Six different Sooners win individual event titles as OU routs Nebraska and Air Force without Jake Dalton.
March 17, 2012
| Air Force
NORMAN, Okla. -- The top-ranked Oklahoma men's gymnastics team closed out its four-meet homestand with a tri-meet win over No. 9 Nebraska and No. 11 Air Force on Saturday at the McCasland Field House.
The Sooners (13-1, 5-0 MPSF) posted a 352.400 to top the Huskers (341.550) and Falcons (327.950) without the contribution of the nation's top all-around gymnast, Jake Dalton. The OU junior is competing for Team USA this weekend at the Kellogg's Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Wash.
Without Dalton, Oklahoma still managed to sweep all six event titles with six Sooners winning individual titles - Raymond White (floor), Troy Nitzky (pommel horse), Chris Stehl (rings), Michael Heredia (vault), Jacoby Rubin (parallel bars) and Dylan Akers (high bar).
"I think it was a great way to send our seniors out," said OU Head Coach Mark Williams. "We were without Jake Dalton, our biggest scorer for a lot of our events, so we gave opportunities to some different guys and they responded really well. We had a great hit percentage and energy throughout the meet. Overall, I was very pleased with everyone's performance."
The meet served as the final home event at the McCasland Field House for seniors Mike Heredia, Patrick Piscitelli and Chad Crumley. The three Sooners never lost a meet at the McCasland Field House during their time in a Sooner uniform.
Oklahoma began the meet by topping a 60 on floor for the fourth-straight meet and sixth time this season with a 60.200. OU, the nation's No. 1 team on floor, claimed the event's title for the 26th consecutive regular-season meet.
Sophomore Raymond White (15.350) and seniors Mike Heredia (15.050) and Patrick Piscitelli (15.000) led the Sooners with a trio of scores of 15 or higher.
The Sooners put up a 56.500 on pommel horse behind Troy Nitzky's 14.600 and Jacoby Rubin's 14.450. After two rotations, the Sooners led the second-place Huskers by a margin of 1.450 points, 116.700-115.250.
Oklahoma quickly began to pull away in the next rotation by posting a 58.900 on rings. Stehl took the event title with a 15.000 followed by a career-high 14.800 by Presten Ellsworth.
On vault, the Sooners totaled a season-best 59.800 behind Heredia's 15.100 and Piscitelli's 15.050. Oklahoma topped a 59 on vault for the fifth consecutive meet.
The Sooners pieced together a 58.900 on parallel bars in the fifth rotation behind career highs from Rubin (14.950) and Ellsworth (14.900).
Oklahoma closed the meet on high bar with a 58.100 to seal the victory. Freshman Dylan Akers led the meet with a 14.650 on the apparatus to take the event title.
The meet marked the fourth-straight and final home event of the regular season. During the stretch, Oklahoma has rolled to victories over Iowa (356.250-334.400), Stanford (357.050-351.400), Michigan (355.500-348.950) and now Nebraska and Air Force, averaging 355.300 points a meet.
Out of 24 events from the four meets, the Sooners claimed titles in 23, failing to top an opponent only once (pommel horse vs. Stanford).
Although Saturday was their final regular-season competition in Norman, the Sooners still look forward to hosting the 2012 NCAA Championships at the Lloyd Noble Center, April 19-21. Oklahoma has hosted the NCAA Championships twice in the past decade and claimed the NCAA title both times (2002 and 2006).
Oklahoma closes out the regular season with a tri-meet against Ohio State and Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. on March 24.