The No. 3 Sooners return to action this Friday, March 11, when they host No. 7 Iowa at the Lloyd Noble Center at 7 p.m. (CST). The Sooners come into Friday's matchup riding a five-meet winning streak, including last week's win (222.825-222.675) over No. 1 Ohio State.
The meet will be the final home meet for seven Sooners. The group will be recognized in a ceremony prior to the start of the meet.
Despite the win over the top-ranked Buckeyes, Oklahoma remains ranked No. 3 in this week's the national rankings with a three score average of 222.350.
Iowa comes into the meet ranked seventh, after dropping a spot from last week's rankings. The Hawkeyes three score average currently stands at 217.883. In their last action, the Hawkeyes set the Iowa school record for team score with a 219.025 in a triangular with No. 2 Illinois and a Japanese exhibition team. The Hawkeyes also posted a school record on the rings with a 37.400.
"Since the Iowa meet is our senior day, we plan to showcase these seven individuals," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "It will be the seniors' last home meet, so they will be competing and trying to maintain their streak of never losing a regular season home meet during their career at OU."
The Hawkeyes are led by junior Michael Reavis and senior Linas Gaveika. Reavis is ranked No. 3 on the floor exercise, tied for fourth on vault, fifth in the all-around and tied for sixth on the high bar. Reavis is coming off a record setting performance against Illinois, in which he scored a school record 54.65 in the all-around. Gaveika is tied for ninth on the high bar.
Iowa is coached by Tom Dunn, who is in his 25th year at the helm. Dunn has led the Hawkeyes to 17 top-ten finishes in the NCAA Championships, and has competed at the title meet in 17 of the past 21 seasons.
The Sooners will begin the 2005 post-season in the MPSF Championships hosted by Oklahoma inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Team competition will begin Friday, March 25 at 7 p.m. and will be followed by the individual competition on Saturday, March 26 at 1 p.m.
Ohio State Recap
The No. 3 University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics topped No. 1 Ohio State 222.825-222.675, Saturday in Norman, Okla. The Sooners went into the final event down by two points, but rallied on the high bar with a score of 37.950 while Ohio State faltered on the parallel bars.
The Sooners won on both the still rings and the parallel bars and tied on the high bar. OU set a season high on the vault with a score of 36.800. Individually, the Sooners had a first place finisher on every event except for the high bar.
OU was led by freshman Jonathan Horton who tied the school record on the floor exercise (9.75) with former OU gymnast Jock Stevens. Horton finished first on the floor exercise, still rings (9.825) and in the all-around (56.275). The freshman’s score in the all-around was an individual team season high.
“We are very proud to knock off the number one team in the nation,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “I was proud of the way our guys never gave up. We were down early, but we hung in there until the end. We put the pressure on Ohio State and had a great high bar routine. Being down two points going into the final event, I though we were done, but we were able to pull off the victory.
“We started slow on the first couple of events and rebounded nicely. Right now we are not national champion caliber on the first three events (floor, pommel horse and rings). We have our concerns, but we’ll take the win and improve off it. We have time to get better and get where we need to be.”
Other outstanding performers included the Henderson brothers, senior David and junior Jamie. David took first on the vault (9.45) and second on the rings (9.725), both season highs. Jamie won on the pommel horse and finished third on the high bar with a score of 9.65 in both events, also both season highs.
“Jamie Henderson was great tonight, he really came through on the high bar,” added Williams. “Jonathan Horton had another solid performance tonight. His scores and his all-around performance were huge for the team.”
Revisiting Iowa 2004
The Sooners and the Hawkeyes last met up with each other on Jan. 31, 2004, in Iowa City, Iowa. The then-No. 4 Sooners defeated the Hawkeyes for the second time in the 2004 season with a score of 217.500.
The previous meeting in 2004 was at the Rocky Mountain Open in Colorado Springs, Colo. It was there that the Sooners finished first with a score of 211.400 ahead of Iowa (211.300), Nebraska (204.825) and Air Force (192.850).
Since arriving this season, freshman Jonathan Horton has consistently been at the top of the standings for the Sooners. In his first meet as a Sooner, the Rocky Mountain Open, Horton started out strong by winning the floor exercise (9.400) and the parallel bars (9.050).
Since then Horton has not looked back, picking up 11 first-place finishes, along with tying former OU gymnast Jock Steven's school record on the floor exercise with a 9.750 in the win over Ohio State. Horton was also named to the 2005 U.S. Senior National Team after his performance at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas, Nev.
Friday's meet against Iowa will mark the final meet for seven OU seniors. Mubarak Abdullah-Simmons, Kyle Fernandez, Michael Gehart, Josh Gore, David Henderson, David Iammatteo and Brian Trause will all say goodbye to Lloyd Noble one last time. The group has been a part of three conference championships, two national runner-up finishes and two national championships. The group has not lost a regular-season home meet during their careers.
"It has been a pretty amazing run with these guys," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "These guys were getting here when I was just getting started as a head coach, so you can say that they helped build the program. Hopefully my teachings have prepared them for life beyond gymnastics and the lessons they have learned here carry over with them to their next opportunity. I know they will go into life with confidence and will be successful."