No. 1 Sooners Back on the Road to Face Iowa
No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 9 Iowa
NORMAN— The No. 1 Oklahoma men's gymnastics team travels to Iowa City, Iowa, Saturday for a top-10 matchup against No. 9 Iowa inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 2 p.m. CT. The Sooners continue their pursuit for their fifth national title in a row, 13th overall, and extending their streak of 107 straight victories.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
Oklahoma (10-0) continues its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday as the No. 1 Sooners travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face the ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 2 p.m. CT. In his 20th season at the helm of OU men’s gymnastics, head coach Mark Williams and his team are aiming at an NCAA men’s gym record 13th national title in 2019. The team will also look to extend its NCAA-best streak of 107 straight victories in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes hold the No. 9 spot in both the Road to Nationals rankings and College Gymnastics Association coaches poll heading into the meet.
Oklahoma made more history in 2018, becoming just the third men's gymnastics program since 1938 to win four straight national titles. The Sooners' perfect 21-0 2018 campaign marked 97 straight wins for Williams and his program. OU has claimed 12 all-time NCAA team titles and nine under Williams. OU finished with five All-Americans who notched a total of 11 honors last season.
LAST TIME OUT
Oklahoma began its two-meet road swing with a decisive victory over No. 6 Illinois and No.
7 Nebraska last Saturday in Lincoln, Neb., by a count of 411.300 to 401.250 (NU) and 399.150 (UI). The Sooners notched five of six event titles as a team and claimed or won a share of four of six individual crowns. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer won two events (FX, PB) en route to his fifth and sixth event titles on the season. Moldauer put up the highest floor exercise score of the NCAA season with a 14.950 against the Huskers and Fighting Illini. Junior Tanner Justus recorded his second consecutive vault title with a 14.600 tally. Senior co-captain Genki Suzuki took home a share of the high bar crown, registering a 13.550. Oklahoma was strong on vault once again, with all six Sooners eclipsing the 14.000 mark. The Sooners also put up a season-best on parallel bars, scoring 69.850.
Despite losing five-time All-America honoree Hunter Justus, OU returns a wealth of experience in 2019. Senior Yul Moldauer is looking to cap a historic collegiate career, coming off a junior season in which he earned four individual national titles (AA, FX, VT, PB) in addition to All- America nods on floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and all-around. Fellow senior Levi Anderson returns in 2019 after earning All-America honors on both high bar and all- around in 2018. Other key returners are senior Genki Suzuki, an All-American on pommel horse last season, and junior Tanner Justus, a vault All-American in 2018.
The Sooners have won or finished first in every meet in which they have competed since placing second at the 2014 NCAA Team Finals. In that span they have racked up 107 victories, the most consecutive wins in program history, topping the 52 straight victories from 2002 to 2004. The streak is also the current longest in any Division I NCAA sport.
The Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team held steady at No. 1 in this week’s Road to Nationals rankings after tallying a 411.300 in Lincoln, Neb., last weekend. OU holds the top team average (416.063) along with the top spots on floor exercise (70.925), still rings (69.813), vault (72.488) and high bar (67.700). The team ranks second on the other two events, with a 66.338 average on pommel horse and 68.800 parallel bars average.
Individually, senior co-captain Genki Suzuki holds the top spot in the all-around ranks for the third consecutive week after his 83.600 performance Jan. 26 versus Air Force and Arizona State. Two other Sooners occupy top-five spots in the AA ranks with fellow senior co-captain Levi Anderson at second (83.150) and junior Tanner Justus at fifth (82.250).
On floor exercise, Sooners hold two of the top three national spots. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer moved up to first after notching the floor title this weekend with his NCAA season-best 14.950. Sophomore Gage Dyer sits third with his 14.525 average and freshman Vitaliy Guimares ranks seventh (14.300).
Moldauer (13.783) ranks sixth in the pommel horse standings after his team-leading 13.500 set last weekend. Three of the top 10 individual spots on still rings belong to OU gymnasts. Moldauer (14.600) and seniors Peter Daggett (14.088) and Jake Maloley (14.087) rank in respective spots of second, eighth and ninth.
On vault, the Sooners hold five of the top 10 individual spots. Anderson and fellow senior
Matt Wenske (14.600) are tied for fourth, while Guimaraes holds eighth, averaging 14.525. Justus (14.500) moved up a spot to ninth after claiming his second consecutive vault title last Saturday. Dyer sits 10th with his 14.488 average.
Moldauer (14.850) is atop the parallel bars ranks after a second-straight title on the event against the Huskers and Illini. The defending national champ on P-bars notched a 14.700 in the anchor spot for the Sooners, a score that ranks second in the country behind his own 15.000 against Ohio State Jan. 26. Suzuki ranks 10th on parallel bars with an average of 13.925 following a 14.350 set last weekend. Three Sooners hold top-10 places on high bar, led by Anderson (13.925) in second. Dyer (13.662) and sophomore Alexei Vernyi (13.550) rank fifth and seventh, respectively. Suzuki (13.463) sits just outside the top 10 with an 11th place standing after claiming a share of the HB title last Saturday with a 13.550 set.
THE CHAMP IS BACK
Senior Yul Moldauer has made his mark on the OU record books and will continue his historic collegiate career on Saturday when the Sooners visit Iowa City, Iowa. Moldauer is a seven-time individual national champion and became just the third men's gymnast ever to win four individual national titles in one year in 2018. Last season marked Moldauer's second all-around national title after claiming the crown his freshman season in 2016. His seven titles rank first all-time at OU ahead of Steven Legendre (6) and Olympians Jonathan Horton (6) and Jake Dalton (4).
The Sooners welcome a trio of talented freshmen for 2019 in Spencer Goodell, Vitaliy Guimaraes and Morgan Seyler. Goodell was named a U.S. Junior Men's National Team member after taking third in the junior elite division all-around at the 2018 U.S. Championships. Additionally, Goodell tied for first on still rings and placed second on vault. Guimaraes, a product of 5280 Gymnastics in Colorado, finished just behind Goodell in the all-around at the U.S. Championships, claiming fourth, but took home junior national titles on floor exercise and vault. Seyler, whose parents were both gymnasts at OU, finished seventh in the all-around in the junior elite division at the 2017 P&G Championships.
Numerous Oklahoma gymnasts had a busy offseason competing in national and international competitions. Five of the 12 U.S. Senior Men's National Team members are current or former Sooners. Seniors Yul Moldauer and Genki Suzuki, 2017 graduates Colin Van Wicklen and Allan Bower and 2016 alum Kanji Oyama represent OU on Team USA. Moldauer helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. It was the best finish for a U.S. men's team at Worlds since taking bronze in 2014. Moldauer took 12th in the all-around at the championships and finished just shy of a medal on floor exercise, placing fourth. Moldauer was joined in Doha by Van Wicklen and Bower.
Suzuki, just months after attaining his U.S. citizenship, made the men's national squad and was assigned to the 2018 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru. Suzuki claimed gold on pommel horse at the meet and helped Team USA claim gold as a team. He was accompanied in Peru by Oyama and Sooners' freshman and junior national team member Spencer Goodell.
In August 2018, ten current or former Sooners competed at the U.S. Championships in Boston. Moldauer, Suzuki, Van Wicklen, Bower, and Oyama all placed in the top ten of the all-around competition. Junior Tanner Justus and sophomores Alexei Vernyi and Gage Dyer took 16th, 18th and 20th, respectively. Freshmen Goodell and Vitaliy Guimaraes competed in the junior division U.S. Championships, placing third and fourth, respectively in the all-around.
Oklahoma gymnasts take a break from NCAA action to compete at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 15-17. A total of 13 current, former or future Sooners will be competing at the USA Gymnastics meet.
MEET TIME MOVED
The start time of Oklahoma’s next home meet, Feb. 23, against Michigan has been changed from 7 p.m. CT to 2:15 p.m. due to travel reasons for the Wolverines. The meet will remain at McCasland Field House in Norman and will serve as Cleveland Elementary Day. All Cleveland Elementary School students in Norman will receive free admission and T-shirts.
Other promotions include free national championship T-shirts for the first 250 fans in attendance, the KidsZone supervised gymnastics play area and post-meet autographs with the team. Fans are encouraged to wear white as the OU team pushes to “white out” the McCasland Field House stands. Tickets can be found here.
Due to the time change, the matchup will no longer be broadcast live on Fox Sports Oklahoma, but will be available via live stream on SoonerSports.TV. A tape-delayed telecast of the meet will air at the original start time of 7 p.m. CT on FSOK.
Season tickets for all regular-season home meets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the University of Oklahoma Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting SoonerSports.com/tickets.