"I was pretty pleased with the overall performance," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "Typical of this meet they tend to be very critical on execution so scores are definitely lower, but I was really pleased with the group and what they did coming into this situation. They just competed well. They went in and did their gymnastics and did their job. That made it fun for me to watch."
OU representatives finished tops in the first session in the all-around and four events. Junior Alec Robin earned first-place scores on two different events, including a 15.500 on floor and 15.250 on vault.
Junior Michael Squires took first on still rings with a 15.200 while Sooner alum Chris Brooks was first in the all-around with a score of 85.800 and on high bar with a 15.200.
"I think it's the first time he's done the all-around in quite a while," Williams said of Brooks. "He's got to regain his national team status so I think he did a pretty good job out there today. Looks like he's on track to that going into Saturday."
Also in the all-around, freshman Allan Bower came in fourth, Robin tied for fifth, junior Danny Berardini 10th and freshman Alex Powarzynski in 15th.
Oklahoma's influence was felt all throughout the individual events as well. Bower (pommel horse), Berardini (high bar) and former Sooner Jake Dalton (still rings) each finished second while Van Wicklen placed third on floor.
Following the second session late Thursday night, the qualifiers for Saturday's final competition will be announced.
Performances at the Winter Cup will help determine the 15 men who will comprise the U.S. Senior National Team through the 2014 P&G Gymnastics Championships, Aug. 21-24. The six members of the 2013 World Championships squad, plus the two World alternates, retain their spots on the national team. The remaining seven spots will be determined based on the following criteria: the top two ranked all-around athletes who are not already on the senior national team; two based on the National Team Points System; two athletes selected by the Men’s Program Committee; and one selected by the national team coordinator.
"Some of the guys need to do more difficulty if they have a shot to make the Senior National Team, but I was pretty proud the guys went out and performed well, representing Oklahoma well, and do what they can do and feel like they accomplish some things in getting here."
For videos, photos and to follow the Winter Cup live, visit WinterCup.com.