NORMAN, Okla.-- The University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team, ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches’ poll, started the 2005 season with the annual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday night. The meet was won by the Red Team and was held at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center on the Oklahoma campus in front of strong showing of fans.
"The guys hit 67 percent of the routines that were performed tonight. That’s a pretty good percentage for this time of year,” said Oklahoma head coach Mark Williams. “I’m happy with the guys attitude, effort and general presentation for this early in the season. I think we have the potential to be a very good team if we continue on this track. We have some work to do before the regular season begins on Jan. 14 at the Rocky Mountain Open, but I think we’ll go into the Christmas break feeling pretty good about where we are as a team."
The Red Team, captained by senior Michael Gehart, won the scrimmage over the White Team led by OU's other senior captain, David Henderson. Despite the lower team score in the meet, the White Team won four of the six individual events. Senior Josh Gore captured two of those victories on the pommel horse and parallel bars, an event he won All-America honors on last season. Also enjoying first-place honors for the White Team included D. Henderson (vault) and freshman Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons (high bar). Abdullah-Simmons competed despite suffering an ankle injury last weekend, where he was scheduled to take the floor but did not compete at the Chunichi Cup in Japan.
Freshman Jonathan Horton, who was coming off a successful weekend in Venezuela at the Pan America Championships, continued his solid performances by winning the floor exercise for the Red Team. Junior Jamie Henderson won the Red's other event, the still rings, an event Henderson has been honored as an All-American for the past two seasons at OU.
Junior James Myers (Red Team) was one of several Sooners that competed strongly in the scrimmage according to coach Williams and had this to say about the scrimmage.
"The team opened with a better overall performance compared to last year’s Red-White meet," said Myers. "Everyone supported each other through the competition and we had a good amount of fans watching too. It was nice to win as a member of the Red team, but the strength of our program is when when we are united for a common goal of working towards conference and national titles. This scrimmage was definitely a good beginning for us in preparation of the 2005 season."
The No. 1 Sooners will open up the 2005 season with the Rocky Mountain Open in Colorado Springs, Colo., on January 14 and 15. OU will compete in its first home meet on Jan. 28 when the Air Force Academy comes to the Lloyd Noble Center.
FX- Jonathan Horton