West Point, N.Y. -- The University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team completed day one of action at the 2005 NCAA National Championship in West Point, N.Y and qualified for Friday night's team finals by finishing second in Thursday night's second session with a team score of 223.55.
"We had a good start tonight," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "Our guys really focused on performing well at the level we expected them to based on the results from the last three meets. Tommorrow we will put our best team forward, but it's going to be a dogfight. All of the teams have a great chance to win the championship."
The final rotation on the night put the Sooners on the high bar where they posted a 37.1. Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons posted a career-high of 9.45 and Jonathan Horton followed that up with the same score.
Riding the high score from the vault, the Sooners then moved over to the parallel bars and put up a score of 37.1. Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons broke his own school record on the event for the second straight week with a score of 9.575. Josh Gore and Horton added scores of 9.375 and 9.2, respectively.
"It was fun tonight," said Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons. "My routine is starting to get easy for me and so I'm able to focus on the little details. The team was hitting their dismounts and I just wanted to keep that streak going and so I hit mine."
The next rotation saw OU at the vault where the Sooners posted a season high 37.45, topping the 37.4 set against Iowa on March 11. Two freshmen hit career highs on the event, Horton with a 9.5 and Jake Messina with a 9.275. David Henderson, the MPSF vault champion, also posted a score of 9.5.
"I'll take the score on the vault," added Williams. "David Henderson and Jonathan Horton has thier best vaults of the year."
The third event for the Sooners was the rings where Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 2. OU posted a score of 38.3, tying their second-highest team score of the season on the apparatus. Mubarak Abdullah-Simmons started things off for OU by posting a career-high of 9.525, topping his previous high of 9.3 set in the MPSF team finals. Messina then followed Abdullah-Simmons' lead and posted a career high 9.35. The Henderson brothers, David and Jamie, then posted scores of 9.75 and 9.6, respectively.
OU then moved to the pommel horse and showed why they are ranked No. 1 in the nation on the apparatus by posting a solid 37.375. The Sooners were led by Jamie Henderson with a 9.475 and Brian Carr who posted a 9.35, his third highest score of the season.
The Sooners began the meet sitting, as their draw put them in the bye spot for the first rotation. Once the bye ended, OU saw its first action on the floor exercise, where despite a step out-of-bounds, Horton posted a team-high 9.4 and along with David Iammatteo's 9.275, helped lead the team to a score of 36.525.
The team finals will kick off Friday, April 8 at 6 p.m. (CST). The team finals will include the three teams that qualified from the first session, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, and the three teams from session two, Oklahoma, Illinois and California.
Click here for complete schedules and results provided by NCAA sports, the official website for NCAA sports.