QUICK PREVIEW The No. 2 University of Oklahoma men's gymnastics team hosts No. 5 Ohio State Saturday at 7 p.m. on Senior Night at McCasland Field House. It is the final regular season meet of the season for the Sooners (14-1, 3-1 MPSF) as they look to extend their regular season home unbeaten streak to 22 straight meets against the Buckeyes (6-5-1, 4-4-1 Big Ten).
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW Oklahoma is 14-1 after a 432.100-431.250 upset victory at then-No. 2 Michigan on March 9 and moved up to second in the latest GymInfo national rankings with a 439.450 four-score average. Ohio State is 6-5-1 and fifth in the national rankings with a 433.233 average.
The Sooners and Buckeyes are meeting for the second time this season. The two teams competed at the Metroplex Challenge on Jan. 25, where OU finished first with a 441.500, 12.100 points higher than OSU's second-place 429.400.
In the team event rankings, Oklahoma and Ohio State are both ranked in the top 10 on each event. Oklahoma boasts a No. 1 ranking on floor (74.867), is second on pommel horse (72.783) and high bar (72.667), third on parallel bars (72.683), fourth on still rings (74.767) and tied for sixth on vault 72.983). Ohio State is third on floor (74.450) and pommel horse (72.600).
With OU's depth a strength, Oklahoma is represented 15 times in the individual event rankings. Twelve Sooners are ranked in the top 20 at least once, while ten earned top-10 rankings and two are ranked on at least two events. Sophomore Alec Robin is ranked on three events. He is fifth on floor (15.087), sixth in the all-around (84.117) and 11th on high bar (14.356).
Saturday's contest is OU's regular season finale. As the Sooners compete for their 22nd straight regular season win at home, seniors Troy Nitzky and Chris Stehl will be recognized. The 2003 national championship team will also be honored throughout the meet.
SOONER SPORTS TV, LIVE RESULTS AND UPDATES
The meet will be broadcast by Sooner Sports TV and air on Fox Sports Southwest + and Fox College Sports Central. Chad McKee and former Oklahoma gymnast Jason Laughton will call the action. Laughton was a member of OU's 2006 and 2008 national championship teams, helped the Sooners win three conference titles and earned All-American honors on pommel horse in 2008.
Chris Stehl | Sr. | Still Rings Scored a 15.500 on still rings to lead OU's come-from-behind upset win at Michigan
Named the MPSF Gymnast of the Week on March 12 after his 15.500 at Michigan
Tied for ninth nationally with a 15.317 four score
average on rings
Expected to compete on rings Saturday in his final meet at the OU Field House
TICKETS, PROMOTIONS AND THE 2003 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
Single-meet tickets are available at $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Group ticket plans are also available. Tickets can be purchased online here
or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free
Free OU foam fingers will be given to fans while supplies last, and the first 250 fans will receive a free small popcorn and soda. Additionally, t-shirts will be thrown into the crowd throughout the meet. At the conclusion of the competition the Sooners will be available to sign autographs.
The 2003 national champion men's gymnastics team, one of the most dominant in OU Athletics history, will be recognized Saturday. The 2003 squad claimed the fifth of OU's eight national titles and their second consecutive NCAA crown. The Sooners were led by Nissen Emery Award winner Daniel Furney, who was named the nation's top gymnast and won two individual titles that season. Oklahoma gymnasts won a total of 11 All-American honors and four individual national titles. OU also won its fifth consecutive conference championship.
OU seniors Troy Nitzky and Chris Stehl will also be honored as part of the Senior Day celebrations. Nitzky is a two-time All-American on still rings, while Stehl claimed All-America honors on rings last season. Both have helped the Sooners win two conference titles and finish in the top three at the NCAA Championships every season.
HEAD COACH MARK WILLIAMS ON FACING NO. 5 OHIO STATE
"Ohio State traditionally has always been a gymnastics powerhouse, there have been many championships where we've had to go through them to win. This year they're rebuilding a little bit, but with Rustam Sharipov at the helm I know they are going to be back and stronger than ever in the coming years. Ranked fifth now, they're still a dangerous team and we'll have to have a good day. Being our last home meet and senior night, I expect that we'll be in good position emotionally and hope to finish out the regular season in a position where we can maintain our high ranking going into the conference and NCAA championships."
SCOUTING THE FIFTH-RANKED BUCKEYES
No. 5 Ohio State is 6-5-1 on the season and 4-4-1 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are coming off a 439.200-409.050 home win against No. 15 UIC on March 9.
Ohio State is ranked in the top ten nationally in all six events. They are third on floor (74.450) and pommel horse (72.600), fourth on high bar (71.867), fifth on vault (73.317), ninth on rings (72.250) and 10th on parallel bars (70.567).
The Buckeyes are represented eight times in the individual rankings and at least once on five events. Sophomores Jeff Treleaven and Drew Moling are ranked on two events, while junior Michael Newburger is second on pommel horse (15.267). Treleaven is ranked in the top ten on both events, in fourth on floor (15.300) and sixth on vault (14.983).
Head coach Rustam Sharipov is in his second season leading the Buckeyes. He was an assistant at Oklahoma from 2005-2011 under OU head coach Mark Williams and helped the Sooners win two national titles.
HOT AT HOME
Oklahoma hasn't lost a regular-season meet at home in 21 meets, dating back to a loss to Ohio State on March 3, 2007. Last season, OU rolled to four straight home wins over Iowa, Stanford, Michigan and Nebraska and Air Force, averaging 355.300 points a meet. Out of 24 events in the four meets, the Sooners claimed titles in 23, failing to top an opponent only once (pommel horse vs. Stanford).
GYMINFO NATIONAL RANKINGS
Oklahoma moved up to second in this week's GymInfo
National Top 10 Rankings. Rankings are determined by taking a team's four highest scores, and dropping the highest score. The three remaining scores are averaged. Past and future
OU opponents are in bold.
1. Penn State (444.767 )
6. Illinois (431.717)
2. OKLAHOMA (439.450)
7. Minnesota (430.700)
3. Michigan (436.800)
8. California (426.450)
4. Stanford (434.317)
9. Iowa (425.517)
5. Ohio State (433.233)
10. Air Force (424.783)
THREE MPSF GYMNASTS OF THE WEEK
Senior Chris Stehl and sophomores Jacoby Rubin and Alec Robin have all earned MPSF Gymnast of the Week honors this year.
Rubin earned the award on Jan. 29 after he posted a team-best score of 15.000 on high bar, tied a team high with a 14.800 on pommel horse and scored a career-high 15.050 on rings at the Metroplex Challenge.
Robin was honored on Feb. 5 after he scored career-highs on five of six events, in addition to a career-high and first-place 85.400 in the all-around at Iowa. He recorded career highs on floor (15.300), pommel horse (13.800) and rings (13.200) and tied his career highs on vault (14.800) and high bar (14.550).
Stehl earned the second conference accolade of his career on March 12 after his season-high tying 15.500 on still rings lead No. 3 OU to a 432.100-431.250 upset win at then-No. 2 Michigan.
LAST TIME OUT: AT NO. 2 MICHIGAN
Then-No. 3 Oklahoma pulled off a come-from-behind, upset win at No. 2 Michigan on March 9. OU defeated the Wolverines 432.100-431.250, their smallest victory margin of the year.
The Sooners found themselves down by 6.050 points after three rotations, but OU used the second half of competition to climb back and defeat the Wolverines, who suffered their first loss of the season.
OU won three team events and three individual event titles. Chris Stehl's season-high 15.500 on rings tied a team high and earned him MPSF Gymnast of the Week honors.
FORMER SOONER JACOB DALTON ON THE WORLD STAGE Former OU gymnast and 2012 Olympian Jacob Dalton won a silver medal on high bar and a bronze medal on floor at the 2013 French International on March 17 in La Roche sur Yon, France.
Dalton won the 2013 AT&T American Cup on March 2 with an all-around score of 89.398 in Worcester, Mass. Competing against eight of the best international gymnasts, Dalton also won the floor, rings, vault and high bar titles. It was his first World Cup all-around crown. He finished third in the all-around and came in first on floor and tied for first on parallel bars at the 2011 American Cup.
Dalton won the all-around title at the 2013 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev. with a two-day score of 173.250 on Feb. 7 and 9. He also won individual event titles on floor and rings with two-day totals of 31.250 and 29.650, respectively.
Dalton, a 2012 Olympian, was a four-time national champion in three seasons at Oklahoma. He earned 13 All-American honors and helped OU win two conference titles. He has been a U.S. senior national team member since 2009 and has won four U.S. championships.
OU inspires champions today and prepares leaders for tomorrow by enabling its student-athletes to achieve their highest academic, athletic and personal aspirations. The OU Athletics Department sponsors 21 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes and is completely self-supporting.
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