NORMAN — Despite the frigid weather that has invaded the state this week, Norman will be the center of the gymnastics world this weekend with both the Oklahoma men’s and woman’s teams competing on campus.
The festivities will start at 5 p.m. today as the top-ranked men’s team will face off against No. 5 Stanford at the McCasland Fieldhouse.
Oklahoma comes into the meet undefeated and coming off a win over No. 10 Iowa 444.300 to 430.600. The Sooners have scored more than 444.000 points this year, which is the most in the NCAA.
“We did so much better finishing strong (last week) than we have the past few meets,” OU coach Mark Williams said. “On high bar, finishing with five sticks out of six total landings it was better across the board. That’s what we needed to do. It made a difference to our team score and the energy in the gym didn’t sink down at any point.”
Oklahoma, ranked first or second as a team in five of six events, has proven again to be a deep squad. Junior Alec Robin is tied with Stanford’s Akash Modi for No. 1 on floor in the country while sophomore Kanji Oyama ranks fourth and junior Dylan Akers ranks sixth.
On pommel horse, OU takes two of the top three spots with junior Sergey Resnick second and senior Raymond White third. Defending national champion Michael Squires is ranked second on still rings.
The night will also be marked by OU paying homage to the 2014 Winter Olympics, which started this week in Sochi. Former Sooners and Olympic medalists Bart Conner and Guard Young, along with World Championship medalists Jake Dalton and Steve Legendre will be on hand to meet fans, sign autographs and take photos.
The second-ranked Oklahoma women also face a top-5 competitor when they take on No. 3 LSU at 1:45 p.m. Sunday at Lloyd Noble Center.
OU is ranked in the top five nationally on every event, including top three rankings on vault, bars and beam. The Sooners’ beam squad continues to lead all events, owning a No. 2 national ranking and an average of 49.281 through four meets. OU’s season’s best beam score of 49.525 remains one of the nation’s top two this season. The squad is third nationally on both vault (49.438) and bars (49.288) and edged up to fifth this week on floor (49.500).
It’s the second consecutive week the Sooners will face a highly ranked squad out of the always competitive SEC. A 197.875-197.225 loss to then-No. 2 Florida last weekend in front of a crowd of 7,260 fans in Gainesville dropped Oklahoma from No. 1 to No. 2 in this week’s rankings.
“I thought we performed very well,” OU coach K.J. Kindler said. “I’m extremely proud of their efforts. I felt like this team fought to the finish and overall, they earned every tenth that they got.”
This time, the Sooners will have the home advantage when it takes on the Tigers. A win could put OU back at No. 1.
Follow me @eyeamtruth
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.