April 5, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - After a hard-fought battle with defending champion Ohio State tonight at the Lloyd Noble Center, the Sooners avenged their 2001 loss by winning their fourth national title and first since 1991 with a 219.300 in front of 1,916 spectators.
"This is a big thrill," said OU head coach Mark Williams. "Winning the national championship at home is amazing. As a coach I thank my players for the effort that they gave today. The heart that they showed down the stretch was amazing. I never knew that we had it won until Daniel Furney (the final competitor) landed on the high bar. I think the key for us was Quinn Rowell on the high bar."
Rowell, who has been sidelined by injuries much of his three-year career, came back this year after breaking his arm and won the high bar with a 9.400 to propel the Sooners to the first place finish.
"I don't know what to say," said Rowell. "I have to thank Mark Williams. It's been a long three years since I got here and I've been hurt a lot. Every chance I had to do something, I got hurt. Mark didn't give up on me and neither did the guys. This is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was well worth the wait."
OU sophomore Jock Stevens, who has been ranked No. 1 on the vault much of the season, took first place with a 9.525.
Despite placing second in the team event, Ohio State's Raj Bhavsar took first in the all-around with a 55.875. California's JinJing Zhang took second with a 55.200.
The individual titles will be determined on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center. The top eight finishers in each event will advance to the finals for a chance to win national titles. Tickets are available at the Lloyd Noble box office. Adult admission is $8 and children under 12 are admitted for $4.