No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Michigan
Feb. 23 | 2:15 p.m. CT | Norman, Okla. | McCasland Field House
NORMAN— The No. 1 Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team hosts the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines inside McCasland Field House Saturday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. CT as the Sooners chase their 109th straight victory. This weekend’s meet will be live streamed on SoonerSports.TV with Chad McKee and Colin Van Wicklen on the call. The meet will be shown via tape delay on FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
Oklahoma (11-0) continues its chase for its fifth straight national title on Saturday as the No. 1 Sooners host the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (6-1) inside McCasland Field House at 2:15 p.m. CT. In his 20th season at the helm of OU men’s gymnastics, head coach Mark Williams and his team are aiming at an NCAA men’s gym record 13th national title in 2019. The team will also look to extend its NCAA-best streak of 108 straight victories on Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines hold the No. 3 spot in both the Road to Nationals rankings and College Gymnastics Association coaches poll heading into the meet.
FOR THE FANS
Saturday’s meet against Michigan will serve as Cleveland Elementary Day. All Cleveland Elementary School students in Norman will receive free T-shirts with the early purchase of tickets prior to Feb. 15.
Other promotions include free national championship T-shirts for the first 250 fans in attendance, the KidsZone supervised gymnastics play area and post-meet autographs with the team. Fans are encouraged to wear white as the OU team pushes to “white out” the McCasland Field House stands. OU students receive free admission to all home meets with a valid student ID.
LAST TIME OUT
Oklahoma capped a two-meet road swing with a 405.150-397.750 victory over No. 10 Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, on Feb. 9. The Sooners notched five of six event titles as a team and OU gymnasts claimed all six individual event crowns. Senior co-captain Genki Suzuki won two individual crowns with titles on pommel horse (13.300) and parallel bars (14.000).
Taking a break from NCAA competition, seven current Sooners competed at the 2019 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., last weekend. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer won his second career Winter Cup all-around title with an 84.500 tally on the first day of competition. Moldauer and Suzuki both retained their U.S. National Team spots with respective all-around finishes of first and fourth place. Fellow senior co-captain Levi Anderson brought home two bronze medal event finishes on vault and high bar.
Oklahoma made more history in 2018, becoming just the third program since 1938 to win four straight national titles. The Sooners’ perfect 21-0 2018 campaign marked 97 straight wins for Williams and his program. OU has claimed 12 all-time NCAA team titles and nine under Williams. OU finished with five All-Americans who notched a total of 11 honors last season.
After claiming another road victory Feb. 9 at No. 10 Iowa, the Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team held steady at No. 1 in the latest Road to Nationals rankings. OU holds the top three-score average (417.933) along with the top spots on floor exercise (71.383), still rings (70.283), vault (72.700) and high bar (68.900). The team ranks in the top three on the other two events, coming in second with a 69.283 three-score average on parallel bars and third on pommel horse with its 67.183.
• Individually, with the rankings shift to the National Qualifying Average after week five, two Sooners hold top ten spots on floor exercise. Sophomore Gage Dyer is tied for the top spot with
an NQA of 14.583. Freshman Vitaliy Guimaraes, fresh off another floor title against the Hawkeyes, comes in sixth (14.433).
• Three Sooners rank in the top 15 of the pommel horse standings, led by senior co-captain Yul Moldauer (13.783) in 11th. Fellow seniors Brian Schibler (13.733) and Genki Suzuki (13.633) rank 12th and 15th, respectively.
• OU occupies three of the top six national spots on still rings. Moldauer holds second with his 14.700 national qualifying average, while seniors Peter Daggett and Jake Maloley sit third and sixth with respective averages of 14.367 and 14.150.
• On the event that the Sooners average a nation-leading 72.700, vault, OU gymnasts hold five
of the top 10 individual spots. Dyer (14.650) ranks third, senior Matt Wenske (14.600) holds fifth, sophomore Alexei Vernyi (14.567) sits seventh, while junior Tanner Justus (14.567) and Guimaraes come in ninth and 10th, respectively.
• After claiming his second parallel bars title of 2019 versus Iowa, Suzuki ranks eighth on the event with an NQA of 14.100. A trio of Sooners land in the top 10 on high bar, led by senior co-captain Levi Anderson (14.333) in first. Dyer (13.900) holds his third top-five individual event ranking on HB with a third-place spot. Suzuki comes in at 10th with a 13.600 NQA tally.
Despite losing five-time All-America honoree Hunter Justus, OU returns a wealth of experience in 2019. Senior Yul Moldauer is looking to cap a historic collegiate career, coming off a junior season in which he earned four individual national titles (AA, FX, VT, PB) in addition to All-America nods on floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and all-around. Fellow senior Levi Anderson returns in 2019 after earning All-America honors on both high bar and all-around in 2018. Other key returners are senior Genki Suzuki, an All-American on pommel horse last season, and junior Tanner Justus, a vault All-American in 2018.
The Sooners have won or finished first in every meet in which they have competed since placing second at the 2014 NCAA Team Finals. In that span they have racked up 108 victories, including 67 straight at home, the most consecutive wins in program history, topping the 52 straight victories from 2002 to 2004. The streak is the longest active streak in any DI NCAA sport.
THE CHAMP IS BACK
Senior Yul Moldauer has made his mark on the OU record books and will continue his historic collegiate career on Saturday when the Sooners host Michigan. Moldauer is a seven-time individual national champion and became just the third men’s gymnast ever to win four individual national titles in one year in 2018. Last season marked Moldauer’s second all-around national title after claiming the crown his freshman season in 2016. His seven titles rank first all-time at OU ahead of Steven Legendre (6) and Olympians Jonathan Horton (6) and Jake Dalton (4).
Williams’ squad returns four All-Americans from last year’s title team. Seniors Yul Moldauer (AA, FX, PH, SR, VT, PB), Levi Anderson (AA, HB) and Genki Suzuki (PH) return in 2019 for the Sooners, along with junior Tanner Justus (VT). The Sooners also return eight other upperclassmen in 2019.
The Sooners welcomed a trio of talented freshmen for 2018-19 in Spencer Goodell, Vitaliy Guimaraes and Morgan Seyler. Goodell was named a U.S. Junior National Team member in 2018 after taking third in the junior elite division all-around at the U.S. Championships. Additionally, Goodell tied for first on still rings and placed second on vault. Guimaraes, a product of 5280 Gymnastics in Colorado, finished just behind Goodell in the all-around at the U.S. Championships, claiming fourth, but took home junior national titles on floor exercise and vault. Seyler, whose parents were both gymnasts at OU, finished seventh in the all-around in the junior elite division at the 2017 P&G Championships.
Twelve current, former or future OU gymnasts competed at the 2019 Winter Cup Challenge on Feb. 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nev. The USA Gymnastics meet helps determine the 12-man U.S. Senior Men’s National Team through the 2019 U.S. Championships in Kansas City, Mo., in August. Of the 12 gymnasts selected, four are current or former Sooners. Senior co-captain Yul Moldauer automatically secured his spot on the team for the fourth consecutive year after claiming the senior all-around title on the first day of the competition, posting an 84.500 score. Also retaining their spots on the squad were fellow senior captain Genki Suzuki and 2017 OU graduate Allan Bower. Bower and Suzuki took third and fourth, respectively, in the all-around. Joining the three on the national team following day two was fellow ’17 alum Colin Van Wicklen. Van Wicklen posted two podium event finishes at Winter Cup, claiming gold on vault and silver on high bar.
Moldauer and Van Wicklen also helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last fall. It was the best finish for a U.S. men’s team at Worlds since taking bronze in 2014. Moldauer took 12th in the all-around at the championships and finished just shy of a medal on floor exercise, placing fourth.
The Sooners take a week off before returning to action Saturday, March 9, versus the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini. The meet will serve as Senior Night, honoring OU’s nine members of the class of 2019. The class has yet to a lose a meet in their four-year tenure in Norman, compiling a running 84-0 record and having been a part of three of the Sooners’ four consecutive national championships.
Fans are also encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into McCasland Field House with enhanced screenings. OU’s clear bag policy will also be in effect.
Season and single-meet tickets for all 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.