WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team garnered a school-record 13 All-America honors to go along with Friday night's team title at the 2005 NCAA Men's Gymnastics National Championship in West Point, N.Y. The 13 honors gives the Oklahoma men's gymnastics program 141 All-America honors in its 39 years of existence.
In Mark Williams' tenure, OU has produced a total of 56 All-Americans and for the second straight year, OU led all NCAA schools in total All-Americans. In 2004, the Sooners produced eight All-Americans to lead the field. In order to receive accolades for All-American status, an individual must finish in the top eight during event finals or the top eight of the all-around during team finals.
The individual event finals came one day after the Sooners took the 2005 NCAA Team National Championship. In Friday night's action, freshmen Jonathan Horton and Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons both earned awards in the all-around competition, placing third and seventh, respectively.
The Sooners were led by senior David Henderson who took the title on the still rings (9.7), along with third place honors on the vault (9.375) and freshman Jonathan Horton who earned All-America status on all four of the five events he competed in to go along with last night's all-around honor.
"This caps off a tremendous weekend, from the event start to the finish," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "I knew the team race would be tight and to come back the next day on the event finals and pick up 13 All-America honors along with David Henderson's championship on the rings. I can't say how proud I am to be the coach of this team."
The night's competition started out with the floor exercise and the pommel horse running simontaniously. Horton was the first Sooner to hit the floor, equaling his previous night's score of 9.475 and finishing fourth on the event. Jacob Messina was the next gymnast for OU and put up a score of 9.287 finishing seventh. David Iammatteo was the final competitor for OU on the floor and had a score of 8.475. Horton and Messina both received All-America honors on the event.
Meanwhile, over on the pommel horse, senior Josh Gore was putting up a score of 9.625 to claim third place on the apparatus behind Luis Vargas of Penn State and Guillermo Alvarez of Minnesota.
Next up the competition moved to the still rings and the vault, where the Sooners had five entrants between the two events. David Henderson got things started off on the vault by posting a score of 9.375 and finishing third. Horton then finished the event by earning a tie for fifth with a score of 9.3.
"I didn't expect to win it all, not in the least bit," said David Henderson. "I thought Nyika White from Temple would win it all and I was kind of hoping he would, but it feels good though to win the title. It has been an emotional three days and it feels good to top it off with a championship."
After David Henderson's score was posted, the other half of the brotherly duo, Jamie Henderson, was busy scoring a 9.562 on the still rings, good enough to tie for fifth. Horton was the next Sooner on the still rings finishing seventh with a score of 9.55. David Henderson then switched from vault to still rings and took the still rings title with his score of 9.7. It was the second straight time and third time in his career that David Henderson received All-America honors on the rings.
"David Henderson has nothing to regret about the end of his college career," added Williams. "To end it with a team title and then an individual title, you can't ask for anymore. I was pretty excited after his rings routine and the title was definitely well deserved."
The final rotation of competition had the gymnasts taking on the parallel bars and the high bar. The Sooners had four entrants in the two events, including Horton who was on both.
Horton started off the rotation on the parallel bars with a score of 9.125. In 2004, Josh Gore finished took third and All-America honors on the apparatus with a score of 9.1. This year, Gore bettered his score with a 9.2 and even though he did not finish as high, still earned All-America honors with an eighth place finish. Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons was the last competitor on the night for the Sooners and garnered a fourth place finish with a 9.45.
Over on the high bar, Horton was the only competitor for OU. After completing a routine that earned him a score of 9.475 and a third place tie with Illinois' Adam Pummer, Horton received a rousing ovation from the Holleder Center crowd.
In 2004, the Sooners had eight All-Americans. It was the most by any school participating at last year's championships. Among the 2004 All-Americans were 2005 team members David Henderson (AA, SR), Jamie Henderson (SR), Josh Gore (PB) and Brian Trause (PB).