PITTSBURGH – Eight former, current or soon-to-be OU gymnasts competed at the P&G Championships in Pittsburgh on Friday evening, as they each showcased their talent on the national stage. Sunday’s final session can be viewed live on NBC starting at 1:30 p.m.
Oklahoma alum and former Olympian Jake Dalton had a great showing in the first session, as he currently sits in second place with a score of 90.250, just .500 behind another former Olympian in John Orozco for the top spot. The top two all-around performers earn automatic bids onto the world championship team.
“He may have had his best competition, certainly at the national championships,” said OU head coach Mark Williams on Dalton’s Friday performance. “He did a great job from start to finish. I’m really happy for him after returning from thumb surgery. He really had a great night of gymnastics and put himself in a great position to remake the world championship team.”
Allan Bower, who will only be a sophomore for the 2015 OU season, also made some noise at the championships, finishing the first day with an all-around score of 85.500 for 14th place. Bower is positioned for an opportunity to earn a spot on the U.S. senior national team.
“He was pretty steady,” said Williams. “He has to be a little bit better in pommel horse and rings but overall had a pretty steady night. We are hoping he puts himself into a position to be on the senior national team after his Sunday performance.”
Colin Van Wicklen and Kanji Oyama joined Bower in the top 20, as the two athletes head into Sunday’s final 18th (83.450) and 19th (82.750) respectively. Williams was happy with both of their day one performances.
“Colin Van Wicklen and Kanji Oyama had a really nice night and had some good routines,” said Williams. “They are in striking distance for national team spots as well.”
Incoming freshman Hunter Justus performed in the 17-18 year old junior division, attempting to make the junior national squad. Justus turned in an all-around score of 83.400 for second place entering Sunday’s final round. The freshman-to-be recorded the best score of the day for any event at the junior level with a 15.000 on vault.
“Hunter performed well,” said Williams. “He is sitting second in the overall competition for juniors. I was happy with his first performance as a Sooner and with those scores we will be looking for him to contribute right away.”
Other Sooners who competed in Friday’s session where Joshua Yee and Danny Berardini, with each performing a number of events but not in all six disciplines.
Former OU legend and World Championship medalist Steven Legendre suffered an abdominal tear on the floor exercise and will be unable to compete in Sunday’s final. Legendre will most likely petition U.S. Gymnastics for a spot on the national team since he will be unable to qualify this weekend.
Oklahoma’s Dylan Akers was also slated to compete in Pittsburgh but was unable to perform due to physical illness.
See below on how you can cheer on your Sooners this weekend:
OU Men's Gymnastics
Get inside looks at the Sooners in Colorado Springs by liking the OU Men’s Gymnastics Facebook page and by following the team on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @OU_MGymnastics.
Schedules, the official program and general information, including start lists, live scoring and more, are available at PGChamps.com. USA Gymnastics is also providing enhanced event coverage on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Click here for a link to live scoring.
Championship Coverage - Senior Competition
The finals on Sunday will air live on NBC at 1:30 p.m.
Live Video - Junior Competition
Webcasts will be available on PGChamps.com on Aug. 22 starting at noon and on Aug. 24 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
USA Gymnastics will post coverage of the P&G Championships on its YouTube page, including nearly every competition routine, interviews from media day and post-competition, and clips from podium training.