A DATE WITH DESTINY Oklahoma's 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP RUN etched the Sooners' latest dynasty in the history books.

Once again the Sooner dynasty r3igns over the gymnastics world. The Sooners capped yet another undefeated season with a third consecutive national championship Saturday night, becoming just the fourth team in history to do so since the NCAA began holding gymnastics championships in 1938 and the first since Nebraska did so from 1979 to 1983.


Oklahoma's championship weekend began Thurday night with the 2017 NCAA men's gymnastics championships awards banquet.

The banquet was held at Eisenhower Hall overlooking the Hudson River on the stunning campus of the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. For the seventh time in his career, and the sixth consecutive year, Oklahoma's legendary head coach Mark Williams was named the West Region Coach of the Year. Assistant coaches Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons and Steven Legendre took home the honors for West Regions Assistant Coaches of the Year for the second year in a row as well. Senior co-captains Allan Bower and Colin Van Wicklen were named two of the eight finalists for the 2017 Nissen-Emery Award (the Heisman of gymnastics).


After spending the entirety of the 2017 season ranked No. 1 in both the coaches poll and the standings, the Sooners' rolled into the NCAA Championships with a sixth straight conference title in tow and expectations that couldn't have been any higher. Their run at meeting those expectations began Friday night with qualifying.

The Sooners scored at least 70.000 on every event, en route to a team mark of 731.600 that was good enough to take the top qualifying spot. Sophomore Yul Moldauer won event titles on floor and rings while senior Allan Bower won parallel bars and senior Colin Van Wicklen and freshman Matt Wesnke tied on vault. Van Wicklen also claimed the win on high bar.


Saturday was a day of fate for the Sooners. After months of blood, sweat and preparation, it was finally time for Oklahoma to reap the rewards of its hard work.

The Sooners started the night floor and pommel horse, their two lowest-scoring events of the season. Sophomore Yul Moldauer highlighted the first two rotations. He notched a 14.900 on floor that would hold up all night, earning him the national title on the event. With Illinois starting the night on vault, even two solid rotations from OU had it trailing after the first two periods.

“I felt like we were hanging in there in the beginning. We had some good gymnastics on floor and pommel horse, but we also didn’t really feel like we were getting things rolling. I didn’t feel like we were in jeopardy, but it didn’t feel like gymnastics was very easy." - Head Coach Mark Williams


Oklahoma exploded in rotation three on rings. All five Sooner gymnasts stuck their dismounts en route to a team score of 74.000 that was nearly four full points better than the next best mark.

Sophomore Yul Moldauer led the Sooners' in scoring with a 14.950 that was good enough to earn him the national title on the event.

“One guy stuck after the other. And then another and another. Everyone was saying ‘it’s going to come to you.’ Colin (Van Wicklen) looked at me told me that it would be there and it was. I stuck it and I turned back and all the guys were—that was just the turning point of the meet and we got on a roll after that. We knew no one would come close to us after that." - Senior Allan Bower

The momentum from rings catapulted the Sooners to the lead and it only grew in the ensuing rotations. OU posted the championships' highest scores on each of the last four events, including a season-high 74.100 on parallel bars. When the chalk had settled, Oklahoma had posted a dominant 431.950 and stood clear of second-place by more than eight points.


In addition to Moldauer's pair of individual national championships, seven Sooners racked up a staggering total of 22 All-America honors. All five members of Oklahoma's rings lineup made All-America and placed first, two tied for third, fifth and sixth. In the all-around OU took second, third and fifth.


With the three-peat secured, the Sooners were ready to head home, but not before a trip to New York City to take in the sights and sounds of Times Square.

Photos by Amy Sanderson (RW Studios) and Wes Moody

Created By
Wes Moody

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