NORMAN, Okla. The No. 3 University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team topped No. 7 Iowa 223.575-219.025 on senior night, Friday in Norman, Okla. The Sooners led throughout the meet winning every event except for the high bar. Following a ceremony to recognize OU’s seven seniors, who have never lost a home meet in their careers, OU set season highs on the floor exercise, pommel horse and still rings.
OU’s team score of 223.575 was its second highest this season, behind the Feb. 13 score of 224.050 against Nebraska and the sixth highest in NCAA history, under the current scoring system.
“It was special tonight to able to recognize our seven seniors,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “It felt good to have those guys enjoy themselves. As for the win, we took control early and never quit. We didn’t have any bad events and we were steady all the way through, but we still have room to get better.”
Individually the Sooners were led by freshman Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons, who set career highs on three of the four events he competed in, including a new school record of 9.525 on the parallel bars. The previous record of 9.5 was held by former OU gymnast Daniel Furney and current OU gymnast Josh Gore. Abdullah-Simmons finished first on the parallel bars and third on the still rings (9.4) and high bar (9.35).
“Taqiy was big for us tonight,” added Williams. “His parallel bar effort was tremendous and his performance on the rings was the best he’s had since he has been here.”
Abdullah-Simmons wasn’t the only Sooner breaking records, as fellow freshman Jonathan Horton set an OU individual record on the floor exercise by scoring a 9.825. Horton had previously tied the old record of 9.75, held by former OU gymnast Jock Stevens, before breaking it Friday. Horton took first on the floor and rings (9.65), second on the vault (9.5) and third on the parallel bars (9.35).
OU ends the regular season with an 8-1 mark, including another undefeated season at home. The Sooners have rattled off 34 straight victories at home with the last defeat coming during the 2000 season to Ohio State (Jan. 28).
Next up for the Sooners is the MPSF championships, which will be hosted by Oklahoma inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Team competition will begin Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. (CST) and will be followed by the individual competition on Saturday, March 26 at 1 p.m.