Sooners Tabbed as One Seed for NCAA Championships
NORMAN – The University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team was announced this week as the top seed for the upcoming NCAA Championships in Champaign, Ill., April 19-20 at the State Farm Center on the campus of the University of Illinois.
The Sooners will compete in Session II of Friday's pre-qualifying sessions, slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT. OU will face off against No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Penn State, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 12 Army in its preliminary.
The afternoon qualifier features No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Michigan, No. 6 Minnesota, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 10 Navy and No. 11 California. Session I is set for a 1 p.m. start.
Oklahoma defeated nine of the 11 other teams that qualified for the championships throughout the 2019 regular season and conference championship, including three of the Sooners five opponents in their qualifying session.
The team finals will take place Saturday evening at 6 p.m. The top three teams from each pre-qualifying session will advance to the championship round.
Both preliminary rounds will be streamed live on NCAA.com and the team finals on Saturday will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.
Tickets and more information on the 2019 NCAA Championships in Champaign can be found here.
LAST TIME OUT
Top-ranked OU last competed April 6 at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship in Norman. The Sooners topped Stanford (418.550), Cal (394.700) and Air Force (382.200) with a final tally of 420.500. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer, competing at historic McCasland Field House for the last time as a Sooner, compiled four conference titles, winning the all-around crown (87.700) and titles on pommel horse (14.250), still rings (15.250) and parallel bars (15.150). Fellow senior captain Levi Anderson won the conference title on vault with an impressive stuck 15.250. Sophomore Gage Dyer won his first career conference crown with a 14.650 on floor exercise.
The team title marked the Sooners eighth straight conference championship and 18th MPSF title overall, the most in the conference. Moldauer's four titles brought his career conference titles number to 12, passing Olympian Jonathan Horton's 10.
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, OU head coach Mark Williams would also top the coaching charts with a record 10 titles as head coach. Moldauer, with one more individual national title, would break a tie to move into sole possession of the most individual national titles in NCAA history.
WIN 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 116 victories, including 70 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).
NISSEN-EMERY FINALIST YUL MOLDAUER
Senior Yul Moldauer has made his mark on the OU record books and will look to cap his historic collegiate career next weekend when the Sooners compete at the national championships. 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. The winner will be announced on Thursday, April 18 at a pre-championship banquet in Champaign.
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 put 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 compete at the NCAA Championships next weekend.
The Sooners hold the best national qualifying average (421.163) and claim the top spots on still rings (70.925), vault (73.150) and high bar (69.950).
The team also ranks in the top three on the other three events, coming in second on floor exercise (70.925) and parallel bars (69.488) and third on pommel horse (67.500).
• Individually, Sooner gymnasts hold three of the top-10 national spots on floor exercise. Sophomore and conference champ on the event Dyer ranks first with an NQA of 14.650, while Moldauer sits fifth (14.413). Freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes rounds out the top 10 at 10th with an NQA of 14.350. Moldauer holds fourth on pommel horse with an NQA of 14.325 after claiming the conference title against the Cardinal, Bears and Falcons with a 14.250.
• OU occupies three of the top seven spots in the country on still rings. Moldauer (14.950) moved into first after claiming the conference crown last Saturday with an NCAA-best 15.250. Fellow seniors Peter Daggett and Jake Maloley sit fifth and seventh, respectively, with NQAs of 14.400 and 14.313.
• On the event that the Sooners average an NCAA-best 73.150, vault, OU gymnasts hold four of the top 10 individual spots. Senior Levi Anderson (14.763) ranks third after winning the MPSF title with his NCAA-best 15.250 performance. Dyer (14.700) sits fourth, while junior Tanner Justus (14.663) and Guimaraes (14.575) come in fifth and ninth, respectively.
• Moldauer also tops the charts on parallel bars with an impressive NQA of 14.988. The Nissen-Emery finalist won the conference title on the event with a 15.150 routine.
• The Sooners land three in the top five on high bar, led by Anderson (14.500) in the one spot. Dyer (14.363) ranks third, while senior Genki Suzuki comes in fifth with a 14.238 NQA.