Sooners Set The Standard Again
|VT||H. Justus/Suzuki (OU)||14.550|
NORMAN — The Sooners did it again. For the second straight week the nation’s top-ranked team registered the highest score in the country in a 418.850-402.850 win over No. 10 Iowa on Saturday night inside McCasland Field House. The victory marked OU’s 80th in a row and its 43rd straight regular season win at home.
OU flashed its depth Saturday with head coach Mark Williams resting some gymnasts on certain events. Some new faces cracked the lineup.
"We have more depth than we had three or four weeks ago," Williams said. "That is a good sign. I want to be careful how often we use Yul Moldauer and Levi Anderson. Some guys got better. We had a much better finish to the meet. Improvements are being made. I am pleased with where we are."
Genki Suzuki led the Sooners with event titles on vault, parallel bars and high bar in his most complete meet of the season.
"We are hoping to get him on floor so he can get an all-around score," Williams said. "He had a really big day. He is definitely our gymnast of the week."
Moldauer followed Suzuki with two event titles, bringing his season total to nine.
Oklahoma came out of the gate with its best performance on floor this season. Led by Moldauer’s 14.500, the Sooners posted a 69.600, their highest mark of the season. Moldauer, Hunter Justus (14.200) and Gage Dyer (14.200) all put up season highs in the first rotation. Tanner Justus posted a 13.100 while Jake Maloley registered a 12.600 in his first career floor routine.
On pommel horse, OU registered a 69.400. Moldauer led the team with a 14.200 while Grant Kell posted a career-high-tying 14.000, the same score as Genki Suzuki. They were followed by Brian Schibler (13.950), Levi Anderson (13.250) and Tanner Justus (13.250).
"We have done a lot better on pommel horse in training," Williams said. "We will keep getting better."
The Sooners moved to still rings, an event they have dominated all season. They continued to impress on the event Saturday, totaling a 70.050. Moldauer collected his second event title of the night with a 14.700 and Reese Rickett shattered his previous season high of 13.500 with a 14.250. Collyn Kellogg (13.850), Anderson (13.750), Maloley (13.500) and Tanner Justus (11.750) rounded out the lineup for OU, as the Sooners led 209.050-204.400 at the halfway point.
OU continued its strong meet, registering an impressive 71.750 on vault, just 0.150 off its season high. No Sooner scored below a 14.000, as Hunter Justus and Suzuki tied for the first on the event with a 14.550. Tanner Justus notched a 14.450 and was followed by Anderson (14.100), Eric Holley (14.100) and Alexei Vernyi (14.000).
On parallel bars, the Sooners tallied a 68.550. Suzuki paced OU with a 14.350 and Hunter Justus wrapped up his night with a 13.900. Freshmen Dyer (13.600) and Ito (13.550) and Anderson (13.150) also posted counting scores.
"I thought we could improve on parallel bars," Williams said. "We have to keep working on it."
The Sooners finished the meet with a bang on high bar, registering a season-high 69.500. Suzuki notched his second event win of the night with a career-high 14.500 and was followed by Anderson (13.950), Kell (13.700), Moldauer (13.700) and Dyer (13.650).
"We addressed the problem on high bar," Williams said. "It was a good performance."
Throughout the meet, OU celebrated the life of former gymnast Ric Swezey by showing videos of his routines with commentary from his teammates. The meet also served as "alumni night."
"I thought this served as a great celebration of Ric's life. I can't thank the alumni enough for coming back," Williams said. "This was probably the biggest gathering of alumni. It was impressive."
The Sooners take a break from NCAA competiton as nine former, current and future Sooners travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Winter Cup next weekend. OU alumni Allan Bower, Alex Powarzynski, Alex Naddour, Kanji Oyama and Colin Van Wicklen will all compete. Yul Moldauer will be the lone representative from this year’s OU squad, and future Sooners Vitaliy Guimaraes, Spencer Goodell and Morgan Seyler will compete for a spot on the USA National Team.
OU returns to McCasland Field House on Saturday, Feb. 24 when it hosts Navy. To purchase tickets to Oklahoma home meets, call the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU, or click here.