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Oklahoma Seeks Ninth National Title
April 14, 2011
 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships  
 Team Finals  Friday, April 15 at 6 p.m. CT
 Event Finals  Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m. CT
 Location  Columbus, Ohio | NCAA Information
 TV/Radio  ESPN2 (tape delay), April 21 at 12:30 p.m. CT
 Online  Live Stats

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championship will be up for grabs Friday night inside St. John Arena on the campus of Ohio State.  Six teams will vie for the title of national champion: Stanford, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Penn State, California.  All six schools finished in the top three in their respective qualifying sessions on Thursday to advance to the team finals.

The Sooners finished first in the first session of the NCAA Championships Qualifier with a team score of 363.500 on Thursday night, while conference rival Stanford scored a 366.100 to win the second session.

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From April 14, 2011: Qualifier Release

COLUMBUS, Ohio -
The top-ranked Oklahoma men's gymnastics team advanced to the NCAA Championship team finals for the 12th consecutive season after posting a 363.500 in Thursday's qualifying session on the campus of Ohio State.  OU placed first in the session amongst the six teams, finishing ahead of No. 4 Illinois (356.000) and No. 5 Penn State (356.000). 

The 363.500 posted by the team marks the highest qualifying score in OU program history.

The three teams will compete for the 2011 NCAA Championship on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT) against the top three teams from Thursday's evening session. No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Air Force and No. 12 Illinois-Chicago failed to qualify for Friday's finals.

The second qualifying session, featuring No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Cal, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Iowa, gets underway at 6 p.m. (CT) in Columbus, Ohio.

The Sooners have advanced to the team finals in every season under head coach Mark Williams.

"We did what we wanted to do. I am surprised we finished with the high score that we did," said OU Head Coach Mark Williams. "It was well deserved and I was really happy with our effort today."

OU claimed three of the six team events on floor (62.800), vault (65.200) and parallel bars (60.500).

Leading Oklahoma was sophomore Jacob Dalton, claiming half of the individual event titles (floor, parallel bars and vault). The Reno, Nev., native posted career highs on parallel bars (15.650) and vault (16.800) and tied a career high on floor (16.250).

Dalton's 16.800 on vault is an OU program and NCAA record, which he previously broke against Penn State and Illinois (16.700). 

"Today was a good day. We came in and did what we wanted," said senior Ian Jackson. "We also got to experiment with some of the upper classmen. We did our job but we still have work to do for tomorrow's championship."

In his last meet of the season, redshirt senior CJ Grimes counted a 14.700 on rings for the team score.

"I really have to hand it to CJ, a walk-on senior," added Williams. "He came through on rings and counted for the team score. He is an amazing story."

Throughout the week, SoonerSports.com will feature exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of the 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, as well as live scoring and recaps from all three days of competition.

"We will put our best team out tomorrow," continued Williams. "I feel like we have gained some confidence from this afternoon's performance and hopefully we can compete for a national championship."

ESPN2 will be broadcasting the team and all-around finals of the championships on tape-delay, Thursday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

2011 Roster | 2011 Schedule | 2011 Blog | 2011 Media Guide | Facebook

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 2011 Nissen-Emery Award Winner

Steven Legendre | Senior | All-Around
Oklahoma gymnast Steven Legendre is the winner of the 2011 Nissen-Emery Award, given annually to the nation's most outstanding senior collegiate gymnast. Legendre is the seventh Sooner to garner collegiate gymnastics' top honor. OU's seven honorees lead the nation, with Legendre's award breaking a tie between Oklahoma and Penn State for the top spot 

   


CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES


TOTAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Penn State (12)
Illinois (9)
OKLAHOMA (8)
Nebraska (8)
California (4), Michigan (4)
Ohio State (3), Stanford (3)

OKLAHOMA CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY

2008 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY STANFORD UNIVERSITY
The Sooners won their fifth title in the last seven season while finishing the season 28-1. Senior Jonathan Horton won the still rings title while freshmen Steven Legendre captured the floor and vault titles. The Sooners rounded out the 2008 season with 11 All-America honors, second highest in the nation.

2006 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
OU won its fourth NCAA crown in five years while compiling a perfect 31-0 record. Jonathan Horton captured the all-around, as well as
individual titles on the parallel bars and high bar. The Sooners again led the nation in All-
America honors, setting a school record with 14 honorees.

2005 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
The Sooners won their third title in four years under Mark Williams, finishing 21-2 on the season and leading the nation with 13 All-America honors. David Henderson was the still rings champion and Jonathan Horton brought home five All-America honors.

2003 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
The Sooners won their second straight title in 2003 under Mark Williams with a perfect 26-0 record. Daniel Furney (Nissen Award winner) was the all-around and parallel bars champion. Josh Landis won titles on the floor and pommel horse.

2002 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
OU won its fourth national championship on its home floor after suffering just one defeat in the 2002 season. The Sooners, guided by Mark Williams, went 28-1 one year after finishing as NCAA runners-up.

1991 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Head coach Greg Buwick produced OU's third national title and his first of three Nissen Award winners with Jarrod Hanks in 1991. Buwick's Sooners went 15-1 and also won the Big Eight title.

1978 NCAA CHAMPIONS4
HOSTED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Head Coach Paul Ziert and the Sooners won their second straight national title with a 10-1 season. OU was led by All-American Bart Conner who won his second straight all-around title.

1977 NCAA CHAMPIONS
HOSTED BY ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Four years into the Paul Ziert era, OU won its first national title. The Sooners (7-1) tied Indiana State for the national crown. It remains the only tie in NCAA team championship history.

32 INDIVIDUAL TITLES
Oklahoma is currently ranked fourth in the nation with 32 individual NCAA National Championships. Senior Steven Legendre sits with six individual titles tied Jonathan Horton, both of whom own the program lead.

CONSECUTIVE NATIONAL TITLES
Since the creation of collegiate men's gymnastics (1953), only seven schools that still sponsor the sports have won consecutive national championships.

Oklahoma is the only men's gymnastics program to have won two straight or more on three separate occasions.

Penn State and Nebraska are the only schools to win three or more straight titles. After winning back-to-back titles in 1953 and 1954, Penn State won three in a row from 1959 to 1961. Nebraska ran an impressive string of four straight titles from 1979-1982. OU's eight national championships ties Nebraska for third all-time behind Penn State (12) and Illinois
(9).

SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

SETTING NEW BAR AT RMO
The meet was highlighted by two Sooners that posted RMO record highs with Legendre's 16.400 on vault and Dalton's 15.100 on parallel bars.

Four current Sooners, including Dalton (high bar parallel bars), Legendre (floor, vault, allaround), Jackson (rings) and Alex Naddour (pommel horse) hold each of the event records for the Rocky Mountain Open.

OKLAHOMA HOSTS NATIONAL TEAM CAMP
The University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team is hosted the U.S. National Team Training Camp, March 24, at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center.

The U.S. Senior National Team consists of the top gymnasts from around the country that represent the United States on an international level.

The camp consisted of team workouts, team building exercises and a review of recent events and goals for 2011.

HORTON, DALTON TAKE OVER 2011 AMERICAN CUP
Former OU All-American Jonathan Horton won the 2011 AT&T American Cup all-around title with a score of 90.198 on March 5. This is Horton's third American Cup victory, previously winning the competition in 2006 and 2007.

OU sophomore Jacob Dalton, who won the 2011 Winter Cup Challenge, joined Horton on the podium finishing third in the competition with an all-around score of 88.497. The Reno, Nev., native also finished first on floor (15.766) and tied for first on parallel bars (15.066).

This was Dalton's first Tyson American Cup competition.

DALTON, SOONERS DOMINATE 2011 WINTER CUP
OU sophomore Jacob Dalton won the 2011 Winter Cup all-around title and regained his position on the U.S. Senior National Team on Feb. 5. Overall, one third of the national team will remain from the University of Oklahoma men's program.

Dalton is the second straight Sooner to win the all-around at the Winter Cup. In 2010, current OU graduate assistant coach Chris Brooks claimed the crown.

Joining Dalton on the U.S. National Team are Brooks, sophomore Alex Naddour, senior Steven Legendre and Olympic silver medalist Jonathan Horton. The four Sooners showcased their talents in the sport Saturday night at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., as three of the four current Sooners sent to the event were selected to the national team following strong performances.

Dalton and Naddour were the latest to be named to the team, while Brooks, Horton and Legendre automatically retain their spots on the national team as members of the 2010 World Championships Team.

PRE-SEASON PROMINENCE
In the last 11 years, the OU men's gymnastics program has been ranked in the top three of the preseason coaches poll every season. Six of the 11 years the Sooners have been positioned at the top of the poll.

BRINGING IN MORE TALENT
For the 2011 season head coach Mark Williams signed Presten Ellsworth as a part of the 2010 signing class.

Presten Ellsworth
Hometown: Allen, Texas
High School: Allen | Club: WOGA

A native of Allen, Texas, Ellsworth was a member of the USA Junior National Team for the 2005-06 season and is coached by Sergei Pakanich, at WOGA Gymnastics. In 2009, Ellsworth competed at the Men's Junior Olympic National Championships where he finished third on floor and 11th in the all-around and also competed at the Visa Championships.

In 2008, he also competed in Men's Junior Olympic National Championships and Visa Championships finishing seventh all-around in both events

LEADING THE 2010 SOONERS
Seniors Ian Jackson and Steven Legendre were named co-captains for the 2011 season by head coach Mark Williams. Both were a part of the Sooners 2008 National Championship squad and have received national honors for their effort.

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