout all six rotations.
“I always like to say we are all at zero coming into a new competition day,” Moldauer said. “I think looking around at today’s competition, everyone did a really good job. There were so many young guys proving themselves tonight.”
Allan Bower, Moldauer’s Oklahoma teammate, finished second with a score of 170.600.
Donnell Whittenburg of U.S.O.T.C Gymnastics took third with 169.700.
Moldauer also finished in a first-place tie in the floor exercise with Eddie Penev of. U.S.O.T.C. Gymnastics.
Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak of Newport Beach was one of the crowd favorites and didn’t disappoint.
Having just returned to competition from an achilles injury, the Corona Del Mar graduate was competing for only the second time since the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Even though Mikulak of U.S.O.T.C. competed in just two events – the high bar and pommel horse – after dropping out of the all-around on Thursday, he made both count.
Mikulak took second in the pommel and third in high bar.
Mikulak, who finished fourth in the high bar and seventh in the all-around at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro drew applause when has name was announced and then with each successful movement on the apparatus.
But after releasing the bar and going airborne, Mikulak wasn’t able to re-grasp the bar and landed flat on his face.
Mikulak still came away with a score of 13.80 because of the difficulty of his routine.
“It’s the newest skill I put into my routine,” Mikulak said of the mishap. “I was going 100 percent. I just pushed back a little too late and made a technical error. It happens … still getting third with a fall … I’m happy to have that.”
A four-time reigning U.S. all-around champion, Mikulak injured his left Achilles tendon at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas in February.
In the Junior competition, 17-18 division, in the all-around, Brody Malone, Cedartown, Ga. finished first 162.100. Vitaliy Guimaraes of Arvada, Colo. was second (158.150) and Max Andryushchenko, Arlington Heights Ill took third 153.700.
Daniel Yoon of Huntington Beach finished ninth 149.500.
On Sunday, the focus will be back on the women, with Ragan Smith of Lewisville, TX in first place in the all-around with 57.400. Riley McCusker of Brielle, NJ is second (56.100) and Jordan Chiles of Vancouver WA is third (55.850).
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