The Norman Transcript

February 20, 2013

Sooners hope for stronger showing

By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — After an uneven win in their first home meet of the season last week, Oklahoma returns to McCasland Field House at 7 p.m. Saturday. The nation’s second-ranked team is hosting Air Force on the annual Cleveland Elementary Night.

“The Air Force Academy is coming in, and it’s a special meet with the Cleveland Elementary night,” OU coach Mark Williams said. “We’ll have a lot of kids here that the guys work with over at the school. We want it to be just as entertaining as tonight, but even more so with all the kids, and maybe be able to finish the meet up a little stronger.”

In front of an opening-night crowd of 935, the Sooners used a strong first-three events to propel them to the victory against Minnesota. OU gymnasts won four of the six event titles and Oklahoma claimed victories in all but one event as a team.

But the Sooners were not completely happy with their overall performance. They are looking to give the OU fans a better show against the Falcons.

“It’s always great to perform at home because we always have our die-hard fans who are there to support us,” sophomore Alec Robin said. “Getting the energy from the crowd is always a great feeling. I think performing at home is always a better performance for us.”

But the Sooners will not be alone. Fresh off competing in the Summer Olympics, former OU standout Jake Dalton will be putting on an exhibition on the pommel horse and rings as he prepares for next month’s American Cup.

“I don’t have every weekend like these guys do to compete. So I take any chance I get, even if it’s to do an event or two, right now,” Dalton said.

After leading OU to a second-place finish in the NCAA championships then competing in the Olympics, Dalton passed up his senior season to turn pro. Since coming back home, he has been on tour around the country with other members of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

His competition season started back up when he took first in the Winter Cup Challenge.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” Dalton said. “Just traveling a lot. Went on a tour for about three months. It was a lot of fun. It was a cool experience to go do that. Now, just getting back into competition mode.”

Even though he will not be competing Saturday, just to be able to get back on the mat with his Sooner brethren is something Dalton is looking forward to experiencing again.

“It’s going to be fun.” Dalton said. “It will be cool to be out there with the guys again, to be on the same floor. Getting that energy with the guys again.”

Michael Kinney

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