NORMAN – Highlighted with four regular season competitions at historic McCasland Field House along with hosting the MPSF conference meet, University of Oklahoma Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and head men’s gymnastics coach Mark Williams announced the Sooners’ 2019 schedule Tuesday morning.
The four-time defending national champion Sooners face a challenging slate in pursuit of their fifth consecutive title.
“I think we have a very good team,” said Williams. “We did not lose many scorers from last year and we hope to continue our success with some tough meets to prepare us for another run at a national championship.”
OU opens the season with a trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete in the Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 12 against a tough group of opponents which includes 2018 national runner-up Minnesota.
The Sooners’ home opener is slated for Jan. 19 and with a showdown against Arizona State and MPSF rival Air Force at McCasland Field House.
The following week the Sooners welcome Big Ten opponent Ohio State to Norman for a Jan. 26 meet against the Buckeyes.
“The Rocky Mountain Open in January will be a pretty good test right out of the box because Minnesota, Ohio State and Nebraska are all planning on attending,” said Williams. “Minnesota was the runner up last year and Ohio State was just out of the top six so it is a pretty good test right at the beginning.
“Then we settle in with the home and home normal dual competitions that we have. We’re looking forward to hosting four very good teams in home competitions with Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois coming in.”
On Feb. 2, the Sooners will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for a tough dual competition against Williams’ alma mater Nebraska and the University of Illinois. The Huskers and Fighting Illini finished third and fifth at last year’s national championship, respectively.
Following the trip to Lincoln, Oklahoma will return to the Midwest to face Iowa on Feb. 9 in Iowa City.
Williams’ team will then take a break from NCAA competition to compete at the 2019 Winter Cup in Las Vegas on Feb. 15-17. The competition allows OU’s student-athletes to compete as individuals in an attempt to earn a spot on the U.S. Senior Men’s National Team. Five of the twelve members of the current U.S. men’s national team are current or former Sooners. Allan Bower, Yul Moldauer, Kanji Oyama, Genki Suzuki and Colin Van Wicklen were selected to the team following the conclusion of the U.S. Championships in Boston in August.
Following the Winter Cup, the Sooners will be home for a pair of meets starting with Michigan on Feb. 23. The meet will serve as OU’s annual “Cleveland Night” as part of the “Partners in Education” program developed by Williams and Cleveland Elementary School in Norman. OU will then honor its decorated senior class in the final regular-season home meet against Illinois on March 9.
For the final two meets of the season, the Sooners travel to Annapolis, Md., for their first trip to the U.S. Naval Academy to compete against Navy on March 16. OU will then conclude its regular season slate against Cal on March 23 in Oakland, Calif.
“We’ll travel to Annapolis for the first time ever for a trip to the Naval Academy, which will be interesting for us,” Williams added. “Then, hosting the MPSF conference championship in McCasland Field House is going to be an awesome meet, with Stanford probably being the closest rival to us, before we move on to the national championships.”
OU’s postseason run begins April 6 when the Sooners host the MPSF Championships inside McCasland Field House for the first time since 2014. Oklahoma has claimed seven consecutive conference titles and 15 with head coach Mark Williams at the helm.
The Sooners will go for their fifth consecutive and NCAA record 12th national title when they compete at the NCAA Championships in Champaign, Ill., April 19 and 20.
Season tickets for all four regular-season home meets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the University of Oklahoma Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll free at (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting SoonerSports.com/tickets.
|2019 Men’s Gymnastics Schedule|
|Jan. 12||Rocky Mountain Open||Colorado Springs, Colo.|
|Jan. 19||Air Force & Arizona State||Norman, Okla.|
|Jan. 26||Ohio State||Norman, Okla.|
|Feb. 2||Nebraska & Illinois||Lincoln, Neb.|
|Feb. 9||Iowa||Iowa City, Iowa|
|Feb. 15-17||Winter Cup||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Feb. 23||Michigan||Norman, Okla.|
|March 9||Illinois||Norman, Okla.|
|March 16||Navy||Annapolis, Md.|
|March 23||Cal||Oakland, Calif.|
|April 6||MPSF Championships||Norman, Okla.|
|April 19-20||NCAA Qualifier & Championship||Champaign, Ill.|