Title Defense Begins at Air Force
Oklahoma begins its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday, as the preseason No. 1 Sooners head west to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., to face a challenging slate of opponents at the Rocky Mountain Open.
"Rocky Mountain Open is usually the first meet on the calendar and it helps us get eased into the season, said Oklahoma head coach Mark Williams. "This year, we have more good teams that will be there than ever. It will be a good test to go up against Ohio State, Minnesota, and Nebraska out of the gate and see if we can match up against last year’s NCAA runner-up (Minnesota) and put up a good score to set the table for the season."
Entering his 20th season at the helm of the program, Williams and his team are aiming not only for their fifth consecutive NCAA championship in 2018 but extending their NCAA-best streak of 97 straight victories. Two of the Sooners opponents at this weekend's Rocky Mountain Open finished in the top five at last season's NCAA Championships. No. 4 Minnesota finished as the runner-up, while No. 7 Nebraska took fifth place. Ohio State, Air Force
Oklahoma made more history in 2018, becoming just the third men's gymnastics program since 1938 to win four straight national titles. The Sooners' perfect 21-0 2018 campaign marked 97 straight wins for Williams and his program. OU has claimed 12 all-time titles, and nine under Williams. OU finished with five All-Americans who notched a total of 11 honors last season.
OU'S LAST ROCKY MOUNTAIN OPEN
Oklahoma last competed at the Rocky Mountain Open in 2017, earning a first-place score of 433.200, which wound up as the squad's third-highest score of the 2017 season. Allan Bower posted meet highs on pommel horse and still rings, while Yul Moldauer scored a 15.000 on rings and led all teams with a 15.500 on high bar.
Despite losing five-time All-American Hunter Justus, OU returns a wealth of experience in 2019. Senior Yul Moldauer is looking to conclude a historic collegiate career, coming off a junior season in which he earned four individual national titles (AA, FX, VT, PB), in addition to All-America nods on
The Sooners have won or finished first in every meet in which they have competed since placing second at the 2014 NCAA team finals. In that span, they have racked up 97 victories, the most consecutive wins in program history and the most since piling up 52 straight wins from 2002 to 2004. The streak is also the current longest in any Division I NCAA sport.
THE CHAMP IS BACK
Senior Yul Moldauer has made his mark on the OU record books and will continue his historic collegiate career when the Sooners kick off their season on Saturday. Moldauer is a seven-time individual national champion and became just the third men's gymnast ever to win four individual national titles in one year in 2018. Last season marked Moldauer's second all-around national title, after claiming the crown during his freshman season in 2016. His seven titles rank first all-time at OU ahead of Steven Legendre (six), and Olympians Jonathan Horton (six) and Jake Dalton (four).
Williams' squad returns four All-Americans from last year's title team. Seniors Yul Moldauer (AA, FX, PH, SR, VT, PB), Levi Anderson (AA, HB) and Genki Suzuki (PH) return in 2019 for the Sooners, along with junior Tanner Justus (VT). The Sooners also return eight other upperclassmen in 2019.
The Sooners welcome a trio of talented freshmen for 2019 in Spencer Goodell, Vitaliy Guimaraes
Oklahoma opens its home slate on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. CT when the Sooners welcome in Air Force and Arizona State to McCasland Field House. Tickets are available here.
The meet will serve as Alumni Night and also a tribute meet to former Sooner national champion Jeremy Killen, who passed in November of 2018.
Season tickets for all four regular-season home meets are on sale now and can be purchased 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/tickets.