NORMAN — Head coach Mark Williams announced Wednesday the addition of a pair of highly talented gymnasts for the 2018 class. U.S. Junior National Team members Davis Grooms and Alexei Vernyi signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday morning and will join the back-to-back defending NCAA champion Sooners for the 2018 season.
Both Grooms and Vernyi have been part of the 10-man Junior National Team for the past two years and have competed at the highest level of junior gymnastics. Hailing from Katy, Texas, and Cypress, Texas, respectively, the duo also continues head coach Mark Williams' success in recruiting top talent from the Houston, Texas, area.
“I think Alexei and Davis make up an outstanding recruiting class for our program," Williams said. "Both have credentials as Junior National Team members and high level Jr. international experience. I’m looking forward to working with them next year.”
Katy, Texas | Champions Gymnastics | USA Gym Bio
Grooms trains at Champions Gymnastics and has been consistently among the best gymnasts of his age. At the 2016 P&G Championships, Grooms placed third on pommel horse and still rings and finished third in the all-around competition. At the 2016 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships Grooms placed fourth on still rings, fifth on vault and parallel bars and ninth in the all-around.
“Davis will give us good depth as an all-around gymnast while helping our pommel horse and parallel bar teams right away," Williams said. "He has great basics and technical execution to his gymnastics. He will fit well in our system.”
He has competed in at the P&G Championships in each of the last four years and has also been part of the American team that took gold at the 2014 Junior Pan American Championship and the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships. Davis is the son of David and Mindy Grooms and has trained under Hideo Mizoguchi and Ivan Ivankov at Champions Gymnastics.
Cypress, Texas | Cypress Academy | USA Gym Bio
Vernyi trains at Cypress Academy, a virtual factory of talent for the Sooners. Six current members of the Oklahoma men's gymnastics roster trained at Cypress. Vernyi finished second on floor, third in the all-around and also turned in top-eight performances on parallel bars and still rings at the 2016 P&G Championships. At the 2016 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships, Vernyi took home the floor title and also placed second in the all-around. Additionally, he finished in the top eight on parallel bars, still rings and high bar.
“Alexei comes from a strong family background of gymnastics," Williams said. "He is another product of Cypress Gymnastics who has been coached by his father, Igor. I expect him to contribute to the team in several events immediately and have a positive impact on our team score.”
Vernyi, who also captured the floor title at the 2015 P&G Championships and the 2015 Men's Junior Olympic National Championships, continues Oklahoma's strong tradition of floor dominance under Williams. The Sooners have turned in eight of the 10 best team scores on floor in NCAA history, all of which have come over the last two years. Alexei is the son of Marina and Igor Vernyi and has trained under his father Igor as well as Tom Meadows at Cypress Academy.