Senior Gage Dyer landed a perfect triple twist vault, earning a score of 15.033 to win the individual vault national title.
After suffering a teres major muscle injury before the 2021 Winter Cup that left the OU captain sidelined for three weeks, Dyer fought back and won his first national title of his career. Along with the vault win, Dyer earned a second national title on floor exercise with a score of 15.266.
With his two victories, Dyer helped No. 1 Oklahoma finish as the runner-up at the 2021 NCAA Team Finals behind No. 3 Stanford on Saturday. With their second place finish, the Sooners fell short of an NCAA-record 13th title.
OU finished with an overall team score of 411.591 while Stanford finished with a 414.521 to win its second national title in three years. The Cardinal last defeated Oklahoma in the 2019 NCAA championships before the 2020 postseason was canceled due to COVD-19.
“This year has been a crazy ride,” Dyer said after the meet. “I’m extremely happy and blessed that I’ve been able to go through this year with this group of guys.”
In addition to the two national titles, Dyer finished his senior season with a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation vault title and the 2021 College Gymnastics Association Specialist of the Year Award. Dyer has a chance to return to Norman next season with an NCAA waiver allowing an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As far as coming back next year, that’s still a decision between me and (coach Mark Williams),” Dyer said. “What I’m going to try and talk about is trying to focus on world championship stuff, just try and get me to that next level. But, still not decided yet.”
Williams, who fell just shy of an NCAA-record 10th title as OU’s head coach, had high praise for Dyer and his team after coming short of the ultimate goal. Williams felt they competed hard and was ultimately proud of his team’s performance.
“I think we exceeded expectations,” Williams said. “We came out pretty hot at the beginning of the season. We had everybody healthy, we had everybody in the lineup, and then we ran into some injuries. … We got going again in March, finally, but to beat Stanford in the conference meet was a surprise. We couldn’t have been better.”
OU finishes the season with multiple national award winners and finalists. Williams took home the CGA West Region Coach of the Year award while redshirt senior Matt Wenske was nominated for the Nissen-Emery Award, freshman Zach Nunez for CGA Rookie of the Year and junior Vitaliy Guimaraes for CGA MVP.
In addition to receiving national award recognition, OU had seven gymnasts combine to claim eight All-America honors. Dyer earned honors on floor exercise and vault, junior Morgan Seyler on floor exercise, sophomore Alan Camillus on still rings, redshirt junior Mason Menser on vault, redshirt senior Matt Wenske on parallel bars, junior Vitaliy Guimaraes on high bars and sophomore Jack Freeman on high bars.
“I’m really proud of the fight of this team,” Williams said. “All of the things that we’ve had to go through throughout this season has made making a run at a national championship pretty amazing.”
The Sooners will return a group of young talent next season including Nunez, putting them in position for a championship run. Furthermore, OU will host the 2022 Men’s Gymnastics Championships on April 16-17 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
“I’m pretty happy with my team,” Williams said. “I’m proud of their effort and excited to be moving to another year where we host the national championship in 2022 and one that we can actually have fans at the championship.”