Feb. 2, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - In its second home meet of the season, the Oklahoma men's gymnastics team swept fifth-ranked Michigan and No. 11 Nebraska by posting the nation's highest score to date, a 218.125. The Sooners came into tonight's meet ranked first in the nation, more than 2.500 points ahead of No. 2 Illinois, and tonight's score should have OU firmly entrenched as the nation's top team.
The Sooners were led by junior Daniel Furney, who won his second all-around title in as many weeks, scoring a season-high 54.025. He finished second on the parallel bars (9.00) and third on both the floor exercise and pommel horse competitions (9.225 and 9.150). Junior Josh Landis finished first on both the floor exercise and the pommel horse, scoring a season-high 9.400 on the floor and a 9.350 on pommels.
Oklahoma placed a gymnast in first place in all but one event, the parallel bars. Brett Covey, currently ranked fourth in the national on rings, won that competition with a 9.500. Jock Stevens came into tonight's meet ranked first in the nation on vault, and he proceeded to score a season-high 9.55 to win the event. Everette Bierker notched a season-high 9.300 to take home gold on the horizontal bar, while teammate Josh Gore scored a career-high 9.150 to place second on high bar.
"If I remember correctly, a score of 218 is close to what it took to win the national championship last year," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "We scored right around there during the preliminaries at NCAAs last year, so needless to say, we are way ahead of schedule right now. I'm so proud of this group. Michigan has always been a formidable opponent, as had Nebraska. As they had their struggles, our guys stayed focused. We have established ourselves as a team to beat and now, we have to stay hungry so that we don't peak before we get to NCAAs. There is still room for improvement."
OU benefitted from a loud crowd of 843 at the Howard McCasland Field House. Tonight's meet was attended by numerous junior-level gymnasts who are in town to compete in a meet at Bart Conner's Gymnastics Academy.
"We had a nice crowd tonight," said Williams, "and we definitely appreciate the support. I'm glad the younger gymnasts were able to come out and support college gymnastics."
The Sooners are next in action Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, as they will compete at the Winter Cup in Las Vegas, Nev. Oklahoma then travels to Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 16 to take on Ohio State, last year's national champion.