Gymnastics: Big meet for OU men Saturday
The Oklahoma men’s gymnastics team opens its home season Saturday, Jan. 26, against the University of Michigan. The matchup between the fifth-ranked Sooners and second-ranked Wolverines is slated for a 7 p.m. start at OU’s Howard McCasland Field House.
“Michigan is one of those teams that’s going to be in contention for the national championship,” said OU head coach Mark Williams. “We expect this to be a really good test for our team.”
After cruising through their first two competitions of the season, the Sooners’ lineup against Michigan will be bolstered by the return of senior co-captain Jonathan Horton. The reigning NCAA floor exercise and high bar champion, Horton spent the first two weeks of the season recuperating from a busy summer on the international gymnastics scene that concluded with a fourth-place all-around finish at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
In Horton’s absence, several gymnasts have stepped up, providing Williams with more options as the season progresses. Freshman Steven Legendre claimed both the all-around and floor exercise titles in the Sooners’ first two meets, while newcomer Bobby Shortle (vault) and veterans Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons (rings), Chris Brooks (high bar), Jason Laughton (high bar) and Kyle McNamara (high bar and parallel bars) have all claimed event titles through the first two weeks of the season.
“For the first time this season we’re going to have the workings of our full team on the floor at the same time,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we do with our best team on the floor. Up until now we’ve been somewhat conservative in what we’ve done and we know that’s not something we can continue to do the rest of the season. We’re going to start to take the cap off a little bit in what we’re doing and open things up a little bit more for this weekend.”
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