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August 20, 2013

Sooners account for half of U.S. gymnastics squad

NORMAN — It’s becoming a ritual for Jake Dalton. For the third consecutive year, the former Oklahoma All-American gymnast was selected to the represent the United States at the World Championships.

Dalton is one of three former Sooners who made the U.S. squad that will travel to Antwerp, Belgium Sept.. 30--Oct. 6. He will be joined by Steven Legendre and Alex Naddour, meaning Sooners will make up half of the the six-man squad.

The Sooner contingent were picked out of the 15 members of this year’s Senior National Team, which was announced Sunday. At least one current or former OU gymnast been named to a World Championships or Olympics roster each of the last eight years.

“We have had a very successful track record representing OU at World Championships and the Olympics,” Oklahoma coach Mark Williams, who will also be traveling to Belgium, said. “It’s exceptional on Jake, Steve and Alex’s part to represent the program on the sport’s biggest stage and hopefully we can bring back some medals.”

Dalton, a Senior National Team member since 2009, was a 2012 London Olympian who finished third in the all-around at this past weekend’s P&G Championships. This will be his second World Championships appearance, having also helped the U.S. to a team bronze medal in 2011.

No Sooner has more experience at the championships than Jonathan Horton. Even though he made the Senior National Team, an injury will keep him from going to his eighth world championships.

That leaves Legendre as the most experienced of the group. He is making his fourth trip since 2009. The 2011 Nissen Award winner, Legendre also was a part of the 2011 bronze medal team and has been a member of the Senior National Team since 2008.

Naddour is making his second World Championships appearance after competing with the 2011 squad and also serving as an Olympic alternate in London. He has been on the national team each of the past four years. 

Michael Kinney

Follow me @eyeamtruth

mkinney@normantranscript.com

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