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OU men's gymnastics: Levi Anderson's vault helps send No. 1 Sooners to conference title

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Oklahoma's Levi Anderson celebrates after his vault during the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship gymnastic meet Saturday inside McCasland Field House in Norman. The vault helped the Sooners win the meet. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma's Levi Anderson celebrates after his vault during the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship gymnastic meet Saturday inside McCasland Field House in Norman. The vault helped the Sooners win the meet. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

NORMAN — Levi Anderson saw an Olympian break his leg on a vault routine in 2016 and thought, “I’m going to give this a try.”

“He broke his leg because he was crooked in the air and I figured with my trampoline background, that I would possibly be able to get it,” Anderson said.

Anderson gave the routine a try and has been using it ever since.

Saturday, the Oklahoma senior used it for a season-high 15.250 to win the event and help lift the top-ranked Sooners to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title at McCasland Field House.

Oklahoma bested No. 2 Stanford 420.500-418.550. California finished third and Air Force fourth as the Sooners ran their winning streak to 116 consecutive teams defeated, 72 at home.

Anderson’s vault is virtually three flips — a roundoff turnover to two more flips on the top. The senior’s start value for the vault is a 15.600, nearly a full point better than most collegiate gymnasts' start values for the event.

“There’s only a handful of guys in the world that are actually doing it,” Sooners coach Mark Williams said of Anderson’s vault. “To nail that in a critical moment like that was just amazing. That definitely showed our team came to play, that we weren’t going to give it up.

“Things hadn’t been going all that smoothly, but they’ve worked too hard to let it get away from them.”

Yul Moldauer, who figures to finish his career as the most decorated collegiate gymnast in history, also had a big day in his final home meet.

Moldauer won the pommel horse, still rings and parallel bar events, but it was Moldauer’s high bar performance that capped the day.

On Oklahoma’s next-to-last rotation, Matt Wenske fell from the parallel bars, suffering an injury that made Williams decide to slide Moldauer into a scoring slot for the high bars.

Moldauer had struggled on the event recently.

“I’ve just had trouble the last few weeks hitting the routine,” Moldauer said. “I’m really blessed that I got the opportunity.

“That was probably the most special routine tonight.”

As Moldauer stuck his dismount for a 14.200, he flexed a bit as the crowd of 1,355 roared.

“Finishing my career with that, that was special,” Moldauer said. “I’ll always remember that moment.”

The Sooners and Stanford figure to meet again in two weeks in an even bigger stage, in the NCAA Championships in Champaign, Illinois, on April 19-20.

Ryan Aber

Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The... Read more ›

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