Postseason Begins with MPSF Championship in Norman
MPSF Championship: No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 2 Stanford, No. 11 Cal, No. 13 Air Force
NOTES AND NUMBERS
No. 1 Oklahoma (16-0) continues its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday as the Sooners begin postseason competition by hosting the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship for the first time since 2014 at 4 p.m. CT inside McCasland Field House in Norman. OU will go for its eighth consecutive conference crown and 18th overall against No. 2 Stanford (12-1), No. 11 California (4-8) and No. 13 Air Force (9-15). In his 20th season at the helm of OU, 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 113 straight victories against the conference foes.
BATTLE OF THE BEST
Saturday's meet will showcase two of the best men's gymnastics programs in the country as the top-ranked Sooners and second-ranked Cardinal will meet for the first time in 2019. OU and Stanford have traded the No. 1 spot in the Road to Nationals rankings throughout the regular season, being the only two teams that have held the top spot. The Sooners chase their eighth consecutive and 18th overall MPSF title, while the Cardinal are looking for their fifth conference crown and first since 2011. Individually, Sooner senior Yul Moldauer (88.300) and Stanford freshman Brody Malone (85.250) hold the top two all-around scores of the season. Additionally, Moldauer and Stanford senior Grant Breckenridge are finalists for the 2019 Nissen-Emery Award, given annually to the top senior male gymnast in the NCAA.
Historically, the two teams have been powerhouses in the sport. The squads have combined to claim six of the past 10 NCAA championships. Oklahoma holds a tie with Penn State for the most national titles with 12, including the current streak of four straight, while the Cardinal boast five, their most recent title coming in 2011. The Sooners hold 51 individual national titles to Stanford's 36 and 312 All-America honors to the Cardinal's 212. The No. 11 Cal Golden Bears are not far behind the Sooners and Cardinal in terms of NCAA gymnastics history, holding four team national championships and 29 individual national titles in program history.
WINNING STREAK APPROACHING RARE AIR
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 113 victories, including 69 straight at home, the most consecutive wins in program history. The streak is the longest active streak in any Division I NCAA sport and the third-longest winning streak in NCAA history, recently passing the 111 straight victories by the UConn women's basketball team from 2014-17. The top two streaks are 137 by Miami men's tennis (1957-64) and 130 by BYU-Hawaii women's tennis (2002-05).
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 host the conference championship. The reigning NCAA all-around champion was named a finalist for the 2019 Nissen-Emery Award earlier this season, 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).
His seven individual titles puts him in a tie for the most individual crowns in NCAA history and Moldauer will have a chance to move into sole possession of the most titles when the Sooners next compete at the NCAA Championships April 19-20.
With an unprecedented fifth consecutive national title in 2019, the Sooners would stand atop NCAA men's gymnastics history with a record 13 national titles, breaking the tie with Penn State for the most and would become just the second team ever to win five straight, joining Nebraska's run from 1979-1983. With one more national title, Williams would also top the coaching charts with a record 10 titles as head coach. Moldauer, with one more individual national title, would break the tie and move into sole possession of the most individual national titles in NCAA history.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners last competed March 23 in Berkeley, Calif., against the Cal Golden Bears and the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. OU put up its best road score of the season with a 423.400 to top Cal's 397.650 and UIC's 370.300. Moldauer claimed three event titles (SR, PH, PB), including notching the top score of the NCAA season on parallel bars with a 15.250. Sophomore Gage Dyer won his second event title on vault of the season, while freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes claimed the floor title, his third floor crown of the year. With the victory, Williams and his team secured a fifth- straight undefeated regular season.
The Sooners hold the best four-score average (421.383) and claim the top spots on floor exercise (71.517), rings (70.533), vault (72.900) and high bar (70.083). The team also ranks in the top four on the other two events, coming in second on parallel bars (69.900) and fourth on pommel horse (67.483).
• Individually, Sooners hold three of the top five national spots on floor exercise. Sophomore Gage Dyer ranks first with an NQA of 14.650, while freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes sits third (14.550) after his third FX title in the regular season finale at Cal. Senior Yul Moldauer ranks fifth on floor (14.517) and fourth on pommel horse with an NQA of 14.350 after claiming the horse title against the Flames and Golden Bears with a 14.750.
• OU occupies three of the top eight spots in the country on still rings. Moldauer ranks second with his 14.850 NQA, while seniors Jake Maloley and Peter Daggett sit seventh and eighth, respectively, with NQAs of 14.283.
• On the event that the Sooners average an NCAA-best 72.900, vault, OU gymnasts hold five of the top 11 individual spots. Guimaraes (14.700) ranks fourth, Dyer (14.683) sits fifth, while sophomore Alexei Vernyi (14.600) and junior Matt Wenske (14.600) come in eighth and ninth, respectively. Senior co-captain Levi Anderson ranks 11th, also with an NQA of 14.600.
• After putting up an NCAA-season high 15.250 at Cal, Moldauer tops the charts on parallel bars with an impressive NQA of 14.933. Fellow senior co-captain Genki Suzuki (14.233) moved up the ranks to sixth on the apparatus. The Sooners land three in the top five on high bar, led by Anderson (14.583) in the one spot. Dyer (14.383) is right behind Anderson in second, while Suzuki comes in fifth with a 14.233 NQA.
OU x TEAM USA
Four current or former Sooners currently occupy spots on the U.S. Senior Men's National Team and have been competing around the world as part of their assignments with the team. 2017 graduates Colin Van Wicklen and Allan Bower recently competed at World Cup events in Azerbaijan and Birmingham, U.K., respectively. Van Wicklen took fifth on VT in Baku, while Bower claimed sixth in the all-around at the Birmingham World Cup. The other two Sooners on the USNT are current seniors Yul Moldauer and Genki Suzuki. Suzuki competed in Calgary, Canada, at the Calgary International Cup as part of Team USA on March 16, claiming silver on HB and bronze on FX in just his second international meet as a member of Team USA. Moldauer claimed his third consecutive American Cup all-around crown on March 2 in Greensboro, N.C. Moldauer 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. Moldauer also claimed his second Winter Cup all-around title in February.
The Sooners chase their fifth consecutive and 13th overall national title in Champaign, Ill., at the 2019 NCAA Championships on April 19-20. The preliminary round will take place on April 19 before the team finals on April 20 at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets to the championships at the State Farm Center can be found here.
Fans can renew their season tickets or purchase season tickets for the 2020 season now 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.