NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team got back to its winning ways Friday in Norman, defeating Air Force 218.700-188.000. Oklahoma not only dominated the team competition, but the individual competition as well, sweeping the top spots in every event.
No. 4 Oklahoma outpaced Air Force in each of the six team events and set a school record on the parallel bars with a score of 37.400, topping the previous mark of 37.000 set on April 12, 2003.
“I think as a team we made some improvements tonight,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “We came through on the parallel bars setting a team record and our last sets on the high bar were exciting as well. I think this team is starting to head in the right direction, our level of intensity has improved and the team has bounced back from the Michigan loss.”
Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons set a career record on the parallel bars with a 9.4, while Josh Gore and Jonathan Horton tied their career highs with a 9.4 and a 9.45, respectively.
Individually, the Sooners were led by Horton who finished first on the floor exercise (9.5) and the parallel bars (9.45), second on the high bar (9.45) and third on the pommel horse (8.7). The freshman had a career high on the floor exercise with a 9.5 and tied his career high on the parallel bars with a 9.45. Horton, a 2004 U.S. Senior National Team member, has led the Sooners in each of the first three meets of the season.
“Jonathan Horton really showed some stuff tonight on the parallel bars, floor exercise and high bar,” added Williams. “He is really going to have an exciting career for us.”
As a team, the Sooners also set season highs on floor exercise (36.150) and high bar (37.300).
In preparation for next week’s Winter Cup, Williams rested three of his top gymnasts on Friday to get them ready for the competition that determines the six spots on the 2005 U.S. Senior National Team. Jamie Henderson, Horton and Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons saw action against Air Force but did not compete in the all-around. They will all take part in the 2005 Winter Cup, featuring some of the nation’s top gymnasts, held in Las Vegas, Nev., on Feb. 4-5 at the Sports Center Arena. The first day of competition will feature the all-around finals and the top eight gymnasts on each event will qualify for day two’s action to determine the individual event winners.
“We had a couple of guys back for the first time this season, David Henderson and Kyle Fernandez, and they really gave us some energy,” said Williams. “We kept a couple of our guys out the all-around in preparation for the Winter Cup next weekend, but we expect to have our best lineup on the floor when we compete against Nebraska at the Cox Center.”
Oklahoma will return to action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Feb. 13, at 4 p.m. inside the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.