No. 4 Oklahoma defeats three top-10 foes to win Metroplex Challenge
FORT WORTH, Texas -- No. 4 Oklahoma captured the inaugural Metroplex Challenge men's title on Friday with a score of 441.500 against four top-eight teams at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.
OU finished more than 12 points ahead of No. 5 Ohio State, which posted a 429.400. No. 6 and defending national champion Illinois finished third with 428.300, followed by No. 8 Iowa with 422.750.
The Sooners won team event titles on the pommel horse (72.850), parallel bars (72.850) and high bar (73.000). Ohio State claimed victories on floor (74.800) and vault (73.200), while Illinois won the rings event (75.250) with the highest team score on any event.
Gymnasts from Oklahoma and Ohio State each won two individual event titles. Presten Ellsworth and Danny Berardini won vault and parallel bars, respectively, while the Buckeyes' Danny Steiner and John Laing won the floor and pommel horse. Iowa's Anton Gryshayev won the rings event and Illinois' Jordan Valdez claimed the top score on high bar.
"I was very happy, they competed very well," head coach Mark Williams said. "We had our highest hit percentage of the season, highest score of the season and there was a lot of energy throughout the competition. A lot of guys are from Texas, so it was fun for them to compete in their home state, and I think that helped them motivation-wise. We had some tough teams in Ohio State and Illinois, so it's nice to feel like we can put it together well and get some confidence going into the rest of the season."
OU opened the meet on floor, where it posted a 74.700. OU was led by Raymond White's season-high 15.350, followed by Presten Ellsworth's 15.050. Todd Dowdy scored a 14.700 in his collegiate debut.
On pommel horse, the Sooners scored a 72.850. Mike Reid and Jacoby Rubin were OU's highest-scoring gymnasts with a 14.800. Reid and Rubin posted a season high, while Rubin's score matched his career high.
Oklahoma recorded a 74.95 on rings, highlighted by career or season highs from every Sooner on the event. Troy Nitzky's season-high 15.450 paved the way for OU. In his season debut, Chris Stehl finished close behind with a 15.300, followed by Rubin's career-high 15.050. Ellsworth, (14.900), Will Clement (14.250) and Kanji Oyama (14.100) also posted career highs.
In first place after three events, OU scored a 73.150 on vault, its fourth event. Ellsworth led the Sooners with a season-high 15.100, followed by Dylan Akers' 14.850, which tied a career high.
On parallel bars, the Sooners posted a 72.850. Danny Berardini and Sergey Resnick scored career highs of 15.250 and 15.05, respectively.
OU capped the night with a 73.000 on high bar to secure the 2013 Metroplex Challenge championship. Rubin scored a 15.000 in his season debut on the event, followed by Alec Robin's career-high 14.650. Chris Stehl tied his career high with a 14.400.