Best In Class: Sooners Secure Next Generation
NORMAN — Head coach K.J. Kindler and the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program announced the signing of a superb four-member class on Wednesday. Alex Marks is set to join the Sooners for the 2016 season, while Jade Degouveia, Maggie Nichols and Brehanna Showers will come to OU next fall.
“This signing class is literally giving me goosebumps. The talent is huge. The passion, unmatched. The excitement is honestly immeasurable," Kindler said. "These young women are intelligent, motivated and accomplished.
"This signing class is literally giving me goosebumps. The talent is huge. The passion, unmatched."
— K.J. Kindler
"They have received 4.0s in the classroom, earned perfect 10s on the competition floor, qualified for the National Team, won Gold medals at World Championships, competed at the prestigious Nastia Cup and attained the highest level of competition a gymnast can reach," Kindler continued. "But beyond this, their values mesh seamlessly with our program. They will be an incredible fit in our family.”
Degouveia, Marks, Nichols and Showers bring an impressive array of national and international experience to the OU program. Their accomplishments include multiple state and regional titles, JO Nationals appearances and a World Championships gold medal.
“Our 2016 seniors have been an irreplaceable part of OU gymnastics history and they should be proud to hand it off to this class that will continue the legacy they have helped build,” Kindler shared.
Degouveia, a level 10 gymnast from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., currently competes at American Twisters Gymnastics under coaches Christy Ramirez and Gary Anderson. In 2015, Degouveia earned a spot on the JO National Team, placing third in the all-around at the JO National Championships.
In the 2015 Florida State Championships, Degouveia secured a runner-up finish in the all-around and also claimed second-place in the 2015 Region 8 Championships all-around.
She chose Oklahoma over Georgia and Illinois, making the decision before even visiting campus. She is the daughter of Glen and Sandy Degouveia and has two sisters, Amber and Gisele. Degouveia plans to major in orthopedics at OU.
HEAD COACH K.J. KINDLER ON DEGOUVEIA:
“The first time we saw Jade do gymnastics we were completely impressed. She is powerful yet elegant and she was a fierce competitor. Once we got to know her, it was obvious that she was a perfect fit for our program. She is a goal setter and is constantly checking achievements off her list while aiming for the next. She is a role model in her gym and a positive influence and example to her teammates. She wants to go as far as she can go. It all just clicked and we are so excited to bring Jade to Norman next year!”
DEGOUVEIA ON WHY SHE CHOSE OU:
"I chose OU based on the rigorous academics and the amazing and highly-successful gymnastics team."
DEGOUVEIA'S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2015 Florida State Championships
- Second in all-around
- 2015 Region 8 Championships
- Second in all-around
- 2015 JO National Team Member
- Third in all-around at JO National Championships
Anative of Cushing, Okla., Marks is set to join the OU program in the spring for the 2016 season. She currently trains at Dynamo Gymnastics under coaches Dennis and Shannon Harrison.
Marks owns 29 state titles throughout her gymnastics career. A former junior and senior elite and current level 10 competitor, Marks has participated in a variety of high-profile events, including JO Nationals, the American Classic, Secret Classic, Covergirl Classic and American Challenge.
Marks is the daughter of James and Kerri Marks. A member of the 4.0 honor roll, she plans on majoring in health and exercise science at Oklahoma. Marks chose OU over an offer from Florida and later received interest from Alabama, LSU, Nebraska and Arkansas.
HEAD COACH K.J. KINDLER ON MARKS:
"Alex adds a splash of hometown to this signing class. She is one of the most accomplished gymnasts to ever compete in Oklahoma. She has set the bar for so many young aspiring athletes in her gym and in the state who want to reach the heights of Elite gymnastics. Al is a Sooner through and through. She knew from the beginning that OU was the place for her and we knew that this is where she belonged. She joins us in January and we expect her to contribute immediately as OU begins the 2016 season."
MARKS ON WHY SHE CHOSE OU:
"I can't imagine going anywhere else but OU. Oklahoma is my home."
MARKS' CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2015 Level 10 State Championships
- First on vault, bars, beam, floor and in all-around
- 2015 Level 10 Regionals
- First on floor and vault
- 2013 Secret Classic
- 2011 Covergirl Classic
- 2011 JO National Championships
- Tied third on floor; fourth on vault; tied seventh on beam
- 2011 National Elite Qualifier (Jr.)
- First on floor, second on vault
- 2011 Level 10 State Championships
- First place vault, bars, beam, floor, all-around
- 2011 Level 10 Regionals
- Second in all-around
- 2009 JO Level 9 Westerns
- Tied first on beam; third on bars; tied third on floor; third in all-around
- 2009 American Challenge
- First in all-around
Amember of the gold-medal-winning 2015 U.S. Women’s World Championships Team and elite level gymnast, Nichols brings a wealth of national and international experience to Oklahoma. Hailing from Little Canada, Minn., Nichols trains at Twin City Twisters under coaches Mike Hunger, Sami Wozney, Sarah Jantzi and Rich Stenger.
At this year's World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Nichols competed on all four events in team finals and later claimed the bronze medal on floor exercise. Nichols is a three-time participant at the P&G Championships, securing a runner-up finish in 2015.
Nichols, who has been on the U.S. National Team for four years, has appeared in several high-profile events during her career, including the Jesolo Trophy, Pan American Championships, Secret U.S. Classic, P&G Championships, JO National Championships and Nastia Liukin Cup, among others.
The daughter of John and Gina Nichols, she has three brothers, Steven, Sam and Danny. Nichols made the A Honor Roll in 2014, and at Oklahoma, she plans to pursue majors in nursing and business. She chose OU over Florida, Georgia, Utah and Alabama.
HEAD COACH K.J. KINDLER ON NICHOLS:
“When Maggie said yes to Oklahoma it was one of those aha moments. She has been on our minds since she attended camp as a 10 year old. At a very young age you could see the fire and passion she had for gymnastics. It seemed like she couldn’t get enough. It has been so fun to watch her bloom into the incredible person and athlete she is today. We are honored that she has chosen Oklahoma as her future gymnastics home and we look forward to watching with the rest of the world as she continues to run toward that Olympic dream.”
NICHOLS ON WHY SHE CHOSE OU:
"The first second I walked on campus I was just in awe. Meeting all the amazing girls, I just felt like I would fit in perfectly with that type of atmosphere - it looked like an absolute blast. The coaches made me feel so very welcomed, and they reminded me of my club coaches I have now. I felt that I would improve with their help. Everything just clicked and I fell in love. Can't wait to become a Sooner!"
NICHOLS' CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
- Member of 2015 U.S. Women’s World Championships Team
- Gold medal as a team
- Competed on all four events in team finals
- Bronze medalist on floor exercise
- 2013, 2014 and 2015 Jesolo Trophy
- 2015: First team, seventh in all-around
- 2014: First team, third in all-around
- 2013: First team, second on floor, sixth in all-around
- 2014 Pan American Championships
- First team, third in all-around
- 2014 Tokyo World Cup
- Third in all-around
- 2013 Mexican Open
- Second in all-around (exhibition)
- 2013 USA, Germany, Romania Tri-Meet
- First team, fourth in all-around
- 2013, 2014 and 2015 P&G Championships
- 2015: second in all-around; tied fourth on beam; fifth on floor; seventh on bars
- 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Secret U.S. Classic
- Third in all-around
- 2012 Visa Championships
- 2011, 2012 American Classic
- 2011 Elite Qualifier
- 2009, 2010, 2011 Women’s Junior Olympic Level 10 National Championships
- 2011 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup
- 2009 CoverGirl Classic
Showers, a level 10 gymnast, has multiple state and regional titles to her name. A native of Rockford, Mich., Showers participated at nationals two years, garnering four first-place finishes in 2012 (vault, bars, floor, all-around) and two in 2013 (vault, floor). She trains at R-Athletics under Rachel Rydbeck and Daniel McCarty.
Showers, a U.S. National Team member, competed at the 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup, where she finished in fourth place. Showers was Region 5 All-Star Team member and the 2013 Region 5 Gymnast of the Year.
A four-year high school honor roll recipient, National Honor Society member and 4.0 GPA holder, Showers plans to study to become a physician assistant while at OU. Showers is the daughter of Scot and Nancy Showers and has four siblings, Karliane, Shain, Brent and Khale. She chose Oklahoma over UCLA, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Utah, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Auburn, Stanford, Georgia, Arizona, Denver, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa and Iowa State.
HEAD COACH K.J. KINDLER ON SHOWERS:
"I will never forget seeing Bre in the stands when OU won its National Championship in 2014. It meant so much to us that she made the trip to see that moment. To watch her practice is to witness a perfectionist at work. She is the kind of athlete that desires critique and improvement at every turn, always pushing herself for a better result. She is captivating in competition and Sooner fans will be mesmerized by her strength, quickness and confidence. There was an immediate connection on her visit that is magnified now, two years later. We are ecstatic to have her join the family!"
SHOWERS ON WHY SHE CHOSE OU:
"I chose OU because I was so impressed by everything it had to offer. Both its athletics and academics are held to a high standard so not only would I be able to be a part of an exceptional gymnastics team, I would receive a solid education and become part of a tradition-upholding family. The opportunities are endless, and I'm so excited for when I can officially call myself a Sooner!"
SHOWERS' CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2012, 2013, 2014 State Championships
- 2012: first on vault, bars and in all-around
- 2013: first on vault, bars and in all-around
- 2014: first on vault
- 2012, 2013, 2014 Regionals
- 2012: first on vault; second in all-around and on beam, floor
- 2013: first on vault, bars and in all-around; fourth on floor; fifth on beam
- 2014: first on vault, bars; second on beam, floor
- 2012, 2013 Nationals
- 2012: first on vault, bars, floor and in all-around
- 2013: first on vault, floor; second in all-around; fifth on bars
- 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup
- Fourth place in all-around
- U.S. National Team member
- Region 5 All-Star Team member
- 2013 Region 5 Gymnast of the Year