Sooners Post Country's Best Score
NORMAN — The top-ranked University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team came out on top in its first home meet of the season, totaling 418.000, the highest score in the NCAA this season. The Sooners bested No. 2 Nebraska (403.900) and No. 4 Stanford (410.500) at McCasland Field House. Oklahoma outscored the Cornhuskers and Cardinal on three of six events.
"It was nice to put out a statement score," OU head coach Mark Williams said. "It showed everyone Oklahoma hasn't gone anywhere."
Yul Moldauer posted three event titles, placing first on floor, pommel horse and still rings. He also won the all-around title with an 87.150, the highest individual mark in the country this season. He led OU on all six events.
"Yul has a certain style and grace about him," Williams said. "He's a catalyst for us on every event. He got the energy going tonight."
OU grabbed the lead early on and did not let go. On the first rotation, the Sooners improved on floor by two-and-a-half points from last week, totaling a 69.050. Moldauer, who performed on floor for the first time this season, led the team with a 14.400. Tanner Justus made his 2018 debut and scored 13.450. Hunter Justus (13.850), Gage Dyer (13.800) and Levi Anderson (13.550) rounded out the lineup for the Sooners.
"I liked the energy we started off with this week," Williams said. "I feel like we are back on track. Guys performed well and I am really happy with that."
OU caught fire during the second rotation and posted a 69.700 on pommel horse, the highest score in the country this season. Moldauer once again paced the Sooners with a 14.300. Genki Suzuki was second for OU with a 14.150, Brian Schibler recorded a career-high 14.00 and Grant Kell (13.700) and Tanner Justus (13.400) helped the team widen its lead.
The Sooners continued to impress on still rings. They posted the top four scores of the night, and Moldauer (14.600) continued his fantastic meet with his second event title of the evening.
"He's got a really beautiful ring routine," Williams said. "He's pretty strong for a guy that size."
Reese Rickett (14.200), Jake Maloley (14.100) and Levi Anderson (13.900) rounded out the top four for the Sooners. As a team, OU tied for the second highest national still rings score of the season, a 70.450.
At the halfway point, OU was at 209.200, Stanford 202.400 and Nebraska 201.550.
Oklahoma moved to vault next and continued its dominant evening. It totaled a 71.900, the third-highest score in the country this year. Moldauer posted the high score for the Sooners with a 14.700. Hunter Justus placed second with a 14.650 and was followed by Suzuki (14.400), Anderson (14.200) and Dyer (13.950).
With a sizable lead, the Sooners did not slow down on parallel bars, scoring a 70.400. Moldauer earned another event title with his 14.900, while Anderson (14.150) and Isamu Ito (14.100) both notched career highs in the event.
In the final rotation, Oklahoma tallied a 66.500 on high bar to put the finishing touches on a convincing win. Moldauer finished his all-around performance with a 14.250 and Suzuki followed with a 13.700. Hunter Justus (13.200), Anderson (12.950) and Kell (12.400) finished off the meet for OU.
McCasland Field House was electric throughout the night as 1,751 fans, including many students from Cleveland Elementary School, watched OU's phenomenal performance.
"Cleveland Elementary Night is always a great way to start the year for us," Williams said. "It was a really good crowd. It really helped our gymnasts get going."
Next week, the Sooners continue their home stand Saturday at 7 p.m. as they host No. 10 Iowa. The meet will serve as "Alumni Night," with about 45 men's gymnastics alumni scheduled to return to McCasland to cheer on the Sooners.
The team will also honor former gymnast Ric Swezey, who passed away in 2017. Swezey, a former national champion, remained an active and enthusiastic Sooner supporter, both as a donor to his alma mater (he continued contributing to the Iron Cross Club) and as a physical presence at OU gymnastics events around the world, including the most recent NCAA Championships that he attended with his family. The Sooners will celebrate Swezey's life by showing footage of his routines from the 1991 national championship throughout the meet. For tickets to "Alumni Night" or any of the other home dates at McCasland, call the Oklahoma Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU, or click here.