NORMAN -- The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team remained unbeaten Saturday night, topping No. 4 Ohio State 434.550-417.600 inside McCasland Field House. Oklahoma’s team mark was the highest by any team in the NCAA this season.
The Sooners were electric all night, posting NCAA team highs on two events and taking home four event titles. Sophomore and 2017 American Cup champion Yul Moldauer won floor with an NCAA-high 15.550, senior Todd Dowdy won vault with a 14.800, senior co-captain and U.S. Senior National Team member Allan Bower took parallel bars with a 15.050 and sophomore Genki Suzuki won high bar with a career-high 15.050.
“Honestly we hit above 90 percent,” head coach Mark Williams said. “This was a good competition and we rebounded well after the scare last week at Stanford. I like to see that we are doing better at being consistent and doing a good job landing wise and health wise. So, good signs.”
The Sooners opened with a bang Saturday night, posting a team score of 73.250 on floor that marked the highest by any team so far this season. The Sooners were led by Moldauer’s monster 15.550 that marks the nation’s best score this year. Just prior to Moldauer, senior Colin Van Wicklen, the reigning NCAA floor champion, posted a 15.300 that momentarily stood as the country’s highest score. The Sooners also saw strong marks from Suzuki (14.300) and Bower (14.450). Oklahoma’s score was .700 points higher than their own previous season and NCAA high of 72.550 at the Rocky Mountain Open.
The Sooners rolled that momentum right in pommel horse in rotation two, scoring a 72.900. Oklahoma went a solid five-for-five with each gymnast scoring at least 14.150 to rack up yet another 2017 NCAA high. Bower’s 15.100 in the anchor position led the scoring for OU. Hunter Justus led off with a 14.300, senior co-captain Josh Yee turned in a 14.150, Suzuki notched a 14.700 and Moldauer logged a 14.650. After two rotations, the Sooners had scored the highest team event score of the year on each of their events and had opened up a lead of more than eight points.
Sophomore Genki Suzuki on floor. Suzuki won the event title on high bar with a career-high 15.050 on Saturday night.
“We started way better,” Williams said. “Having floor and pommel horse do a great job just sets the table. We can just concentrate more on performing and doing the gymnastics that we have trained so I was really happy with the start of this competition.”
The third rotation saw Oklahoma move to rings and once again, the Sooners were solid across the board. Led by a career-high 14.850 from sophomore Peter Daggett, OU notched a 73.100, its second highest rings score of the year. The Sooners got stuck dismounts from Daggett, Justus (14.700) and senior Alex Powarzynksi (14.550). A 14.350 from senior Thao Hoang and a 14.600 from Moldauer rounded out the event for OU.
“I thought the team did awesome today,” Daggett, who has been red hot the last three meets said. “I just kind of had a change of mindset lately and realized I need to do this for the team. There is nothing better than sticking a dismount for the team. These past couple meets I have had the time of my life and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Dowdy scored 14.800 on vault to lead the Sooners and claim the event title there. As a team Oklahoma notched a 72.300 on the event in the fourth rotation and also got strong scores from Powarzynski (14.600) and Bower (14.500). Freshman Matt Wenske made his return from a knee injury Saturday night. After missing nearly two months of action, Wenske competed on floor and vault against Ohio State, notching a 14.700 on vault that placed second. After four rotations, the Sooners carried a 10-point lead into parallel bars.
Oklahoma further stretched its lead in the fifth rotation. The Sooners notched a 70.450 on parallel bars, with Bower leading the way with a season-high 15.050 in the anchor position. Justus scored a 14.400 while Daggett hit for 14.100 and Powarzynski scored 14.000. While the Sooners competed on parallel bars, Ohio State struggled a bit on high bar and heading into the final frame, the Sooners led by nearly 13 points.
The Sooners' bench celebrates during a high bar routine.
“We just focused on getting back in the gym and working on the little things we needed to work on,” Bower said. “We were all pretty upset Stanford came that close to us last week. We didn’t want that to happen the rest of the year. We got in the gym and everyone focused in on what they needed to focus on and tonight it showed.”
The Sooners ended the night just as they started it Saturday, with a season high. Oklahoma scored 72.550, thanks in large part to a career-best 15.050 from Suzuki. OU got a pair of 14.500s from Powarzynski and Van Wicklen and also saw a 14.300 from Yee and a 14.200 from Daggett.
OU has topped the 430-point mark in four of its seven meets this season and has scored at least 425 in all of them. Only one other team has reached the 425-point mark so far this season (Stanford, once).
“I want to continue this kind of momentum and continue to make sure we have the depth to get everyone meet experience and not lose sight of our preparations,” Williams said. “Very soon we will be looking at conference and NCAAs. We just want to keep the ball rolling the same direction and get through spring break healthy and finish the regular season with a win.”
The Sooners return to McCasland Field House next weekend to take on No. 3 Illinois on Saturday at 6:50 p.m. CT in a meet that will serve as both the regular season finale and senior night. Tickets for OU's upcoming home meet are available for purchase online or by calling the OU Athletics Tickets Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU.