OU Claims Seventh Consecutive MPSF Championship
|2018 MPSF Champions|
|VT||T. Justus (OU)||14.850|
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team claimed its seventh consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) conference title Saturday night, posting a team total of 414.050.
OU’s MPSF championship streak extends the longest in program history, three more than the previous school record of four straight from 2005 to 2008. The Sooners’ victory Saturday also marks their 87th in a row.
“I’m pleased we got another championship,” head coach Mark Williams said. “The guys did what they had to do to keep momentum going and finish well. I’m pleased with the results but we are not done yet.”
In addition to the team title, Yul Moldauer won five individual MPSF championships on floor, pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and all-around, the most in a single conference championship in school history.
“He kind of had to grind through a little bit,” Williams said of Moldauer. “I’m happy with his performance. We wanted to be cautious with him coming back from injury. Even with less preparation this week, he still elevated the team. He set the pace for everyone to follow.”
Tanner Justus joined Moldauer on the podium with his first career conference championship on vault.
The team was solid in its first rotation of the night, notching a 68.450 on floor. Moldauer led the pack in his first routine back from injury with a 14.600. Gage Dyer and Tanner Justus followed with a 14.000 each. Hunter Justus and Levi Anderson scored a 12.950 and a 12.900, respectively. Oklahoma trailed Air Force by less than two points with the Falcons starting on vault.
Even with a few mistakes on pommel horse, OU posted a 66.350. Moldauer paced the Sooners with a 14.150, Brian Schibler posted a 13.500 and was followed by Genki Suzuki (13.050), Grant Kell (12.950) and Anderson (12.700). The Sooners found themselves in third, still less than two points out of first.
OU leaped into first place with a massive rotation on still rings, scoring a 70.300. Moldauer sparked the Sooners’ lineup with a phenomenal 15.050, a season high for the junior. Collyn Kellogg registered a career-high 14.150 and Reese Rickett anchored with a 14.050 while Jake Maloley (13.850) and Anderson (13.200) rounded out the lineup for the Sooners. With its fantastic performance on rings, OU led by just under three points.
“Rings is one of those events you can let it all go because you can use the adrenaline to your advantage,” Williams said. “Guys were great on their landings today and were really great with their strength moves. It was a great event to start seperating ourselves from the competition.”
Oklahoma kept the momentum rolling on vault, totaling a 72.200 in the fourth rotation and extending its lead. No Sooner scored below a 14.000 and OU swept the top three scores. Tanner Justus posted a season-high 14.850.
“I felt really comfortable on vault today,” Justus said. “I could feel myself try to find the stick today. As soon as I hit the table I knew I was going to stick it immediately.”
Hunter Justus followed with a 14.550. Moldauer continued his strong all-around showing with a 14.500, while Dyer and Anderson scored 14.200 and 14.100, respectively.
In the fifth rotation, OU continued to dominate, posting a 68.400 on parallel bars and stretching its lead to nearly seven points. Moldauer picked up his fourth conference title of the day with a 14.950, and Dyer notched a career-high 14.200. Anderson scored a 13.700, Suzuki a 13.050 and Hunter Justus a 12.500.
OU put the finishing touches on another MPSF crown with a 68.350 on high bar. Anderson and Suzuki each scored a 14.100, and Moldauer wrapped up a phenomenal all-around performance with a 13.650. Isamu Ito (13.400) and Kell (13.100) closed out the meet for the Sooners.
At the conclusion of the meet, the MPSF honored Moldauer as its gymnast of the year.
“The team has been a huge help for me to get this far,” Moldauer said. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Williams was named coach of the year for the four consecutive year.
Said Williams: “The guys have performed very well over that period of time. I give credit to the athletes for what they have done. The fact that they want to follow the plan that I present to them and have done a great job, it’s a credit to them.”
With a conference title under their belt, the Sooners turn their attention to the NCAA Championships as they look for their fourth straight title and 12th overall.
“We still have some areas that can be better,” Williams said. “We will get back in the gym and turn our attention to nationals.”
Championship weekend starts Friday, April 20 with the preliminary round at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, followed by the finals the next day.