Saturday's Red River Rivalry is set for 7 p.m. at the McCasland Field House.
Jan. 29, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- The top-ranked Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team returns to McCasland Field House Saturday night, Jan. 31, for its home opener against the University of Texas club team.
The meet is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. and it marks 2008 National Championship Celebration Day were fans will have the opportunity to meet the gymnasts after the meet while they sign autographs and see the 2008 National Championship trophy.
“We are excited to compete at home. Hopefully the squad will put on a good show for the fans in our first home meet of the season,” said head coach Mark Williams.
Texas is an independent club team made up of gymnasts looking for an opportunity to compete against the nation’s best, even if their school doesn’t sponsor an intercollegiate gymnastics team. And even though the Longhorns are not NCAA foes, Saturday’s matchup is still a meeting of the Red River Rivalry.
“We know that Texas has always been a great Big 12 rival in all sports for Oklahoma and we are excited to be welcoming them up to Norman,” added Williams.
The Sooners’ last competition came against Nebraska on Jan. 18. OU recorded its second straight victory over the then No. 9 Cornhuskers by winning all six events at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. The Sooners scored a 354.300 to beat the Huskers (337.600) in the second meeting of the season.
Oklahoma has had strong performances from senior co-captain Chris Brooks and sophomore Steven Legendre in the first two meets at the Rocky Mountain Open and Nebraska. Both Sooners have led OU and finished one-two in the all-around competition in each of the first two competitions. The duo ranks in the top-three nationally in the all-around (Legendre, 2nd - Brooks, 3rd).
The University of Texas club men’s gymnastics program is undefeated in club meets in the last two years while winning the last three National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) National Championships.
Live Scores: Scores will be available via the live stats page at SoonerSports.com and will be updated following each rotation.
Web Cast: Saturday night’s meet will be broadcast live on Oklahoma All-Access. Fans can access the feed on the Web Casts page.
Coming Up Next Week...
Following the meet with Texas, select Sooners will make the trip to Las Vegas to compete in the Winter Cup (Feb 5-7). The annual individual event helps determine the participants at the U.S. Visa Championships.
Oklahoma’s next home meet will come against Iowa on Cleveland Elementary Night. Students, parents and teachers will pack the Howard McCasland Field House as the annual event is part of a “Partners in Education” program with Cleveland Elementary.
NATIONAL RANKINGS FILLED WITH SOONERS
The Sooners are well represented in the GymInfo national event rankings. At least one OU gymnast is in the top 10 on every apparatus except pommel horse. The following is a list of events and where the Sooners stand based on average score.
6th-Steven Legendre (15.000)
1st-Ian Jackson (15.300)
3rd-Steven Legendre (15.025)
4th-Chris Brooks (14.950)
5th-Kyle McNamara (14.875)
1st-Steven Legendre (16.100)
3rd-Chris Brooks (15.750)
5th-Ian Jackson (15.650)
8th-Bobby Shortle (15.550)
8th-Russell Czeschin (15.550)
1st-Chris Brooks (14.875)
4th-Steven Legendre (14.775)
5th-Steven Legendre (14.575)
10th-Chris Brooks (14.475)
2nd-Steven Legendre (88.625)
3rd-Chris Brooks (87.900)
Move to No. 1...
The University of Oklahoma men’s gymnastics program was at the top of the list in the latest GymInfo poll released on Tuesday. OU vaulted to the No. 1 spot after improving to 5-0 on the season with an impressive win against No. 10 Nebraska on Jan. 18.
The Sooner squad began the regular season ranked No. 2 in the GymInfo pre-season coaches poll after winning the 2008 National Championship. Oklahoma stayed in the No. 2 position after sweeping the competition in the season opener at the Rocky Mountain Open and posting a score of 355.000, the top total this season in the NCAA.
The following are the Sooners’ national event rankings:
Floor Exercise – 3rd - 58.950
Pommel Horse – 2nd - 56.275
Still Rings – 1st - 59.675
Vault - 1st - 63.125
Parallel Bars – 1st - 58.950
High Bar – 2nd - 57.675
Oklahoma sophomore Steven Legendre was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the week on Jan. 21.
The honor was the first of the season for Legendre and the third of his career.
Oklahoma gymnasts claimed all of the individual titles at the Rocky Mountain Open with the help of the Port Jefferson, N.Y., native winning event titles on floor (15.350), vault (15.900), parallel bars (14.950), and high bar (14.700). Legendre also claimed his second Rocky Mountain Open all-around title with an 89.400.
Legendre claimed two event titles (vault and still rings) against conference rival Nebraska on Sunday and upped his season total to seven. The U.S. Senior National team member also finished second in the all-around behind teammate Chris Brooks.
Fresh New Faces...
The Sooners added five freshman for the 2009 season in Chad Crumley, David Finning, Ben Mayer, Troy Nitzky and Pat Piscitelli. This years signing class reaches far across the country. Form Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Oklahoma this group looks to have an impact to the 2009 season for the Sooners.
Horton the Sixth...
The program’s most decorated gymnast, Horton was the 2008 Nissen-Emery recipient in one of the strongest fields in the award’s history.Considered the Heisman Trophy of gymnastics, the Nissen-Emery Award, founded by trampoline inventor George Nissen, has been handed out to the nation’s top senior collegiate gymnast annually since 1966. Since the award’s inception, Oklahoma has claimed a nation-leading six Nissen honorees: Bart Conner (1981), Jarrod Hanks (1991), Dan Fink (1998), Todd Bishop (1999), Daniel Furney (2003) and Jonathan Horton (2008).
All-Americans Back For More...
The Sooners roster is filled with five All-Americans from last year’s squad. In total, Oklahoma gymnasts earned 11 All-America honors in 2008, the second-highest total in the nation. Seniors Russell Czeschin (FX), Chris Brooks (PB, HB), Jason Laughton (PH), Reed Pitts (FX) and sophomore Steven Legendre (FX, V, HB), received national distinction.
Williams Names Captains...
Seniors Jacob Messina and Chris Brooks were named co-captains for the 2009 season by head coach Mark Williams.
Both have been apart of several of the Sooners national championship squads and have received national honors for their effort. Brooks was a two-time All-American last year on high bar and parallel bars while Messina