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Wes Moody | Oklahoma Athletics | April 22, 2017

Oklahoma qualifies as No. 1, seeks three-peat

Men's Gymnastics: 2017 National Qualifier Recap

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The top-ranked Oklahoma men's gymnastics team inched one final step closer to its ultimate goal of a third consecutive national title Friday night, scoring a 430.600 in Session II of NCAA qualifying action to earn a spot in Saturday's NCAA Championships team finals.


Competing on the campus of the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., the Sooners' score was the best among all six qualifying teams from Friday's pair of qualifying sessions. Illinois was second best with a 421.300. Stanford, which competed in the first session of the day placed third with a 420.450. Also qualifying were No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 7 Nebraska.

  OU Ill. Minn. Iowa Cal Navy
FX 71.300 70.900 70.650 68.300 67.600 67.400
PH 71.300 69.650 70.000 68.750 64.150 64.050
SR 72.150 71.900 70.100 69.200 65.950 66.900
VT 73.600 71.100 72.750 69.600 69.800 69.600
PB 72.200 69.050 70.400 69.550 66.400 66.850
HB 70.050 68.700 66.200 67.100 66.350 65.850

Oklahoma posted the highest team score of the day on all six events on Friday, while six Sooners won individual event titles. Sophomore and reigning NCAA all-around champion Yul Moldauer took home the crown on floor and rings, senior co-captain Colin Van Wicklen and freshman Matt Wesnke tied on vault, senior co-captain Allan Bower won parallel bars and Van Wicklen took high bar alone.

“We did our job,” head coach Mark Williams said. “The guys did well. You know, it was a good prelim and hopefully we didn’t expend too much energy so we can come back feeling better tomorrow. We’re happy with the results – a lot to do tomorrow.”

As the No. 1 overall seed, the Sooners were able to choose their starting event. Oklahoma chose floor and competed in Olympic order. OU came out of the gates strong, notching a team score of 71.300. Moldauer led the way with his 15.300, which was the highest individual floor mark from either session. Senior co-captain Colin Van Wicklen logged a 14.650 in the anchor spot while senior Thao Hoang added a 14.150. 

In rotation two the Sooners moved to the always challenging pommel horse and put up yet another 71.300. Bower’s 15.050 led the way for OU. Moldauer turned in a 14.400 and sophomore Genki Suzuki added a 14.150 for the Sooners. After two rotations, the Sooners led by more than two points over second-place Illinois.

Event Gymnast Score
FX Yul Moldauer (OU) 15.300
PH Brandon Ngai (Ill.) 15.150
SR Yul Moldauer (OU) 15.150
VT Colin Van Wicklen (OU) 14.950
  Matt Wesnke (OU) 14.950
PB Allan Bower (OU) 15.200
HB Colin Van Wicklen (OU) 14.600
AA Jonathan Tang (Navy) 82.150

The Sooners widened their lead even further in the third rotation. A rings score of 72.250 put the Sooners up by nearly seven full points at the halfway point. Moldauer led the way with a 15.200 that marked the best score of the day. OU also got a strong contribution from senior Reese Rickett (14.300) who was seeing his first action since March 4 due to a knee injury. Hoang hit for 14.600 and junior Hunter Justus added a 14.700.

Vault saw Oklahoma’s biggest score of the night. OU notched a 73.600 and saw marks of at least 14.400 from all five gymnasts. Van Wicklen and Wenske led the way with their dueling 14.950s, the best scores of the day, while freshman Tanner Justus added a 14.800. Seniors Alex Powarzynski and Todd Dowdy scored 14.500 and 14.400, respectively.  After the fourth rotation, the Sooners led second-place Illinois by nearly 10 points.

OU added yet another mark in the 70s on parallel bars. The Sooners scored a 72.200 led by Bower’s 15.200, again the best of the day. Hunter Justus kicked in a 14.600 in the leadoff spot while Powarzynski added a 14.550. Heading into the final rotation OU led by more than 11 full points.

The Sooners finished the evening on high bar, scoring a 70.050 to make it six straight events with scores of at least 70.000. Van Wicklen led the day with his 14.600. Sophomore Suzuki notched a 14.250 and Bower added a 14.050. When the chalk had settled, the Sooners had won Session II by just under nine points.

There is now but one meet between the Sooners and a third straight title. The NCAA team and individual champions will be decided Saturday night at 6 p.m. ET inside Christl Arena. 

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