The Norman Transcript


March 29, 2014

Top-ranked Sooners out to defend conference title

NORMAN — Since Mark Williams arrived at Oklahoma, he's made the conference championships the Sooners’ own little playground. He's racked up 12 of the program’s titles.

Williams will be going for his 13th today when the top-ranked Sooners host the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. Competition starts at 4 p.m. at McCasland Field House.

Even though Oklahoma is ranked No. 1 and looking for its third straight MPSF title, they know they will get a battle from perennial nemesis Stanford. The Cardinal defeated the Sooners Feb. 15 in Fort Worth. But OU beat them the week before in Norman. Air Force and California will also be on hand.

The loss to Stanford was one of only two losses on the season for OU. The last came March 15 against Ohio. It was also the last meet of the regular season for the Sooners, who want to get back on a winning streak before heading to the NCAA tournament April 10 in Ann Arbor, MI.

Last season, OU won the championships with a score of 435.350, besting second-place Stanford by almost 10 points. Sergey Resnick, Michael Squires, Alec Robin, Presten Ellsworth and William Clement each won individual conference titles.

Squires, the defending national champion, is the top-ranked individual Sooner, coming in at No. 1 on still rings with a 15.983 average.

OU has five gymnasts ranked in the top 13 nationally on floor, led by Robin at No. 2. He is followed by No. 5 Raymond White, No. 7 Colin Van Wicklen, No. 11 Kanji Oyama and No. 13 Dylan Akers.

Van Wicklen is coming off earning the MPSF gymnast of the week award. At Ohio State, he scored 15.000 or higher on all three of his events last Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, against the No. 4 Buckeyes, leading OU to a 444.300 team score. The freshman crushed his career-high on high bar with a 15.200 routine, good for third overall, while his 15.300 on vault tied a career-high and was the second-best score of the day. Van Wicklen added a 15.000 on floor.

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