No. 1 Sooners Host Illinois for Senior Day
No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Illinois
NORMAN— The No. 1 Oklahoma men's gymnastics team hosts the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini inside McCasland Field House Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT for Senior Day. The meet will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Oklahoma with Chad McKee and Michael Squires on the call.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
Oklahoma (12-0) continues its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday as the No. 1 Sooners host the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini inside McCasland Field House at 4 p.m. In his 20th season at the helm of OU men's gymnastics, head coach Mark Williams and his team are aiming at an NCAA men's gym record 13th national title in 2019. The team will also look to extend its NCAA-best streak of 109 straight victories on Saturday afternoon. The Illini hold the No. 5 spot in the Road to Nationals rankings and fourth in the College Gymnastics Association coaches poll heading into the meet.
Saturday's meet serves as Senior Day for the nine members of the 2019 senior class competing in their final home dual meet of their OU careers. Levi Anderson, Peter Daggett, Eric Holley, Grant Kell, Jake Maloley, Yul Moldauer, Brian Schibler, Genki Suzuki and Cameron Wright have not lost a meet in their Sooner careers and have helped OU to three of it's four consecutive NCAA championships. Fans are encouraged to stay in their seat post-meet as the senior recognition ceremony will be held following awards. Other meet promotions include free T-shirts to the first 250 fans in attendance and first 100 OU students. Additionally, for the kids, a face painter and balloon artist will be located in the southeast corner of the Field House.
LAST TIME OUT
Oklahoma last competed Feb. 23 versus No. 3 Michigan inside McCasland Field House. The Sooners won every event title and put up an NCAA-season best 424.050 to top the Wolverines' 411.200. Yul Moldauer took the all-around victory with an NCAA-season high 88.300, also taking the event titles on floor, pommel
Moldauer competed March 3 individually at the 2019 American Cup. The U.S. National Team member won his third-straight American Cup all-around crown with an 85.932, edging fellow USNT member and Olympian Sam Mikulak by .001. The OU senior joined the elite company of Bart Conner and Jonathan Horton as one of three OU gymnasts to win three American Cup titles and became the first to do so consecutively.
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 NCAA team titles and nine under Williams. OU finished with five All-Americans who notched a total of 11 honors last season.
After notching an NCAA-season high 424.050 at home against Michigan Feb. 23, the Sooners held steady at No. 1 in the latest Road to Nationals rankings. OU holds the top three-score average (422.183) along with the top spots on floor exercise (71.483), still rings (70.967), vault (73.217) and high bar (69.533). The team ranks in the top three on the other two events, coming in second with a 69.767 three-score average on parallel bars and third on pommel horse with its 67.817.
• Individually, with the rankings shift to the National Qualifying Average after week five, three Sooners hold top ten spots on floor exercise. Senior Yul Moldauer holds the top spot with an impressive NQA of 14.917. Sophomore Gage Dyer ranks third (14.583), while freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes comes in 10th (14.433).
• Two Sooners rank in the top 11 of the pommel horse standings, led by Moldauer (14.300) in fifth. Fellow senior co-captain Genki Suzuki (13.883) ranks 11th.
• OU occupies three of the top eight national spots on still rings. Moldauer ranks second with his 14.867 national qualifying average, while seniors Peter Daggett and Jake Maloley sit fourth and eighth with respective averages of 14.433 and 14.250.
• On the event that the Sooners average a nation-leading 72.508, vault, OU gymnasts hold six of the top 11 individual spots. Junior Tanner Justus (14.683) ranks fourth, senior co-captain Levi Anderson (14.667) holds fifth, Dyer (14.650) sits sixth, while sophomore Alexei Vernyi (14.633) comes in eighth. Guimaraes and senior Matt Wenske share a tie for 11th, averaging 14.600.
• After claiming the parallel bars title versus Michigan with an NCAA-season high 15.100, Moldauer tops the charts on P-bars with an NQA of 14.933. A trio of Sooners land in the top 10 on high bar, led by Anderson (14.500) in second. Dyer (14.183) holds his third top-10 individual event ranking on HB with a fifth-place spot. Suzuki comes in at eighth with a 14.000 NQA.
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 109 victories, including 68 straight at home, the most consecutive wins in program history, topping the 52 straight victories from 2002 to 2004. The streak is the longest active streak in any Division I NCAA sport and is approaching some of the longest winning streaks in NCAA DI history.
MOLDAUER NAMED NISSEN-EMERY AWARD FINALIST
Senior Yul Moldauer has made his mark on the OU record books and will continue his historic collegiate career on Saturday when the Sooners host Illinois. The reigning NCAA all-around champion was recently named a finalist for the 2019 Nissen-Emery Award, awarded annually to the top senior male gymnast in the NCAA. 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 his freshman season in 2016. His seven titles rank first all-time at OU ahead of Steven Legendre (6) and Olympians Jonathan Horton (6) and Jake Dalton (4).
The Sooners welcomed a trio of talented freshmen for 2018-19 in Spencer Goodell, Vitaliy Guimaraes and Morgan Seyler. Goodell was named a U.S. Junior National Team member in 2018 after taking third in the junior elite division all-around at the U.S. Championships. Additionally, Goodell tied for first on still rings and placed second on vault. Guimaraes, a product of 5280 Gymnastics in Colorado, finished just behind Goodell in the all-around at the U.S. Championships, claiming fourth, but took home junior national titles on floor exercise and vault. Seyler, whose parents were both gymnasts at OU, finished seventh in the all-around in the junior elite division at the 2017 P&G Championships.
Yul Moldauer claimed his third consecutive American Cup all-around crown on March 2 in Greensboro, N.C. The reigning NCAA all-around champion joined Bart Conner and Jonathan Horton as the only OU gymnasts to win three American Cup
Additionally, twelve current, former or future OU gymnasts competed at the 2019 Winter Cup Challenge on Feb. 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nev. The USA Gymnastics meet helps determine the 12-man U.S. Senior Men's National Team through the 2019 U.S. Championships in Kansas City, Mo., in August. Of the 12 gymnasts selected, four are current or former Sooners. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer automatically secured his spot on the team for the fourth consecutive year after claiming the senior all-around title on the first day of the competition, posting an 84.500 score. Also retaining their spots on the squad were fellow senior captain Genki Suzuki and 2017 OU graduate Allan Bower. Bower and Suzuki took third and fourth, respectively, in the all-around. Joining the three on the national team following day two was fellow '17 alum Colin Van Wicklen. Van Wicklen posted two podium event finishes at Winter Cup, claiming gold on vault and silver on high bar.
Moldauer and Van Wicklen also helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last fall. It was the best finish for a U.S. men's team at Worlds since taking bronze in 2014. Moldauer took 12th in the all-around at the championships and finished just shy of a medal on floor exercise, placing fourth.
The Sooners head to Annapolis, Md., Saturday, March 16, for the first time in program history to compete at the U.S. Naval Academy. The Midshipmen rank ninth in the Road to Nationals rankings and hold 10th in the College Gymnastics Association coaches poll.
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP COMES TO NORMAN
Fans have one more chance to catch the four-time defending champions as the Sooners play host to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championships on April 6. The start time of the championships was recently changed from 5 p.m. CT to 4 p.m. to accommodate television coverage of the meet. The meet will begin at 4 p.m. inside McCasland Field House in Norman and be broadcast live on FOX Sports Oklahoma.
The Sooners host the conference championships for the first time since the 2014 season and will welcome fellow conference foes Stanford, Air Force and California to Norman. OU has claimed seven consecutive MPSF titles, winning last season's conference title by nearly ten points over second-place Stanford
Tickets for the Sooners final home meet of 2019, the MPSF Championships, 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.