OU Dominates, Posts Top NCAA Score Again
|FX||T. Justus (OU)||14.850|
NORMAN — Every week, the Sooners somehow find a way to top themselves. In their meet against Navy, the OU men's gymnastics team became the first team this season to pass the 420-point mark and posted the best score in NCAA for the third straight competition, winning 429.550-401.300.
"The score reflected the improvements we've made," head coach Mark Williams said. "They seemed more confident. We stuck more landings tonight than we have all season. It feels like things are finally coming together. I am really pleased."
Levi Anderson posted the second highest all-around score in the NCAA this season with an 86.100.
"Levi was having a good night," Williams said. "When I saw him on parallel bars, he was just out of his mind. I've known Levi has had the talent and he's putting in the work and paying attention to the details. It has been huge."
"It feels great," Anderson said of his performance. "This year, coming into my junior year, I wanted to make sure I could step up and lead the team on every event. I try to embrace the process with our coaches and it gets tough sometimes in the gym but you have to remember the work is for times like this."
The Sooners also posted 11 individual career-highs in another dominate performance.
"It's one of those things you don't notice during the meet," Anderson said. "You are just trying to one up the guy next to you. Then, you look around at the end of the meet and everyone has career highs. We do our job and have fun with it."
OU had its best performance on floor this season, notching a NCAA season-high 71.850 with two Sooners posting career highs. Tanner Justus paced the competition with a career-high 14.850 and Alexei Vernyi crushed his all-time best with a 14.250.
"Alexi starting the meet the way he did was unbelievable," Anderson said. "I am beyond proud of him. He has gone through so much to get to where he is."
Anderson (14.400), Hunter Justus (14.400) and Gage Dyer (13.950) finished the first rotation for OU.
In the second rotation, the Sooners registered a NCAA season-high 71.750 on pommel horse. Yul Moldauer and Genki Suzuki tied for the event title, each with a 14.800. Grant Kell (14.100) and Brian Schibler (14.150) both posted career-highs and Levi Anderson (13.900) rounded out the lineup.
OU is the first team in the NCAA to start a meet with back-to-back 70-point rotations. "Floor was great," Williams said. "That was even without Yul in the lineup. On pommel horse, we swung with confidence. I love it when we start meets like that."
On still rings, Reese Rickett took home the event titles with a 14.300. Two more Sooners registered career-highs with Maloley posting a 14.200 and Anderson registering a 13.900. Collyn Kellogg (13.550) and Tanner Justus (12.800) helped OU score a 68.750.
At the halfway point, OU built a commanding 212.350-202.350 lead over Navy.
OU put up another season-high on vault, scoring a 73.150. Dyer earned his first career event title, posting a career-best 14.900, the best score by a Sooner this season. He was followed by Anderson (14.800), Moldauer (14.650), Tanner Justus (14.450) and Eric Holley, who registered a career-high 14.350.
On parallel bars, the Sooners posted a season-high 72.500. Moldauer claimed another event title, scoring 15.400. He became the first gymnast this season to score above a 15.000 on the event. Anderson registered his second career-high performance of the day with a 14.250. Suzuki (14.450), Hunter Justus (14.350) and Dyer (14.050) rounded out the top five for OU.
The Sooners put the finishing touches on another phenomenal performance on high bar as they notched a 71.550. Suzuki claimed another event title by posting a career-best 14.950. Anderson capped off his excellent all-around performance with a 14.850. Sam Ito put together a career-high 14.300 and Hunter Justus wrapped up the meet with a 13.950.
Looking foward, OU is looking to continue their remarkable run and continue to improve every single week.
"We fight to keep our lineup spots every week," Anderson said. "We are not just competing against other teams, we are competing against ourselves. When we come to the meet, we try to make a statement every week."
After a bye week, OU concludes its home schedule as they host California on “Senior Night,” March 10 at 7 p.m. The Sooners will honor seniors Hunter Justus and Reese Rickett in the final home meet of their storied careers. For tickets to OU’s last home meet, call the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU, or click here.