The night before one sports dynasty ended (calm down, Patriots fans, it's a joke...but maybe not...), one proved that it's still going strong. Oklahoma (418.0) defeated Stanford (410.5) and Nebraska (403.8) Saturday evening in a meet that really looked and felt personal to the Sooners.
"I feel like the guys kind of got tired of hearing about everybody else and how good they were and we just wanted to put out a lineup and see where we were," explained Mark Williams.
Now we know where they are, sitting as the best team in the country. Not only was the 418.0 the top score in the NCAA, so was their 69.7 on pommel horse. "We finally got our pommel horse team going a little better," said Williams. "Brian Schibler did a really nice, beautiful swing routine. Not a super athletic guy, he just does pommel horse, but that was key."
Brian Schibler (via West News Magazine)
The Sooners finished with three of the top-four competitors on the event with Yul Moldauer (NCAA/MPSF Gymnast of the Week) leading his team with a 14.3.
I don't think this would be much of a recap without talking a little more about what Moldauer was able to do. He absolutely smashed the previous NCAA all-around high score with his 87.15.
Moldauer at NCAA's in 2017 (photo: Jess Frankl)
"It's going to be determined the rest of his career what level of success he fits in with some of the other greats that have been here," said Williams when asked if Moldauer was the best he's ever coached. "Certainly, from an NCAA-standpoint, he's doing everything he can to help this team be successful, and Saturday night, he had one of his better gymnastics nights."
Along with winning the all-around, Moldauer was No. 1 on FX, SR and PB. His teammate, Levi Anderson, also competed all six events and wound up with an 82.2.
If there was one complaint that Williams had it was the performance by his team on high bar. "I was a little disappointed that by the end we petered out on high bar and gave quite a few things away there. I think the guys kind of felt like we already had it in hand and they didn't quite have the killer instinct there."
On another note for the Sooners, as was mentioned during the meet's broadcast, sophomore Matt Wenske is going to be out for the remainder of the year after tearing his lat in practice. A mainstay on floor and vault, Wenske's loss will certainly test the depth of Oklahoma. Look for somebody like freshman Gage Dyer to continue stepping up and take on an even bigger role.
A second-straight meet of 410+ for Stanford is certainly something for Stanford to be proud of. Robert Neff did his absolute best to put a charge in his team by securing a season-best 83.45 all-around score.
Robert Neff (photo: Jess Frankl)
The Cardinal actually won the meet on high bar with Neff winning the title (14.55) and Grant Breckenridge taking third. Stanford has done more than enough to cement themselves as one of the top-three teams in the land.
Winners of both floor and vault (the latter of which they set the NCAA-high with a huge 73.2), Nebraska just didn't have enough on SR, PB and HB to stay with OU & Stanford.
They were able to grab a pair of individual titles with Antonio Castro's 14.6 on PH and Kyle King's stuck handspring-double front on VT.
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