Oklahoma wins NCAA men’s gymnastics national title
The Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team ended its championship drought in a big way.
Second the past four years, the Sooners finished off an undefeated season by winning the national title Friday night in front of their home crowd at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma had a score of 447.050. Stanford was second with 440.450, followed by Penn State at 439.500 and two-time defending national champion Michigan at 437.650.
The Sooners’ seven seniors were glad to finally break through.
"It’s even better than I could have imagined," senior Alec Robin said. "Being in second place three years in a row and having that same feeling again and again and again — it takes a toll on you. This past year, we really took it a step forward, where we were going to be national champions. There’s no doubt about it."
Stanford’s Akash Modi won the all-around with a score of 90.450.
A different competitor led the Sooners in each event. Colin Van Wicklen had the top score on the floor, Michael Squires had the top still rings score, Michael Reid had the best pommel horse score, Kanji Oyama had the top vault score, Sergey Resnick had the best parallel bars score and Danny Berardini had the top high bar score. All are seniors except Van Wicklen. Robin had the team’s second-best score on the floor and the high bar.
Coach Mark Williams won his sixth national title.
"I think in terms of depth, I think we had the most of any team I’ve coached," Williams said.
Squires matched a national record with a 16.450 on the still rings. The two-time individual national champ stuck his landing, then hit a double bicep pose. The former walk-on can say he did it all.
"I said it at the beginning of the year — this is the only thing I haven’t accomplished here," he said. "That was the last check mark on the sheet. This was a dream come true. There’s no way I could have imagined as a freshman even making the team, so it’s all pretty unreal."
Oklahoma’s final two competitors on the high bar, Berardini and William Clement, brought it home. Berardini scored a 15.000, and Clement followed with a 14.750. Clement stuck his landing, then his teammates jumped around in a circle, celebrating. It was the ninth title for the Sooners and their first since 2008.
Berardini said his head nicked the bar in the middle of his parallel bars set, and he ended up with a cut that bled through the rest of the routine. He continued to bleed through his high bar routine. He showed up late to the post meet news conference because he got two staples to close the wound.
"It’s worth it now," he said. "I had to push through that (parallel bars) routine. And right before my dismount, I’m in the handstand and I see blood dripping down, and I’m like, `Oh, man!’ and then I swing down and blood just drips right on my uniform. But I stuck that landing, so it was worth it."