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Oklahoma Dominates Second NCAA Qualifier
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

NORMAN, Okla.—Top-ranked Oklahoma continued its dominance Thursday night as it blew away the field in the second qualifying session at the NCAA Championships at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners hit 28 of 30 routines and stuck plenty of dismounts, which receive up to .20 of bonus under the current NCAA rules.

"I was fairly pleased with the performance tonight," said Oklahoma coach Mark Williams. "Not a lot of pressure [in qualifying]."

The Sooners started on floor and posted 76.70. All five scores topped 15.00, with 15.60s from Alec Robin and Colin Van Wicklen. On rings, the squad scored 76.30, led by a 16.30 from Michael Squires.

Williams attributed his team's vast improvement from a year ago to the attitude of his seven seniors.

"The seniors were on a mission … after placing second three years in a row," he said.

Asked if he was satisfied with only two misses, one on pommel horse and the other on high bar, Williams only offered that "we can do better." And after finishing second four years straight, Williams is hoping Friday will bring OU its ninth NCAA team title.

"There's a confidence that we've beaten the top teams [already]," he said.

Two-time defending champion Michigan may be lacking that confidence since it finished more than 13.00 behind Oklahoma. So Wolverine coach Kurt Golder said his expectation for Friday's championship is to "hit 30 for 30 routines; we haven't done that this year." Besides losing all the scores of Sam Mikulak from 2014, Golder said he also lost most of his rings team. Senior Stacy Ervin was protecting the knee he injured at Big Tens, but he might compete the leg events Friday, according to Golder.

Iowa earned the third and final berth from this session, but it also lost two gymnasts in the process. Del Vecchio Orozco was injured in high bar warm-ups just prior to rotation one, and Matthew Loochta injured his right knee while landing a double front vault.

Illinois finished fourth, competing without Fred Hartville, who tore his right Achilles' tendon during warm-ups.

The last time OU hosted the NCAAs was in 2012, when Illinois pulled a dramatic upset over the Sooners. Considering how solid Oklahoma looked tonight, Friday's meet may well be more coronation than competition. No doubt, Williams would be fine with that.

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