SAN JOSE — Asher Hong was beaming Saturday night as he stood at the top of the podium with a gold medal around his neck.
“It’s awesome,” said Hong, the new U.S. all-around champion. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work… just to get to this point of feeling consistent and comfortable with all of these routines. To see it pay off in the end is very relieving.”
Hong captured his first national all-around title, recording a two-day score of 170.930, a full point better than his Stanford teammate Khoi Young, who finished in second.
Hong led the competition after posting an all-around score of 85.615 out of Day 1. He got off to a slow start Saturday. After hitting his high bar routine, Hong experienced a rough stretch on floor and pommel horse. But he bounced back, using a high-powered vault, strong-and-controlled ring routine as well as a solid parallel bar performance to seal his win.
Hong, who won the U.S. Classic earlier this month, earned the highest score of the competition on vault (30.560) and the second-best score on rings (30.098.)
Meanwhile, Young, who was in fourth after the first day, climbed the standing to take home the silver with a combined score of 169.455. The 20-year-old, who finished second on vault and pommel horse, narrowly edged out the reigning NCAA all-around champion, Fred Richard. The University of Michigan star finished in third with a total score of 169.311.
Two other Stanford gymnasts ended in the top-10, with Colt Walker finishing in fourth place and Riley Loos in 10th. Stanford was well-represented this weekend at SAP Center, with 11 gymnasts competing as well as a rowdy cheering section.
Hong said having the support of his teammates helped him stay locked in.
“When we’re here as a team, we treat it as a team event. We treat it just like another NCAA competition,” said Hong, who represented his Houston club gym at last year’s championships, where he finished third. “When one guy hits, like you saw on vault… that gets us hyped. And hopefully it kind of builds on that.”
Hong’s win marks the third consecutive year a Stanford gymnast took home the men’s U.S. title. Brody Malone won all-around in 2021 and 2022, but is out for the foreseeable future as he recovers from a leg injury that required three surgeries to repair.
Hong, Young, Walker and Taylor Burkhart were among the 10 gymnasts named to the U.S. national team.