April 30, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - Five gymnasts from the Oklahoma men's gymnastics team, which won the 2002 NCAA championship earlier this month in Norman, were named to the Academic All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation team. Seniors Ryan Hillyer, David Johnston and Jim Lovelady and juniors Brett Covey and Daniel Furney recorded at least a 3.00 grade point average to earn the honor.

"I'm extremely proud to see that my athletes have not only done well athletically, but they continue to place academics as a priority," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "Placing five student-athletes on the Academic All-MPSF team is a tremendous honor to the program. It also validates the importance of education and shows that academics is the number one priority at the University of Oklahoma."

Twenty-three gymnasts were named to the team from five different schools (U.S. Air Force Academy, California-Berkeley, Nebraska and Stanford). The student-athlete must have completed one full academic year at the institution and must be a sophomore academically. They also had to participate in at least 50 percent or more of the teams' scheduled competitions.

Johnson, a finance major, led the team with a 3.82 gpa. The Dallas, Texas, native competed on the rings, high bar and parallel bars. Covey, an engineering major from Houston, Texas, holds a 3.68 cumulative gpa and competed primarily on the rings. Lovelady carries a 3.57 gpa in communications and Spanish, and was a vital member of the rings team.

Hillyer, who had to sit out the first part of his final season due to illness, holds a 3.34 gpa in history. He competed on both the high bar and parallel bars. Furney, who is a member of the U.S. Senior National Team, holds a 3.04 gpa in communications. The New Braunfels, Texas, native competed in the all-around and helped lead the team to its fourth national title.

Several gymnasts will represent the team as the U.S. House of Representatives will honor the national champions on Tuesday, May 7, in Oklahoma City. The team will also be having dinner at President David Boren's house on Tuesday evening.