The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 18, 2014

National champ Squires wants same for team

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“This is probably one of the best Rocky Mountain we’ve had since I’ve been head coach,” OU coach Mark Williams said. “Coming out with such a high score, putting us at No. 1. So I was very happy with that and the results from the first competition. And yet, some of it is it’s a little too early to know everything.”

The top-ranked Sooners will open their home portion of their schedule at 5 tonight when they take on No. 6 Air Force at McCasland Fieldhouse. Williams wants his gymnasts to prove that last weekend was not a fluke.

“I want us to continue as far as improvements,” Williams said. “And show that it wasn’t just a one-shot deal, that we went up there and had the meet of our lives the first competition out of the gate.”

Berardini, who hails from Lake Forest, Ill., doesn’t believe the team’s mindset will change now that they are sitting on top of the rankings.

“I am not sure if it’s too big of a deal right now being No. 1,” Berardini said. “A lot of it’s very important at the end of the season. I kind of like being behind. I kind of like being the underdog. When you are the underdog you have nothing to lose. You are just chasing that top team. Either way, us being No. 1 right now, it’s not going to change how we perform.”

If the Sooners end the year at No. 1, it will end a string a three consecutive seasons in which they have been the runner-up. That includes coming up short to Michigan last year

Squires said that is not what the Sooners gymnastics program is about.

“Every year we’ve kind of accepted that second place isn’t what we’re striving for,” Squires said. “For many teams that’s an awesome finish. This year we feel like with the guys that we’ve gotten in, we have the ability to win this year. We’re not just trying to place. We’re trying to win. We know we can compete with Michigan at their best if we do our best.”

Michael Kinney

Follow me @eyeamtruth

mkinney@normantranscript.com

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