Oklahoma earns top spot in second qualifier of NCAA Championships


NORMAN, Okla. — No. 1 Oklahoma scored a 450.750 on Thursday to earn the top qualifying spot for the NCAA team finals on Friday in the Lloyd Noble Center.

The Crimson and Cream are joined in the team finals by Michigan (437.000), Stanford (435.850), Iowa (435.050), California (433.700) and Penn State (432.900).

Oklahoma has now qualified for the team finals in all 16 years of head coach Mark Williams’ tenure.

2015 NC MGYM NCAA Championships
Kinney: Ervin kicks Michigan into gear in title defense
Semifinal: Oklahoma grabs 1st Highlights
Kinney: Woltin’s top performance puts Cal in second
Semifinal: Stanford in first; Cal, Penn State just behind

“I was fairly pleased with the performance tonight,” Williams said. “There wasn’t a lot of pressure knowing that we just needed to be in the top three to advance. Overall it was pretty fun to do gymnastics tonight. We are looking forward to have a chance to compete for a national title tomorrow.”

The Sooners were dominant in the first round, earning individual titles on four out of the six events and tallying their third score of 450 or higher this season. Oklahoma remains the only team in NCAA history to accomplish a 450-plus score.

The Sooners set the tone for the night with an outstanding start on floor. All five competitors earned scores of 15-plus to post the second highest floor score in program history with a 76.700. Sophomore Colin Van Wicklen and senior Alec Robin led the way with a pair of 15.600s to share the top spot of the session, while Todd Dowdy (15.300), Hunter Justus (15.100) and Kanji Oyama (15.100) also added solid performances on the event.

On the pommel horse, senior Michael Reid earned the event crown with a stellar 15.700 while sophomore Allan Bower added a 15.050 to help contribute to a 74.200 on the apparatus.

Moving into the third rotation, Oklahoma tallied the third highest score in program history on the rings with a 76.300. To the surprise of no one, two-time defending national champion Michael Squires nailed his routine to match his career best of 16.300 for the fourth time this season and secure the highest score of the session. In addition, Oyama stuck a solid routine to pull down a career-best 15.450.

A massive block and stuck landing from Bower notched the highest score for OU in the fourth rotation on vault, earning a 15.150. Just behind Bower, Dowdy vaulted a career-high 15.100 and Oyama (14.850), Josh Yee (14.800) and Van Wicklen (14.800) combined to boost the Sooners to a 74.700.

Owning a huge 10-point advantage after four rotations, OU moved to the parallel bars where Reid led the way with a 15.200 for the event title. Sergey Resnick added another 15-plus effort to the event with a 15.150 in front of a 14.950 from Dylan Akers to aid a 74.700 on the apparatus.

The Sooners capped the night on high bar with a final solid performance. A pair of 15-plus scores from Berardini (15.150) and Van Wicklen (15.050) led OU to a 74.150 in the last rotation, securing a spot in Friday night’s team final.

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