Sunday, March 9, 2014

MGYM: No. 1 Oklahoma Defeats Nebraska on Senior Day

The No. 1 Oklahoma men's gymnastics team came out victorious on Senior Day, defeating No. 12 Nebraska 439.700 to 422.050 on Sunday at McCasland Field House.

Seniors Presten Ellsworth, Ethan Jose, Stanton Rehkemper and Raymond White were honored following the meet. The group has helped OU to the top ranking in the nation all season in addition to two conference championships and three NCAA second place finishes during the last three seasons.

"They've been tremendous leaders for this program, said OU head coach Mark Williams. "They've done everything I've just about ever asked them to do except we want to get to that last hurdle and win a national championship and this year they're doing their part. I've been really pleased with them."

OU swept the individual titles, with a different Sooner claiming top honors on each event, including Alec Robin (floor), Allan Bower (pommel horse), Michael Squires (still rings), Ellsworth (vault), Sergey Resnick (parallel bars) and Stanton Rehkemper (high bar). Bower also won the all-around with an 87.300.

"Vault was great," Williams commented. "We've been doing really well on floor and we did what we can do on rings. Unfortunately this time of year I expected better. We had three events that we didn't do so well on. We still have things to work on and hopefully in the next three weeks before conference we can iron some of that out."

The meet was the first of the season for the Sooners under the five-up, five-count format. Before Sunday, teams competed six gymnasts per event with the top five scores counting. From this point forward, only five gymnasts will compete on each event, with every score counting towards the team score.

Robin showed why he's the nation's No. 1 gymnast on floor during OU's first rotation, scoring a career high 15.650 to all competitors. Colin Van Wicklen and White followed with identical 15.200 scores, helping the Sooners jump out to a big lead early, 75.900-68.15.

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Still coming back from injury, sophomore Kanji Oyama's still rings routine was his only spot in the lineup on the day but he made it a good one, recording a career-best 14.850. Squires, the defending national champion, had the top score at 16.000 as OU finished with a 74.650 overall.

OU moved to vault, lighting up the scoreboard with a 75.250 to earn the nation's second-highest team total this season. Three gymnasts earned a stick bonus, led by Ellsworth with a 15.450. White added a 15.200 and Bower went 14.900. Even without a stick, Van Wicklen earned a 15.300 for the Sooners.

"From the board to the horse they were getting on top of their vault so there was much more control in the air and that allowed them to stick, Williams said. "Those are big scores when you land and don't move."

On parallel bars, Resnick tied his career high with a 15.600, ahead of the day's second-place finisher, teammate Danny Berardini, who recorded a 15.150. OU scored a 73.800 on the event as a team.

Ending the day on high bar, Rehkemper earned his second event title of the year, scoring a 15.200. Junior William Clement was close behind with a 15.050 as the Sooners scored a 70.700 overall.

OU will compete against Ohio State and Temple in Columbus, Ohio, in the Sooners' final regular season meet of the season on Saturday, March 15, at 3 p.m. ET. Oklahoma will then play host to the MPSF Championships at McCasland Field House on Saturday, March 29, at 4 p.m. CT.
/// SoonerSports PR
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