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Strother Wins at Gymnastics Event

April 7, 2002

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Clay Strother of Minnesota repeated as champion on the pommel horse and floor exercise, and Stanford had two winners as the NCAA men’s gymnastics championships wrapped up Saturday night.

Marshall Erwin of Stanford won on rings and teammate Dan Gill won the vault. The other winners were Cody Moore of California on parallel bars and Daniel Diaz-Luong of Michigan on the high bar.

Strother, a junior, came in ranked sixth in the floor exercise but scored a 9.612 to beat Kerry Adderly of Ohio State, who had 9.312. Minnesota’s Guillermo Alvarez finished third with 9.287.

``I wish I could have done that Thursday during the team competition, because that floor score would have put us over and got us in,″ Strother said. ``It’s discouraging to look back on that.″

The Gophers finished fourth in team qualifying Thursday, one spot too low to advance to the final, which Oklahoma won Friday night.

On the pommel horse, where Strother is ranked No. 1, he scored 9.775 to win handily over Moore (9.512) and Don Jackson of Iowa (9.500).

``I felt more pressure today,″ Strother said. ``It’s just so much harder out there without the team pushing you. And me being the defending champion on those two events, I had a lot to live up to there, but I thought I handled it well.″

Stanford only finished sixth in the team race, but Erwin and Gill eased that sting a bit with their performances.

Erwin’s routine had a higher degree of difficulty than anyone in the field, and he performed it well enough to score 9.825. Kevin Tan of Penn State finished second, three-tenths of a point behind, and Shannon Carrion of Oklahoma was third.

``I felt good,″ Erwin said. ``It’s really how strong I feel. I can tell on the first cross how strong I am, and I felt pretty strong.″

His teammate, Gill, said he had a poor warmup that left him uneasy heading into the competition. He went fifth in the rotation and posted a 9.487. That was enough to edge Oklahoma’s Jock Stevens, whose strong vault helped lead the Sooners to the team title. Stevens had a 9.437 on Saturday; teammate Daniel Furney finished third with 9.425.

``Three days of competition is a lot,″ Gill said. ``I was a little nervous, but I pulled through and was really happy with how it turned out.″

Moore, going last on the parallel bars, scored 9.125 to bump Oklahoma’s Everett Bierker out of first place. Bierker had 9.0, followed by Diaz-Luong with 8.875.

Diaz-Luong scored 9.612 on the high bar, which was enough to beat Oklahoma’s Quinn Rowell, who had 9.337. Bierker was third with 9.287.

``I wanted to finish my career with a great ending,″ Diaz-Luong said. ``This entire experience has been incredible and I couldn’t be happier.″

All-around winner Raj Bhavsar of Ohio State had a tough night, finishing fifth on the pommel horse and vault, and last on rings after coming off during his routine.

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