Oklahoma advances to NCAA championships

The top-ranked Sooners win three of the five events as a team and finish behind No. 4 Nebraska to move to the finals
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INDIANAPOLIS — With a second-place finish in the first session of the NCAA Qualifying meet, No. 1-ranked Oklahoma advanced to the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Finals on Friday.

The Sooners finished with a score of 406.190 in competition with No. 4 Nebraska (408.623), No. 5 Ohio State (394.956), No. 8 Illinois (400.721), No. 9 Navy (390.990) and No. 12 William & Mary (371.256).

The Sooners won three events as a team and placed in the top five on four events.

“I think we were just a little bit slow out of the gate in terms of energy, anxiety and nervousness,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “But as the meet went on, we made a little more mistakes than we normally have. The object is to be one of the three teams to qualify and we did that, so we're fine and will come back and go at it again tomorrow.”

The Sooners started the meet on floor and put up a 68.665. Senior Gage Dyer led the team with a score of 14.733, which put him in second place overall.

In the second rotation, the team posted a total of 63.631 on pommel horse. Freshman Zach Nunez put up a 13.333 to lead the team and was closely followed by junior Vitaliy Guimaraes with a 13.233.

The team tallied a 68.932 on still rings in the third rotation of the day, giving them the event title. Spencer Goodell set a new career-best score of 14.033, which also crowned him with the event title. Senior Matt Wenske and Guimaraes followed in second and third overall with respective scores of 13.900 and 13.766.

In the fourth rotation, the Sooners produced a 71.999 on vault, good for the highest team score of the day for the Sooners and another team event title. Dyer led the team with a 14.600, which put him in fifth overall. Sophomore Josh Corona and junior Morgan Seyler both produced 14.500s to help the team win the event.

OU moved to parallel bars for the fifth rotation of the day. The team tallied a 66.265, giving the Sooners their third event title. Tying for second overall, Goodell scored a 13.600. Guimaraes and Wenske tied each other for fourth with a score of 13.533.

The Sooners closed the meet with a 66.698 on high bar and were paced by sophomore Cesar Gracia. The sophomore put up a 13.600 and was closely followed by Nunez with a 13.466, good for a career high score.

The Sooners will compete in the NCAA Finals on Saturday, April 17, at 7 p.m. CT in Minneapolis. They will be joined by Nebraska, Illinois and the three best-scoring teams from Friday night’s second session of the NCAA Qualifying meet at 7 p.m.