Thursday, November 24, 2016

M Gymnastics: Sooners Are Preseason No. 1

For the third consecutive season, the Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team landed the No. 1 spot in the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Preseason Coaches Poll.

Coming off their 10th national championship in program history, and second in a row, the Sooners received 377 points and 17 of 19 possible first place votes. Stanford, the 2016 NCAA Runner-Up, sits in second place with 357 points while last season’s third-place team, Ohio State, comes in third at 338 points. Minnesota and Illinois round out the top five with 312 and 309 points, respectively.

“We have a strong returning team from last season who are working very hard daily in our gym,” head coach Mark Williams said. “We're pleased to be recognized for our last two seasons as champions and look forward to another exciting year."

Oklahoma is coming off back-to-back undefeated national championship seasons, having won 52 consecutive meets dating back to the 2014 NCAA Championships. The Sooners have also won five straight MPSF Conference titles, and over the past two years have posted eight of the 10 highest team scores of the current scoring era.

The Sooners look to continue their dominance with a loaded crop of returning talent. Five total All-Americans from 2016 return, including: Levi Anderson (HB), Allan Bower (PH, PB, AA), Hunter Justus (SR), Yul Moldauer (FX, PB, AA) and Colin Van Wicklen (FX, VT, HB). OU also gets back 2015 All-American on vault, Todd Dowdy, and redshirt senior Josh Yee has elected to return for his final year of eligibility, providing the Sooners quality score on several events as well as invaluable leadership.

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Oklahoma will look to replace the loss of All-Americans Kanji Oyama and Sergey Resnick with a pair of dynamic freshmen in Tanner Justus, younger brother of Hunter Justus, and Matthew Wesnke. Both were highly successful juniors with Justus taking the event title on vault at the 2015 Men’s Junior Olympic National Championship and Wenske taking the event titles on floor, parallel bars and in the all-around.

The Sooners will have to navigate a challenging schedule to defend their crown in 2017. OU will have home meets against No. 10 Michigan (Jan. 28), No. 11 Air Force (Feb. 25), No. 3 Ohio State (March 11) and No. 5 Illinois (March 18), and will make road trips to take on No. 4 Minnesota (Feb. 10) and No. 2 Stanford (March 4) among others.

The 2017 NCAA Championships will be held at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on April 21 and 22.

Fans can get an early look at the 2017 Sooner squad as the team as holds its annual Crimson and Cream intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center. Admission is free.

Season tickets for Sooners' home slate are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the University of Oklahoma Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll free at (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be ordered online by visiting SoonerSports.com.

Get inside looks at the Sooners throughout the season by liking the OU Men’s Gymnastics Facebook page and by following the team on Twitter and Instagram using the handle @OU_MGymnastics.

/// SoonerSports PR

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