By Chuck Reherman
Ever since his days as a power tumbler, Gage Dyer has set his sights on bigger and better things.
The junior to be at the University of Oklahoma from Yukon has his sights set now on making the United States Mens Senior National Gymnastics team and eventually onto the Olympic team.
Dyer just finished a successful sophomore season competing with the Sooners that saw the team finish as the runner-up in the NCAA National Championships in Champaign, IL.
His next goal is to make the men’s senior national team.
The qualifier is set in July and the championships are in August.
“I will compete in the qualifier in July and hopefully make it to the U.S. championships and compete for a the Senior National team,” Dyer said. “By making the team, it would give me the opportunity to compete in international meets representing the U.S. and hopefully making the world team and eventually the Olympic team
My primary goal right now is to make senior team,” be said. “I would then shoot to make the world team and then to the Olympics, which are in 2020, but I feel my best chance for the Olympics will be 2024.”
It’s a far ways from his start as a power tumbler at the Flip Centre in Yukon, which helped vaulted his career in gymnastics. He then moved on to train at the Bart Connor Gymnastics Academy and four-time all-around Oklahoma champion and placed second on vault at the 2017 Men’s Junior Olympic Championships. He was also member of the Region 3 elite team that placed first at the 2017 Elite Team Cup.
Dyer signed with OU in 2017 and has competed for the Sooners two years.
This past season he competed in all 11 meets with seven event titles. He competed in the floor, vault and high bar in the prelims and team finals at the NCAA Championships, scoring 14-plus points in four of his six routines.
“I thought the season went really well for me this year because I didn’t stop doing routines since the previous year so routines got a lot easier throughout the season which allowed me to be more constant in my gymnastics,” Dyer said. “It allowed me to trust my gymnastics that I have been training.
“Since it is my second year and already competing in championships my freshman year, I came in knowing the pressure that would be put on me and I just basically before I did each routine it was just another routine we did in the gym,” he said. “I would imagine the walls and the posters that I see in the gym before I do my routines and that would help calm me down and allow me to do the gymnastics that I have been trained for.”
The runner-up finish did snap a string of national championships for the Sooners and ended an unbeaten streak that stated in 2015
“I think something that has already helped after seeing that final scores it kind of already motivated us,” Dyer said. “We don’t want to feel that feeling again so we are going to do our absolute best and train harder than any other team will.
“To do that we have to be more responsible of the things we do inside and outside of the gym by diet, sleep and I think the biggest thing that will help us next year is we don’t want to have that feeling of looking up at that scoreboard and seeing we did not win, because that is not who we are.
“I feel good about our chances to compete for the national championships because we have a lot of good gymnastic coming in and we don’t want to have that feeling again of not winning. It will help us push ourselves day in and day out in the gym and just following head coach Mark Williams’ program and plan for us I think we should do what we have done the previous years.”
His days as a power tumbler has made him a strong competitor in the floor exercise and three of his titles were in the floor, He won his first career MPSF title on floor exercise with a 14.650 and won two additional floor titles versus Navy (14.750) and Ohio State (14.900).
He also claimed vault titles against Cal/UIC (14.900) and Arizona State (14.850) and took two high bar titles versus Navy (14.700) and Arizona State.
“My favorite has to be floor exercise,” Dyer said. I did power tumbling when I was younger, so I am more comfortable with floor and basically I tell myself before I do a routine is just go out, play and have fun.
“I need to be able to step up and get stronger on rings and a better swing on pommel horse. Once I can get a comfortable set with a lot of difficulty I can be more of contributor as an all-arounder.”