Crimson and cardinal may be exponentially different colors in the eyes of Oklahoma and Stanford, but to Cal men’s gymnastics, any team donned in dark red has the mark of one thing — a seemingly unbeatable foe.
Although still unable to beat No. 1 Oklahoma or No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Cal men’s gymnastics did manage to outperform No. 11 Air Force in the teams’ first faceoff this year. The MPSF Championship Meet on Saturday marked the beginning of postseason competition and the road to the NCAA Championships in late April.
Oklahoma’s first-place win was no surprise as the team claimed its seventh straight Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship with a score of 414.750. This is the longest victory streak in MPSF program history, and it also marked the Sooners’ 87th win in a row.
Junior Yul Moldauer led Oklahoma by claiming five individual titles — the most anyone has ever won during a single conference championship in school history. He executed this feat with the top scores in floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and the all-around competition.
His record-breaking accomplishment was made that much more impressive by the fact that he recently returned from injury. Moldauer was named MPSF Gymnast of the Year at the close of the tournament and was joined by his head coach, Mark Williams, who was awarded Coach of the Year for a fourth consecutive year.
The Sooners won every team title except for the parallel bars, which went to the Cardinal with a score of 69.250. With sophomore Tanner Justus coming in first on vault, Oklahoma claimed every individual event save for the horizontal bar, which went to Cal’s very own senior Yordan Aleksandrov.
This was Aleksandrov’s first-ever conference title and season best in the event; he earned a score of 14.400. This achievement helped him earn fifth place in the all-around competition with a score of 79.250.
Junior Aaron Mah earned a score of 79.700, putting him in fourth place for the all-around competition. This score was supported by his 13.700 on floor to tie for fourth, 13.600 on high bar for ninth and 12.550 on pommel horse for 10th place.
In the end, Stanford came in second behind Oklahoma with a score of 404.150, and Cal came in third with a score of 393.650 to just barely edge out the 392.550 earned by host Air Force.
The Bears won’t find out until the selection announcement next week whether or not they get to continue their postseason competition at the 2018 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships.
If the Bears make the cut, they will surely find themselves facing another wave of daunting red — including the Cardinal and the Sooners — from April 20-22 in Chicago, Illinois.
Alison White covers men’s gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected]