Oklahoma gymnastics: Sooner men finish third in NCAA Championships


This just wasn't the year for the Oklahoma gymnastics program. Both the Sooner women and men came up short in their bid to add to the already crowded national championship trophy case.

Ranked No. 1 the entire season, 34-0 and seeking a third consecutive national crown entering the NCAA Championships, the OU women finished third in the national semifinals on Thursday, posting their lowest team score of the season, and failed the make the championship final for the first time in11 years.

The Oklahoma men, however, did make it to championship final in the NCAA Men's Championships at Ohio State University on Saturday. Despite posting the highest qualifying score to reach the finals, the Sooners were unable to replicate that performance in Saturday's championship final, finishing third behind No. 1-seeded Stanford and runner-up Michigan, which OU had beaten in the preliminary round.

The OU men scored 412.956 in the championship round, nearly six points lower than their 418.987 winning score on Friday in besting all teams in the qualifying round. Stanford won its fifth straight national championship and 10th overall with a dominating score of 425.324. Michigan was second with a score of 419.689, followed by Oklahoma, Nebraska (412.427, Illinois (411.659) and host school Ohio State (399.122).

The Sooners scored a season-high team score on vault (73.532). The team's previous season high was set in the qualifying round on Friday. All five OU gymnasts scored 14 or higher in the finals. Oklahoma finished second in the event to Stanford.

Oklahoma also placed second in the meet on pommel horse.

Four Sooners earned six All-America honors, placing in the top eight of their respective events: Redshirt-sophomore Fuzzy Benas in all-around, on vault and on parallel bars; junior Emre Dodanli on floor exercise and parallel bars; freshman Max Bereznev on vault, and freshman Nico Hamilton on floor exercise.

"We're a relatively young group, and to finish third in the country at the national championship is a huge accomplishment," said Sooner head coach Mark Williams in the post-competition interview session.

The Oklahoma men have finished in the top three in 22 of the last 23 NCAA Championships and in the top 4 in all 25 of Williams' year at OU.

Oklahoma is tied with Penn State for the most national titles in men's gymnastics with 12. Stanford and Ilinois are tied for third with 10 each. The Sooners' last national championship was in 2018. Stanford has won every year since.