|FX||Yul Moldauer (OU)||14.850|
|PH||Austin Hodges (UM)||14.650|
|SR||Yul Moldauer (OU)||15.100|
|VT||Allan Bower (OU)||15.200|
|PB||Yul Moldauer (OU)||15.500|
|HB||Cory Paterson (UI)||14.300|
|AA||Yul Moldauer (OU)||87.600|
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team picked up another pair of wins Friday night as it posted a team score of 427.000 to take down No. 5 Minnesota (417.200) and No. 11 Iowa (414.650) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
“We still haven’t solved some of the problems I’d like to see fixed,” head coach Mark Williams said. “We had some guys step in that needed to get some competition. Our vault team was awesome tonight and high bar was good. We have to be better than we were tonight as the season progresses.”
The Sooners struggled on floor and pommel horse, but made up for it in the remaining four rotations to pick up their third team score of at least 425 in just four meets. OU is still the only team to hit that mark this season.
“It was good to see guys pick it up and get back the energy and do what we do,” senior co-captain Josh Yee said. “Vault was awesome but all our events should be that way. We’ve been like that in practice but we’ve struggled competing on those events. We just have a lot more work to do. We are better than this so we have to get back in the gym and put that same pressure back onto ourselves and pretend it’s a meet so when we come out it’s the same as in the gym.”
Individually, Oklahoma gymnasts took home four event titles plus the all-around crown. Sophomore and reigning NCAA all-around champion Yul Moldauer took the all-around for the second meet in a row with a score of 87.600. He also won floor (14.850), rings (15.100) and parallel bars (15.500) to bring his season total of event titles to 10 in just four meets. Senior co-captain Allan Bower delivered the vault title with a NCAA season-high 15.200.
The Sooners got off to a good start in chilly Iowa. Oklahoma posted a 72.850 on still rings, an event that has perhaps been its strongest so far this year, to take an early lead of just more than six points over second-place Iowa after the first rotation. Moldauer led the way for Oklahoma, notching a 15.100 to tie his season high. In a year in which scores of 15.000 or better have been rare, Moldauer has now hit or bested that mark in each of his three rings routines this season. Hunter Justus also threw a big routine, scoring a 14.950, while seniors Thao Hoang (14.500) and Reese Rickett (14.400) were also solid. Junior Jake Maloley scored a 13.800 in his first collegiate action as a Sooner. Maloley made the team this year as a walk on after spending the previous two season on the club team. The Sooners’ team mark was their second highest of the young seasons on rings.
Rotation two saw the Sooners move to floor where they scored 70.000 as a team, their worst on the event this year. Moldauer was a bright spot, claiming the event title with a 14.850 that tied his season high. Freshman Tanner Justus was also strong for OU, posting a career-best 14.300 in the leadoff position. Hoang provided the Sooners’ only other score of at least 14.000, hitting that mark on the nose. Despite its sluggish marks on floor, OU led by 6.550 over second-place Minnesota heading to the third rotation.
“Josh Yee did amazing on parallel bars. I’m proud of him that he could help the team with us getting short-handed.”
- Head Coach Mark Williams
Oklahoma continued to struggle on pommel horse, scoring a 67.000 after multiple falls. Bower, who is dealing with a finger injury, paced the team with a 14.550. Sophomore Genki Suzuki was the next highest-scoring Sooner at 13.700. At the halfway point in the meet, Minnesota had crept to within four points of the Sooners.
OU was much stronger in the fourth rotation, getting five marks of 13.900 or better to score 70.150 as a team. Moldauer paced the team with a 14.200 while Bower pitched in a 14.150 of his own in the anchor position. Suzuki hit a 14.000 and sophomore Levi Anderson and Yee both scored 13.900. With their high bar effort, the Sooners’ grew the lead to more than four points over the second-place Golden Gophers.
The Sooners iced away the win in the fifth rotation. OU strung together six vaults of better than 14.200 as a team to set a 2017 team and NCAA high with a mark of 74.850. That score bested their previous high by more than a point and helped push their lead to nearly 10 points over Iowa, which had moved into second place after the fifth period. Bower was the headliner for OU, notching a 2017 NCAA-best 15.200 in the anchor position. Senior Todd Dowdy posted a season-high 14.950 and Tanner Justus matched that mark as well. Moldauer hit for 14.900 while senior co-captain Colin Van Wicklen scored 14.800.
The final rotation saw the Sooners defend their lead with a team mark of 71.800 on parallel bars. Moldauer was stunning yet again on the event, scoring his third 15.500 of the year to tie his own 2017 NCAA-leading mark. OU also got 14.700 from Suzuki, a season high for the sophomore, and a 14.300 from Hunter Justus. Yee, who had just earned his spot in the lineup on Wednesday in practice after not competing on parallel bars at all in 2016, was also solid with a 13.850. Those marks delivered the nine-point win for OU.
“Josh Yee did amazing on parallel bars,” Williams said. “We’ve had enough injuries that I said to him maybe you should start doing p-bars again. On Wednesday he did a routine to make the lineup and today he did a good set. I’m proud of him that he could help the team with us getting short-handed.”
Oklahoma will break from its NCAA schedule this weekend as select members of the team as well as some alumni will compete at the 2017 Winter Cup in Las Vegas, Nev. The two-day event serves as a qualifying event for the U.S. Senior Men’s National Team. The Sooners are back in action as a team on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they return home to host Air Force in a 6:50 p.m. CT meet. Tickets are available for purchase online or by calling the OU Athletics Tickets Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU.