No. 1 OU Claims Eighth Straight Conference Title
NORMAN — The No. 1 ranked Oklahoma men's gymnastics team won its eighth consecutive MPSF conference title on Saturday inside McCasland Field House. The Sooners narrowly edged No. 2 Stanford 420.500-418.550 to win their 18th MPSF crown and extend their winning streak to 116. Cal (394.700) and Air Force took (382.200) third and fourth.
"They aren't getting any easier to continue this streak and continue our record of conference championships,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “Even though we had the home court, you still have to come out and perform. I thought the guys were a little bit tight in the beginning. Once we got going, gymnastics is still gymnastics. We rallied and I'm very proud of the effort these guys have made to do what they did today. That was a hard-fought battle."
Three Sooners won conference titles on the day with senior co-captain Yul Moldauer taking the all-around title (87.700) and winning crowns on pommel horse (14.250), still rings (15.250) and parallel bars (15.150). Fellow senior co-captain Levi Anderson took home the vault title with an impressive 15.250. Sophomore Gage Dyer claimed his first career conference crown with a 14.650 on floor exercise.
Moldauer recapped his last meet as a Sooner at historic McCasland Field House. “I am going to miss this place a lot,” said the 12-time conference champ. “I just want to say thank you to everyone that's been here over the years. We wouldn't have a place like this if it wasn't for everyone working so hard before us. Every single detail, everyone that cleans up the gym even the people who set it up, all the staff, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone at OU who just makes the Field House literally the best place to compete in with the best fans."
OU competed Olympic order on Saturday, beginning the meet on floor exercise with a 69.150. Dyer notched a 14.650 tally to take the conference title, while Moldauer chipped in a 14.100 routine.
The Sooners responded well in the second rotation on pommel horse, putting up 67.550 points. Moldauer claimed his first conference title of the day on the event with a 14.650 in the anchor spot. Senior horse specialist Brian Schibler contributed with a 13.800 that tied his season best and took second overall for the meet. Senior co-captain Genki Suzuki helped the Sooners sweep the pommel horse podium, taking third overall with a 13.650.
Moving to still rings for the third rotation, OU registered its first NCAA event high of the day, posting a 72.100. Moldauer led the Sooners yet again, winning his second conference crown of the meet with an exceptional 15.250 set. The score ranks as the top still rings mark of the NCAA season. Fellow senior Peter Daggett took second place overall with a season-best 14.750.
"Thank you to everyone at OU who makes the Field House literally the best place to compete in with the best fans."
- Yul Moldauer
Trailing by over two points heading into the fourth rotation on vault, the Sooners brought the McCasland crowd to its feet on the team's best event. OU recorded its second NCAA season-high of the conference championship with a 73.900, led by Anderson's NCAA-high 15.250 stuck vault. Every Sooner that competed on the event went 14.200-plus, with junior Tanner Justus notching a season-high 14.950 and Moldauer and Dyer chipping in 14.750 routines.
“That was awesome,” said Anderson about the Sooners vault performance. “Especially being in the Field House and it being the last time I will compete in here. It was really special to get that reaction from the crowd, especially since I know we needed a big score on vault. That was going to be the event that was going to kind of pull us away.
“When I saw Tanner hit, that's what I like to call Sooner magic. I was like ‘Oh, we just got it started, now all I've got to do is keep it going'. When I hit the table, I could tell off the direction of the table that if I just stayed in, I'd be good. It turned out the way that it did and I couldn't be happier about it."
After its big fourth rotation on vault, OU moved into first and didn't look back. The Sooners tallied 68.250 on parallel bars in the fifth rotation. Moldauer paced the squad again, winning his third conference title of the meet with a 15.150. Daggett put up a solid 14.000 to help the Sooners stay in the lead heading into the final rotation.
The meet came down to the sixth and final rotation with the Sooners on high bar and the Cardinal on vault. The last four Sooners to compete stuck their dismounts to ensure an eighth straight conference title for Oklahoma in front of the home crowd. Dyer led OU with a 14.300 routine, while Suzuki and Anderson notched 14.250 sets. Dyer claimed second on the event with his performance and Suzuki and Anderson took home shares of third place.
With four conference titles on Saturday and 12 in his career, Moldauer moved past Olympian Jonathan Horton for the most individual conference titles in program history.
Up next, the Sooners head to Champaign, Ill., for the 2019 NCAA Championships. OU chases its fifth straight national title and NCAA-record 13th overall on April 19-20 at the State Farm Center.