By Chuck Reherman
Gage Dyer was determined to cap off his senior year in a special way.
He did that and more.
Dyer, the captain of the University of Oklahoma men’s gymnasitics team from Yukon won two national titles and was named the College Gymnast Associations Specialist of the Year.
After a challenging season, which saw Dyer suffer a leg injury late in the year, the senior came back to score an exceptional 15.266 on the floor exercise to win the national title.
He followed that up with a 15.033 score on the vault for his second national title.
“I don’t think I could have asked for another personal achievement,” Dyer said. “Obviously is a great to have the team finish second, but I think we are all extremely blessed with how the season wen for us.
“I was very thrilled with myself, I don’t think I have ever been as confident in my ability to execute my routines as perfectly as I can,” he added. “The confidence that was flowing through my body the entire weekend was remarkable. I think is was great timing for that meet and I am very blessed with how my season went and how the team did.”
At one point, Dyer tore a muscle that could have sidelined him for more than just two weeks in the season. He did miss a meet for the first time in his college career, but came back stronger and more determined.
“I tore a muscle that is right above the lat muscle and so that took me out for two weeks,” he said. :I wasn’t doing anything except rehabbing and working on leg strength. I was really just focusing my energy on trying to heal myself but also to be a really good captain and leader for my team.
“I was able to take a step back from the actual gymnastics part and focus my teachings and coachings on my team,” he said. “It was a great opportunity for myself to grow and hopefully inspire my teammates in the gym to grow as well. I did miss one competition, but I was lucky enough to travel with the team and lead them. Although I wasn’t able to compete, I was still able to find my groove in helping the team out.
“A week later I want to call it a miracle that I was able to raise my arm past my head which I wasn’t able to do for the past two weeks. One day I woke up and it felt good as new, so I went to my trainer and was telling her. She was thrilled but she wanted give it a few more days and it kept felt better and better.
“I talked to coach (Mark) Williams about coming up with a routine where I wouldn’t have to use my arms as much and so we worked that together and I was able to compete in our last home competition against our biggest rival Stanford. As soon as a I raised my hand I knew I was going to do well, because I have a bunch of experience and confidcne to allow me to go out of my comfort zone.
“I ended up winning the floor exercise and I think that was cool that I altered a routine and did what I had done in the past.”
Dyer finished the regular season in the top spot on floor exercise with a 14.850 NQA, putting him 0.200 ahead of his closest competitor. Dyer held the top spot, earned seven event titles throughout the duration of the season and holds the Sooners’ season best score on floor exercise with a 14.950. A
In addition to floor, Dyer helped lead the team to their ninth straight MPSF Conference title He tallied a 14.800 on vault at the MPSF Conference Championships, crowning him the champion, as well as good for a season-best score.
He beat both marks in the nationals.
“When I saw the score I got, it was incredible,” he said. “One of the first things I did was look up in the crowd at my parents and connecting and rethinking about all the hard work and dedication they put in to get me to this level. It was a very pure moment to look at my parents and thank them for the opportunity that I had.”
He is now setting his sights on earning a spot on the USA men’s national team in June and earn a spot to compete in the Olympics in July.