OU Finishes Second In NCAA Gymnastics Championships

Saturday, April 12th 2014, 12:35 am
By: News 9

The Oklahoma men's gymnastics team capped another outstanding season, finishing national runner-up with a score of 441.650 at the NCAA Final at the Crisler Center on Friday.

Michigan placed first with 444.950. Following the Sooners were Stanford at 436.300, Illinois with 435.350, Ohio State with 433.500 and Penn State with 429.800.

Seven Sooners qualified to compete in the Individual Event Final where they will compete for a national title and All-America status Saturday. Kanji Oyama (floor), Colin Van Wicklen (floor, vault), Alec Robin (floor, vault), Michael Reid (pommel horse), Michael Squires (still rings), Danny Berardini (parallel bars, high bar) and Will Clement (high bar) finished in the top 10 and will go again Saturday.

OU extended its streak of top-three finishes at the NCAA Finals to an amazing 14 seasons and have finished in the top two 12 of those years, including each of the last four.

Oklahoma scored 72.600 in its first rotation on parallel bars. A two-time All-American on the event, Berardini recorded a score of 15.150 to pace the Sooners, but a fall on the dismount by junior Jacoby Rubin left OU fifth in the team standings.

OU stayed fifth after competing on high bar in its second rotation after earning a 71.450 team score. In an incredibly gutsy performance, Clement competed in the anchor spot after breaking his foot in warmups on Thursday. After hobbling on crutches since the break, Clement rose to the occasion, earning a 14.700. Berardini again led the way for the Sooners, earning a 14.750.

Trailing first place by 4.25 points, the Sooners went to floor, their best event, and showed why they are ranked No. 1 in the country. A score of 76.100 cut Michigan's lead to 2.35 points after four of five Sooners scored above a 15.0. Kanji Oyama had a career high 15.550, Colin Van Wicklen scored 15.300, Alec Robin had 15.250, Presten Ellsworth scored 15.100 and Raymond White came in at 14.900.

But the Sooners followed up by scoring 73.850 on pommel horse, not enough to counter the Wolverines on parallel bars with a 75.950. Reid nailed his routine for a 15.600 - good for the top score of the session - and White added another 14.900.

Berardini finished his strong day with a 14.500 on still rings, but it was the reigning national champ, Squires, who topped all other rotations with a 15.700. OU scored 72.650 overall.

A great vault set finished out the competition for OU. Robin earned the second-best score of the session with a 15.250 and Van Wicklen was right behind with a 15.2500. Ellsworth earned a 15.000 and White added a 14.950 for the Sooners.

The Individual Final will begin at 6 p.m. CT on Saturday and will be streamed live at NCAA.com.