NORMAN – For the fourth year in a row, the Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team landed the No. 1 spot in the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Preseason Coaches Poll.
“It is always an honor to be recognized as the top team in the preseason coaches poll,” head coach Mark Williams said. “Now it’s our job to train and compete to earn that distinction.”
After winning their 11th national championship in program history, and third in a row, the Sooners received 371 points and 14 of 18 possible first place votes. Stanford sits in second place with 352 points, while the 2017 NCAA Runner-Up, Ohio State, comes in third at 346 points. Minnesota and Illinois round out the top five with 321 and 314 points, respectively.
Oklahoma is coming off back-to-back-to-back undefeated national championship seasons, having won 76 consecutive meets dating back to the 2014 NCAA Championships. The Sooners have also won six straight MPSF Conference titles.
From its 2017 national championship team, the Sooners return junior Yul Moldauer, who won a pair of individual national titles in 2017 on floor and rings. Moldauer earned six All-America honors last season, just missing out on pommel horse. All-Americans Hunter Justus (SR, PB), Reese Rickett (SR) and Genki Suzuki (HB) will also return in 2018 for Oklahoma.
The Sooners will look to replace the loss of All-Americans Allan Bower and Colin Van Wicklen with a pair of dynamic freshmen in Gage Dyer and Alexei Vernyi. Vernyi has been a member of the U.S. Junior National team and took home the floor title and placed second in the all-around at the 2016 Men’s Junior Olympic National Championships. Dyer is an Oklahoma native and in a four-time state champion and won the all-around at the Region 3 Elite Team Cup in 2017.
Oklahoma will have to navigate a challenging schedule to defend its crown in 2018. OU will have home meets against No. 2 Stanford and No. 6 Nebraska (Feb. 3), No. 8 Iowa (Feb. 10), No. 12 Navy (Feb. 24) and No. 10 California (March 10), and will make road trips to take on No. 11 Air Force (Jan. 20), No. 9 Michigan (Jan. 27), No. 5 Illinois (March 17) and No. 3 Ohio State (March 23).
The 2018 NCAA Championships will be held at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, Ill., on April 20 and 21.
Fans can get an early look at the 2018 Sooner squad as the team holds its annual Crimson and Cream intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center. Admission is free.
Season tickets for the Sooners home slate are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the University of Oklahoma Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll free at (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting SoonerSports.com.