Sooners Head West to Finish Regular Season
No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 11 Cal & No. 18 UIC
NOTES AND NUMBERS
Oklahoma (14-0) continues its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday as the No. 1 Sooners head to Berkeley, Calif., to take on the No. 11 California Golden Bears and No. 18 University of Illinois at Chicago Flames inside Haas Pavilion at 8 p.m. CT in the team's final regular season meet of 2019. With a victory, head coach Mark Williams and his squad would solidify a fifth straight undefeated regular season. In his 20th season at the helm of OU men's gymnastics, 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 111 straight victories on Saturday evening. The Golden Bears and Flames hold the No. 11 and No. 18 spots in both the Road to Nationals rankings and the College Gymnastics Association coaches poll, respectively, heading into the meet.
LAST TIME OUT
In their inaugural visit to the U.S. Naval Academy, the Sooners topped the No. 10 Navy Midshipmen, 416.700-400.600 for its 111th consecutive victory. The Sooners won five of six event titles and OU gymnasts swept all six individual event titles, with Yul Moldauer claiming three (PH, SR, PB), Gage Dyer claiming two (HB, FX) and Matt Wenske and Vitaliy Guimaraes sharing the vault title. With consecutive win No. 111, the Sooners matched the University of Connecticut women's basketball streak from 2014-2017, tying for the third-longest winning streak in NCAA history.
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.
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 111 victories, including 69 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 with consecutive win No. 111 last weekend, the Sooners matched the University of Connecticut women's basketball streak from 2014-2017, tying for the third-longest winning streak in NCAA history.
With consecutive win No. 111, the #Sooners match the UConn women's basketball streak from 2014-2017, tying for the third-longest winning streak in @NCAA history. ☝️ #Never5ettle pic.twitter.com/SJFmESPJ9I— Oklahoma Men's Gym (@OU_MGymnastics) March 16, 2019
The Sooners return to the friendly confines of McCasland Field House in Norman to begin postseason competition by hosting the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship. OU has claimed seven consecutive conference crowns and will look to extend the streak to eight against conference foes Air Force, Cal and Stanford. Tickets can be found here.
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. The team claimed last season's conference title by nearly ten points over second-place Stanford.
The University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team moved back to No. 1 in this week's Road to Nationals rankings, along with holding the top spot in the College Gymnastics Association coaches' poll for the 11th straight week.
After defeating No. 10 Navy in Annapolis, Md., last Saturday by a score of 416.700-400.600, the Sooners now hold the best four-score average (417.350) and claim the top spots on floor (71.450), rings (70.017), vault (72.600) and high bar (69.600). The team also ranks in the top five on the other two events, coming in third on parallel bars (69.333) and fifth on pommel horse (66.500).
• Individually, with the shift to the National Qualifying Average, three Sooners hold top-11 spots on floor exercise. Sophomore Gage Dyer, fresh off his second FX title of the season at Navy, ranks first with an NQA of 14.650, while senior Yul Moldauer (14.517) holds fourth and freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes comes in 11th (14.350). Moldauer also ranks fourth on pommel horse with an NQA of 14.183 after claiming the event title on the apparatus against the Midshipmen.
• OU occupies three of the top 10 national spots on still rings. Moldauer ranks second with his 14.683 average, while seniors Peter Daggett and Jake Maloley sit sixth and tenth with respective NQAs of 14.283 and 14.133.
• On the event that the Sooners average an impressive 72.600, vault, OU gymnasts hold six of the top 10 individual spots. Guimaraes (14.667) ranks third, senior co-captain Levi Anderson (14.600) holds sixth, junior Matt Wenske (14.600) sits seventh, while sophomore Alexei Vernyi (14.567) comes in eighth and junior Tanner Justus holds ninth (14.567). Dyer rounds out the top 10 at 10th, also averaging 14.567.
• After claiming another parallel bars title versus Navy, Moldauer tops the charts on the event with a strong NQA of 14.800. Fellow senior co-captain Genki Suzuki (13.933) comes in ninth on the apparatus.
• A trio of Sooners land in the top 10 on high bar, led by Anderson in the one spot, averaging 14.417. Dyer (14.317) is right behind Anderson in second after claiming the HB title at Navy with a career-high 14.700. Suzuki comes in at ninth with a 13.933 NQA.
MOLDAUER NAMED NISSEN-EMERY 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 visit Berkeley. 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.
Most recently, OU senior Genki Suzuki competed in Calgary, Canada, at the University of Calgary International Cup as part of Team USA. Suzuki claimed silver on high bar and bronze on floor exercise in just his second international meet as a member of the U.S. Senior Men's National Team. Fellow senior 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 titles, and became the first to do so consecutively.
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. Of the 12 gymnasts selected, four are current or former Sooners.
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 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.
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.