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.”

10 Useful Summer Vault Drills

Summer practices can get long without the deadline of a meet approaching, but these drills can help switch up practices and keep them interesting. Here are 10 drills to work on for various skill levels. If you have a good one we missed, link a video in the comments. 

Clara Raposo & Felix Dolci Lead Canada's Junior Worlds Teams

The inaugural Junior World Championships begins June 27, and the top junior artistic gymnastics will be competing in Gyor, Hungary. Like the senior World Championships, the meet includes team, all-around, and apparatus competitions, but the team sizes for Junior Worlds are smaller. Women's teams consist of three gymnasts, while men's consist of four. 

5 Gymnasts To Watch At 2019 FIG Junior World Championships

The FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships is coming up, and this event is especially exciting because it is the first time this competition has ever been held! Previously only senior gymnasts could compete in the World Championships. By giving junior gymnasts their own competition, FIG Artistic Gymnastics can keep Senior World Championships the same as they always have been, but also give the juniors a shot.

10 Creative Bar Drills

Summer is a great time for gyms to work on all the things they don’t have time to focus on during competition season! Whether that is going back to the basics, cleaning up form on old skills, or learning upgrades, we have a drill for you to incorporate into your summer practices. Here are 10 drills to work on bars for various skill levels. If you have a good one we missed, link a video in the comments.

Gymnastics Is A Sister Act For Bella & Ava Mabanta

Many gymnasts discover the sport through mommy-and-me gymnastics classes. But advancing out of those introductory classes to dominate the J.O. gymnastics world, qualify to elite gymnastics meets, and make a verbal commitment to the University of Denver? That’s not quite so common. Especially not for two sisters to do it together.

10 Fun Gymnastics Conditioning Ideas For Summer

One great thing about summer in the gymnastics world is that practices are often longer since school is out, giving more time to focus on strength and conditioning. If you feel your gym or team is stuck in a rut and doing the same conditioning month after month, here are 10 new ideas to work with to create stronger gymnasts that love strength time (or just hate it a little less!). 

USA's 2019 Junior World Championships Team

Sydney Barros, Skye Blakely, and Kayla DiCello, with Konnor McClain as the traveling alternate, were named to USA's 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships team.

More Ways To Watch FloGymnastics

Never miss a moment. 

Previewing The US Nominative Roster For Junior World Championships

For the first time ever, junior elite gymnasts will have an opportunity to compete on the world championship stage. Gyor, Hungary, will be the host site for the 2019 Junior World Championships and the women’s competition will run from June 28 to 30, 2019. 

June National Team Camp, Jr Worlds Team & Pan Am Training Squad Selection

The USA Gymnastics June National Team Camp begins this Friday June 14 and serves as the selection for the 2019 Junior World Championships team as well as the selection for the 2019 Pan American Games training squad.