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Malone wins at U.S. Championships, six Cardinal named to national gymnastics team

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Junior Brody Malone has not lost his momentum since helping to lead Stanford men’s gymnastics to its seventh NCAA championship two months ago. After hitting 11-for-12 events throughout the two-day U.S. Gymnastics Championships, Malone finished atop the podium for senior all-around with a combined total of 170.700 points — 2.750 points above former Oklahoma gymnast and 2017 U.S. all-around champion Yul Moldauer.

Rounding out the top three was six-time all-around champion Sam Mikulak with 167.400 points. In addition to Malone, Moldauer and Mikulak, nine other gymnasts were named to the 2021 U.S. National Team at this meet, including two current Cardinal in junior Ian Gunther and sophomore Brandon Briones, as well as two former Cardinal in Akash Modi ’17 and Eddie Penev ’13. 

Sophomore Riley Loos also booked his spot on the national team, but was competing at the Pan American Championships.

Despite the absence of Loos, Stanford was well-represented at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships with 12 past, present and future Cardinal competing in the two-day competition.

Malone dominated the first night of competition, earning scores of 13.950 or above on all six events. His stuck vault scored him a 14.700, the highest of the night. A two-time NCAA high bar champion, Malone scored a solid 14.450 en route to an 86.250, the highest all-around score between the two nights.

Malone struggled to begin the second night of competition as his arms gave out on one of the skills on parallel bars, which earned him a score of 12.700. However, he recovered nicely on one of his strongest events, the high bar, when he scored 15.050. That score would have claimed the gold medal at the 2019 World Championships.

In addition to the all-around, Malone finished atop the podium on the vault with a combined score of 29.000. He also earned two runner-up finishes on the still rings and high bar.

After securing his first senior all-around title with a clean vault, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin said of Malone on NBCSN, “I really can’t see an Olympic team at this point without him on it.”

Briones earned four top-five finishes at the end of the meet en route to finishing just off the podium in the all-around. Gunther’s strong performances on the parallel bars and high bar propelled him to his first-ever national team at either the junior or senior level.

Penev claimed top honors on the floor exercise and shared a tie for second place on the vault behind Malone. Modi’s consistency across the six events earned him a sixth-place finish in the all-around.

After finishing the second day of competition, Malone spoke with NBC’s Andrea Joyce about his breakout win.

“I am just really grateful for everyone that has helped me get to this point,” he said. “Tonight, it started a little rough with the parallel bars, but I think it was the kick in the butt to get my mind back on track.”

On June 24, the 17 gymnasts of Team USA will head to St. Louis, Mo. to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Following another two-day competition, four members will then be selected to represent Team USA in Tokyo, and one additional gymnast will be selected as an individual specialist.

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Jordan John Lee ’22 is a Desk Editor for the Sports section and a contributing writer for the News section of The Daily, double majoring in Biology and Classics. Catch him drinking coffee or boba, not biking around campus, or watching recaps of iconic tennis matches. Contact him at jjlee 'at' stanforddaily.com.