Never Satisfied, Oklahoma Men Strive For Fifth Consecutive National Title

NORMAN, Okla. — Yul Moldauer’s resume speaks for itself. The Oklahoma senior is a 15-time All-American and owner of seven individual national championships. Those are just a few of the honors and accolades the Colorado native has amassed in his time with the Sooners.

Yet, even Moldauer is not immune from the fiery intensity of Oklahoma coach Mark Williams. Nine days before the Sooners head to Champaign, Illinois, to defend their NCAA men’s gymnastics national championship, Williams booted Moldauer and the entire OU squad out of a Wednesday morning practice because he didn’t like their energy level.

“I think it was just a reality check for us. Yeah, we were pretty tired, but that doesn’t matter. What Colin Van Wicklen said is don’t take this week off. Take this week to get better,” Moldauer said. “This is the last little stretch, and I think that motivated us to come in here and fix our minds, and don’t think about, oh we just had conference. It’s no, it’s time to really attack it. We’ve only got one week left.”

More than anything else, that may be the best example of why Oklahoma has produced nine national champions since 2000 and will be going for five in a row April 19-20 at the 2019 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships at State Farm Center. They don’t settle.

“As much as we do, it’s like our hashtag. He’s never satisfied,” sophomore Gage Dyer said of Williams. “We’re never satisfied with how hard we work. We can always work harder, and I think that’s something that keeps us motivated cause, what we do is great. We could do it better.”

Dyer, who will make his second appearance at the national championships said it took him a while to really understand what it means to be part of the Oklahoma gymnastics tradition.

Moldauer had the same reaction his first season in 2016.

“You know, freshman year, I didn’t really know what it was like to be an OU gymnast, and it took me a whole year to really find out what it means to be,” Moldauer. “You know, always working hard, doing what’s good to get outside of the gym, in the community and working hard in class, and then coming in here and being prepared to go through some hard stuff, so you can be the best gymnast possible. Now that I’ve known what this program’s like, I just have to give so many thanks to everyone that works here and contributes to our team.”

The Sooner way these days means winning and winning consistently. Along with its titles, Oklahoma is also riding a win streak of 116 straight meets. It’s the third longest in NCAA history, across all sports. Only the University of Miami men’s tennis team (137; 1957-1974) and BYU/Hawaii women’s tennis team (130; 2002-2005) have recorded longer unbeaten stretches.

The Sooners’ streak dates back to January 17, 2015, which means Moldauer and the rest of the senior class have never felt the sting of defeat. With another NCAA championship, he will end his college career unbeaten and a four-time champion.

“It’d be amazing. It really gives me goosebumps just thinking about it, but winning four years in a row would just be amazing,” Moldauer said. “Hunter Justice did it. He’s the only OU gymnast who’s ever done that, and for us seniors to do that, that’d just be a cherry on top of our season and careers here at OU.”

However, despite the run Oklahoma is on, they know finishing the year on top will not be easy. After barely holding off No. 2 Stanford at the MPSF conference championships, the Sooners know the target on their backs has gotten bigger as the competition has grown stronger.

“There is quite a bit that we can do,” senior co-captain Levi Anderson said. “One is just continuing to figure out how to trust ourselves. Normally, what we’re really good in, no matter what the situation, high pressure no matter what, we just trust our training, trust the process and trust what Mark has done.”

Overall, Oklahoma is tied with Penn State with 12 national championships. In order for the Sooners to earn No. 13 and take the top spot by themselves, they have to go through a field that includes No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Minnesota, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 8 Iowa, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 10 Navy, No. 11 California, and No. 12 Army West Point.

Of the 11 other teams competing, the Sooners have already beaten nine of them at least once this season.

Because this is the most experienced team the Sooners have had over their recent run, the gymnasts know they don’t have go out and turn into supermen to walk off the floor as champions.

“The key is to stay within ourselves,” Moldauer said. “Bring our energy, and just do our job. You know, we don’t need to be better than we are to win. We just got to focus on ourselves, do our job, get in, and get out.”

Cali Grand Invitational: Who Will Challenge Oklahoma At Season-Opener?

In recent history, Oklahoma has been the powerhouse team of the NCAA, winning four of the past six team titles. Most notably, the Sooners win this past year showed the NCAA that they are THE team to beat in 2020. 

Everything You Need To Know: 2020 California Grand & Collegiate Challenge

The California Grand Invitational and Collegiate Challenge is coming up, and this huge club and college competition is a great way to kick off the 2020 NCAA season and showcase many talented level 10 competitors. This meet will take place in Anaheim, California, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The venue is recently renovated and is sure to be a gorgeous spot to host this huge event. 

Rookie Coaches Bring Fresh Ideas To NCAA Gymnastics

Last week, we brought you reflections from some of the most veteran coaches in NCAA gymnastics. 

Maggie Nichols Leads Oklahoma Gymnastics Into 2020 Season

The 2020 NCAA season is less than a month away, and eight teams, including the reigning national champion Oklahoma Sooners, will begin their season at the California Grand Invitational & Collegiate Challenge.

5 Reasons To Watch The 2020 Cali Grand Invitational & Collegiate Challenge

The NCAA gymnastics season is coming up, and we could not be more excited! First up is the Cali Grand Invitational and Collegiate Challenge, featuring eight NCAA teams alongside level 10 club gymnasts. The competition will be held Jan. 3-5, with the NCAA teams competing Jan. 4.

Everything You Need To Know About Robot Judges Used At Worlds

With all the history made at World Championships 2019, it was easy to miss perhaps the biggest news of all: this was the first competition that included the use of artificial intelligence and 3D sensors, “robot judges” if you will, as an additional judging tool.

Veteran NCAA Gymnastics Coaches Reflect On Past, Present & Future

The 2020 NCAA gym season is stacked with talent, and not just from the athletes.

Philippine Gymnasts Prep For SEA Games Pressure

When Carlos Yulo made history for the Philippines by winning bronze on floor at the 2018 World Championships in Doha—his country's first world medal in gymnastics—he raised the bar. When he made history for the Philippines by winning gold on floor at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart―his country's first world title in gymnastics―he raised the bar even higher. 

2020 Collegiate Challenge Ticket Giveaway

FloGymnastics will be be kicking off the 2020 NCAA gymnastics season at the Collegiate Challenge on Jan. 4 and we're giving away tickets to watch the event in person! We will also be providing exclusive coverage of the competition including a live stream and video replays.

Who Are The Young Gymnasts Who Earned Bronze For Italy?

During last month’s 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, the U.S. won gold and Russia silver, but it was Italy, winners of the bronze medal, that captured hearts in Stuttgart and around the world.