NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 2 University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics
team returned home in stylish fashion with a 443.350-435.450 victory over No.
6 Minnesota at McCasland Field House Saturday night. OU's total score was its
highest of the season, and the Sooners tied or matched ten individual career
Led by a season-high 76.200 on still rings and 73.750 on pommel horse, the Sooners
extended their regular season home winning streak to 20 meets. OU's ring score
was the highest mark of the season for any team on the event, and the top score
of the season for Oklahoma.
In front of an opening-night crowd of 935, the Sooners used a strong first-three
events to propel them to the victory. OU gymnasts won four of the six event
titles and Oklahoma claimed victories in all but one event as a team.
"The first half of the meet, we were doing great," head coach Mark
Williams said. "I was really pleased with the pommel horse, we were doing
awesome. The last three events were a little disappointing, a few breaks, didn't
quite get it all together. But we still ended up with our high score for the
season, and I'm really pleased with that, and happy with the crowd and the presentation
of the competition being on television. So overall I'm really pleased with the
team's effort tonight."
The Sooners opened the meet on floor, where they posted a 75.650. OU was led
Alec Robin and Raymond White, who each scored a 15.500. Robin's score was a
career high, while White matched his career high. Minnesota opened the meet
with a 70.950 on pommel horse, and Oklahoma had a lead after the first rotation
that they would never give up.
Oklahoma continued its strong start with a 73.75 on pommel horse, a season high.
Michael Reid (15.100) and Robin (14.750) both posted career highs as OU found
itself with a 3.700 point lead after two events.
The highlight of the night for OU was rings, where the Sooners' 73.750 gave
them a 225.600-218.700 lead through the first three rotations. In addition to
Squires, William Clement notched a career-high 14.500 while Chris Stehl's 15.500
was a season high.
"That's huge," Williams said of Squires' score. "That's one of the
highest scores out there on any event this year. It's his best routine by far
this year, and bodes well for the rest of the season. I said from the beginning
I think he's going to be an All-American and that jumps him right in the middle
The Sooners' 71.950 on vault was a season low, but they maintained their lead
over the Golden Gophers. No OU gymnast scored higher than a 14.750, and it was
just one of two events where Minnesota claimed an individual event title.
On parallel bars, Danny Berardini's career high 15.350 led OU to a 72.200 on
their next-to-last event.
With a 369.750-364.050 lead heading into high bar, OU's final event, Oklahoma
recorded a season high 73.600 to seal the home-opening victory. Three Sooners
scored career highs, led by Berardini's 15.050. Robin (14.850) and Stanton Rehkemper
(14.800) also posted career bests.
The Sooners are home again next weekend against conference foe Air Force at
7 p.m. on Feb. 23. Ticket information and a list of promotions for all home
meets at the OU Field House can be found at here.
"The Air Force Academy is coming in, and it's a special meet with the Cleveland
Elementary night, Williams said. "We'll have a lot of kids here that the
guys work with over at the school. We want it to be just as entertaining as
tonight, but even more so with all the kids, and maybe be able to finish the
meet up a little stronger."
Oklahoma and Cleveland Elementary School have partnered for many years. The
Sooners work with the young students in the classroom, in the community and
on the playground.
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