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OU gymnastics: Freshmen have played a huge role in Sooners' continuing success

Oklahoma will try for its first national championship since 2008 at 7 p.m. Friday at Lloyd Noble Center.
BY RJ YOUNG, For The Oklahoman Published: April 19, 2012

NORMAN — The Oklahoma men's gymnastics team relied heavily on its freshmen for production all season. With qualification for the team finals of the NCAA championship in the balance, Sooners coach Mark Williams asked his young talent to come through again.

More than half of Oklahoma's 18-man roster is comprised of freshmen. The Sooners have received contributions from freshmen Danny Berardini on parallel bars, Michael Reid on pommel horse and Dylan Akers on high bar.

The No.1-ranked Sooners responded Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center with a qualifying team score of 356.20. Oklahoma earned an opportunity to compete for the program's first national championship since 2008 and its ninth in program history at 7 p.m. Friday.

OU has finished no worse than fourth in the championships since 2000. But this is the first squad Williams has coached that doesn't boast a holdover from a previous national championship team since 2001.

 “Today, our goal was just to go through the routines, hit them like we know how to and go out as hard as we can,” Akers said. “I'm pretty excited for tomorrow.”

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