Nov. 10, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- Head Coach K.J. Kindler and the 2010 NCAA Runner-Up Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad announced the signing of five gymnasts to join OU's roster in 2011 Wednesday. Hayden Ward will join the Sooners in January for their 2011 season, while Erica Brewer, Rebecca Clark, Madison Mooring and Haley Sorensen join Oklahoma in the summer of 2011 to begin training.
National Letters of Intent were signed Wednesday morning by Brewer, Clark and Mooring, the first day of the early signing period.
Ward signed a financial aid agreement earlier this year and will begin training with OU upon her graduation in December.
Sorensen has filed the necessary paperwork confirming her enrollment and place at OU in the fall 2011 incoming class.
"This class has been so much fun to assemble," Kindler said. "I know that we have found a group with personality, grand intensity and ambition. They have tremendous spunk that will definitely add a bit of spice to the gym."
"When it comes to drive, determination, talent and commitment they are certainly not short of those attributes," Kindler added. " I am thrilled to call them Sooners."
Hayden Ward from Norman, Oklahoma trains at Dynamo Gymnastics in Oklahoma City under the tutelage of Dennis and Shannon Harrison. Ward is a three-time Junior Olympic National qualifier and recently placed eighth in the all-around and sixth on uneven bars at the 2010 Junior Olympic Nationals in Dallas.
In 2009, Ward finished sixth in the all-around at JO Nationals and fifth on bars. Ward was the 2009 regional champion on bars, placed second on vault and third in the all-around. Ward is a two-time Oklahoma State Champion and helped her Region 3 team to back-to-back top-three finishes at Nationals.
Ward will graduate from Norman North High School in December 2010, where she is a 4.0 honor roll student and a member of the National Honors Society and National Leadership Council.
"Hayden has both the work ethic and the heart to contribute on every level for our team," Kindler said. "She will add an emotional flare in competition and she will back it up in the gym at practice. She is that taste of hometown hero that every program needs on their team. I can't wait to see her face light up the first time she walks down the tunnel at the Lloyd Noble Center."
Erica Brewer from Louisville, Ky., will join the Sooners from Champion Gymnastics where she trains under Tiffany Orem. Brewer was honored as the 2009 Kentucky Gymnast of the Year, is a three-time National qualifier and former National team member.
"I chose OU because I always had a goal in my head to go to a top 10 school for gymnastics. Not knowing anything about Oklahoma I visited and fell in love with the school. I knew as soon as I left that, that was where I wanted to go. Everything just felt at home and was a perfect fit for me. The girls were so welcoming and the coaches were awesome."
In 2009, Brewer was the Champion on balance beam and placed 3rd in the country in the All-Around at the USA Junior Olympic Championships. She was a member of the JO National Team and participated in the National Training Camp. At the 2007 JO Nationals Brewer placed fifth on floor and sixth on bars and second on beam at the 2006 championship competition.
Brewer is an eight-time state champion in Kentucky as well as a member of the Region 5 All-Star Team.
Brewer will graduate from Sacred Heart Academy in the spring of 2011.
"At a young age, Erica learned to persevere," Kindler said. "There is no question that she is `all in' and has the level of dedication that you look for in a championship caliber athlete. She works faster and harder than the gal next to her, and she knows how to deliver.
"Erica has a positive attitude that never waivers and can usually be found smiling ear to ear," Kindler added. "She is the energizer bunny, she keeps going and going and going."
Rebecca Clark is a senior international elite gymnast out of Great American Gymnastics Express (GAGE) in Blue Springs, Mo., training under Al Fong and Armine Barutyan-Fong.
Clark tested International Elite in 2006. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, she competed in VISA Championships. In addition, Clark represented the United States in Italy at the Grand Prix competition as well as Pacific Rim in California.
Clark recently finished 11th overall and sixth on beam at the 2009 VISA Championships after moving up to the Senior International Elite level. Clark was a two-time gold medalist as a member of the U.S. National team (2007-2008 and 2008-2009). Clark recorded five top-five finishes and two top-10 finishes at international competitions in those two years.
"OU was the perfect distance from home for me. I can be independent and still know the comforts of home aren't far away. I love the team, the coaches, the campus, and the atmosphere. OU offers just what I am looking for
Clark took her first gymnastics lessons at age of three at GAGE and has been training there ever since. Clark, a 4.0 student, will graduate from Blue Springs South High School in the spring and plans to be an accounting major at OU.
"Becca is the eldest athlete in her training group and has taken on a big sister role with her teammates," Kindler said. "She is very nurturing and always looks out for the younger athletes. She has earned a great deal of respect from everyone who has trained with her or coached her. She is loyal, inspired, has a huge heart and brings with her tremendous experience. I know she will savor every moment of her experience as a Sooner."
Madison Mooring hails from Sallisaw, Okla., and trains under Dennis and Shannon Harrison of Dynamo Gymnastics along with fellow OU signee, Hayden Ward. Mooring was previously a student at Krafft Academy in Tulsa under Kristi Krafft.
Mooring qualified for JO Nationals in 2008 and qualified for the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in 2009 and 2010. Mooring was also a six-time regional qualifier.
Mooring recently placed first on vault, beam and floor at the 2010 NIT competition and finished fourth in the all-around. At the 2009 NIT competition Mooring finished first in beam and floor, third in vault and second in the all-around.
"When I visited Oklahoma I felt like I was already a part of the team. It seemed like the right place from day one. I was born and raised a Sooner, it has been a dream of mine since I can remember."
Mooring is a member of the Cherokee Nation and is a 4.0 student at Bixby High School in Tulsa, Okla.
"Madison has dedicated herself to a rigorous schedule in order to prepare for her upcoming experience as a Sooner," Kindler said. "Madison is an amazing beam worker. She tumbles and dances on the beam as if it were four feet wide. Her elegance and ability to perform will make her stand out in the collegiate arena. There is no doubt that she will make an impact on our team and will be a crowd favorite."
Haley Sorensen trains under Terry Walker and Tamara Walker out of Cypress Academy of Gymnastics in Houston, Texas, the same club gym of OU's 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Natasha Kelley, as well as OU alum and USA Olympian, Jonathon Horton.
She tied for sixth on beam and placed 18th in the all-around at the 2008 JO Nationals. Sorensen finished third in the all-around, seventh on vault, third on bars, fifth on beam and second on floor at the Region III championships in 2008.
"Of the schools I visited, Oklahoma was the school I felt an immediate connection with. It had everything I was looking for and wanted - great coaches, great teammates and great academics. I am so excited to be a Sooner and
Sorensen, a four year level 10 gymnast, hails from The Woodlands, Texas, and will graduate from The Woodlands High School in the spring of 2011. Sorensen's twin sister Stacey is also a top-notch gymnast and will be joining the Southern Utah gymnastics team next season.
"Haley has roots at OU," Kindler said. "She has teammates who have attended Oklahoma and has heard about the tradition, pride and loyalty that surround the program. I think this was a natural fit for both Haley and her family. We know that she has outstanding potential on all four events. I was impressed when I watched her in the gym and I believe there is no ceiling to what she could accomplish here."