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January 19, 2014

Top-ranked Sooners prove the last time no fluke

NORMAN — When Oklahoma opened its season last week, it shocked the collegiate men’s gymnastics world by posting its highest score ever of 443 points. It was enough to vault the team to No. 1 in the nation.

Coach Mark Williams, though, wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to prove the score wasn’t a fluke. So when the Sooners took on No. 6 Air Force Saturday in the team’s first home dual of the season, Williams wanted to see another huge score on the scoreboard.

The Sooners were unable to top 443. But Williams had no problem settling for 440.700 as OU defeated the Falcons (412.400) by 58 points at Howard McCasland Field House.

“I think that was important that we showed it wasn’t just a one time deal,” Williams said. “ I really do think we’re going to make a run at the national championship this year.”

OU received a stellar performance from Kanji Oyama. The sophomore from Huntington Beach, Calif., took home his first all-around title with a score of 88.550. Danny Berardini, who took the all-around last week, was five points back in second. The Falcons’ Timmy Wang was in third at 83.350.

“I think I performed pretty well,” Oyama said. “From the beginning I just tried not to get myself too nervous. Trying to stay calm really helped me out. I felt pretty confident.”

The Sooners began the evening on floor exercise. Oyama led the charge with score of 15.150. He was the only gymnast on either team to hit the 15 point plateau as OU grabbed a 74.350 to 67.450 lead after the first rotation.

When OU got the pommel horse, it was All-American Michael Reid who earned the top score with a 15.200, but it was Raymond White’s performance that grabbed the biggest ovation from the fans.

Before the season began, defending national champion Michael Squires talked about increasing the difficulty on his rings routine. It didn’t seem to matter as he hit 15.600 to win the individual title.

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