| Air Force
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- For the 14th straight season, the University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team advanced to the NCAA Finals with a 433.850 to finish second in its qualifier Friday afternoon at Rec Hall in State College, Pa.
The Sooners will look to win their ninth national title and sixth since 2002 in Saturday night's team finals. In the past 12 years, all under current head coach Mark Williams, Oklahoma has never finished below third nationally.
Since 2000, OU is the only collegiate men's gymnastics program to finish in the top four every year at the NCAA Championships, a streak that includes five NCAA championships and five second-place finishes. Oklahoma came in second in 2011 and 2012.
"We did what we were supposed to do to qualify for the team finals," Williams said.
"We had a very good meet, were very consistent and hit 96 percent of our routines. We get to be in a national championship and compete for a title, so I'm excited to be a part of that again."
The second-ranked Sooners finished behind No. 3 Michigan, who scored a 443.850. No. 7 Illinois finished third with a 426.900 to secure the third spot in tomorrow's team finals. No. 6 Minnesota, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Air Force failed to advance.
OU gymnasts Michael Squires and Alec Robin posted meet-high scores.
Squire's scored the top score on rings with a 15.850, while Robin tied for the highest mark on vault with a 15.300 on vault. Michigan posted high scores on every event as a team.
"This team has done great the whole season," Williams said. Getting into the team finals has been a major accomplishment. Everything from here on is just about keeping on doing what we're doing and try to finish up on a high note."
OU's qualifying scores of 70.000 or higher on each event mark the second-straight meet that the Sooners have scored at least a 70.000 on all six events. No other team accomplished that feat at the conference championships two weeks ago, and only Michigan posted six scores of 70.000 or higher in the first qualifier.
At last night's NCAA banquet, Williams was named the West Region Coach of the Year, while OU assistants Guard Young and Norimasa Iwai were awarded with West Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
In the qualifying round, the Sooners opened with a 74.100 on floor and took the lead after the first rotation. Minnesota was second with a 71.900, while Michigan had a bye. Robin led OU with a 15.250, followed by Presten Ellsworth's 14.850 and Raymond White's 14.800.
After a bye on the second rotation, OU posted a 70.200 on pommel horse, its second-lowest point total of the season. Sergey Resnick scored a 14.450, which was a team high.
The Sooners notched a 74.100 on rings, their third event. Squires anchored OU with his meet-high 15.850, while William Clement notched a career-high 14.900. At the halfway point in the Sooners' competition, they had a 218.400.
Oklahoma recorded a 73.45 on vault, its second highest total of the season on the event. Robin scored a team-high 15.300, while all five OU gymnasts posted a score of 14.400 or higher.
On its fifth event, Oklahoma scored a 71.150 on parallel bars. The Sooners closed with a 70.850 on high bar, their final event.
No. 2 Oklahoma will compete for its ninth NCAA Championship Saturday night in the NCAA team finals.
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