Sooners Open Home Slate on Monday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 24, 2009

 No. 7 Oklahoma (1-1) vs. No. 8 Arkansas (3-1) 
 Date & Time

 Monday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. CST | Meet Program

 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center
 Tickets  OU Ticket Office - (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU

 Nintendo Wii | Free 2009 Schedule Posters | Kid's Night

 Live Scoring  Webcast (with commentary) (Free) | Live Scores (Free)
 Directions  Campus Map
 Gymnastics Site  Oklahoma | Arkansas
 Meet Info  Meet Notes (PDF) SoonersRazorbacks | Coach Kindler Preview

Coming off of its NCAA-best team score of 197.175 in OU’s win at TWU on Jan. 17, seventh-ranked Oklahoma hosts No. 8 Arkansas in its home opener on Monday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center. 

The Sooners (1-1) stand at No. 7 in the latest rankings, after posting event scores of 49.125 or higher on all four events in OU’s matchup with the Pioneers last weekend.  Oklahoma swept all eight individual and team event titles in tallying the best team mark since Jan. 24, 2004 (197.300). 

OU holds top-10 rankings on all four events (tops in the Big 12 on every apparatus), including a second-place NCAA average of 49.225 on beam.  The Sooners closed with three-straight scores of 9.925 on the apparatus last weekend, posting a team score of 49.525 on beam (the highest team score in the NCAA on any event this season).

Ashley Jackson won her first all-around crown of the season at TWU, winning the floor title outright (9.95) and sharing the vault crown with freshman Sara Stone (9.875).  On bars, Hollie Vise snagged the bars win (9.875) and shared top honors on beam with fellow senior Haley DeProspero and freshman Megan Ferguson.

Senior Jessica Kinder will return to action after missing last week's dual meet due to a minor calf strain, while DeProspero could return to the all-around against Arkansas.

The Razorbacks travel to Norman off of a 196.375-195.425 victory over No. 1 Florida on Friday in Fayetteville (winning three event titles against the Gators). 

Arkansas opened the season with a 195.775-194.625 victory over Ohio State in Fayetteville, Ark., on Jan. 9, before splitting a pair of decisions in a tri-meet at Corvalis, Ore., on Jan. 16.  UA (2-1) lost to meet-host Oregon State by the slimmest of margins on the final routine of the night (195.950-195.925), but easily defeated Cal, who posted a 185.250. 

The Razorbacks are led by junior Casey Jo Magee who won her third all-around title of the season against Florida with a program-best 39.525.  Magee is UA’s all-time leader in event wins with 23 - including seven all-around crowns, three bars titles, 12 beam victories and a floor
exercise title. 

Leading the Arkansas program are co-head coaches Mark and Rene Cook. The pair have been at the helm of the program since its inception in 2001.

 Sooner to Watch 

 Hollie Vise | Jr. | UB - BB
Winning her first two event titles of the season, Hollie Vise was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week by the conference office on Jan. 20.  It’s the first Big 12 accolade of the season for Vise, who earned three weekly honors last season en route to a spot on the 2008 All-Big 12 team.

Vise posted a 9.875 on bars against Texas
Woman’s University on Jan. 17 in her first event win of the season and followed up the 
performance with a share of the beam crown after a career-high 9.925.


• FAMILIAR FOE            
Oklahoma is 4-0 all-time against the Razorbacks. The only regular-season meeting came last year in Fayetteville when No. 9 Oklahoma downed No. 11 Arkansas, 196.750- 196.625, despite a program-tying high score from the home team.  The two squads also squared off in the opening session of the NCAA Championships in April, as the Sooners defeated Arkansas 196.075-195.825.  Oklahoma first faced UA at the 2005 NCAA Regional Championship in Durham, N.H. and the teams met again in 2006 at the NCAA Championships in Corvallis, Ore.

The Sooners and Razorbacks stand one-two, respectively, in the South Central Region’s latest Troester rankings.  OU holds top-two team spots on all four events (leads the region on vault and beam), while Arkansas ranks tops in the region on bars and floor. 

Individually, Arkansas’ Casey Jo Magee leads the region with an all-around average of 39.417.  UA’s Michelle Stout shares the region lead on vault (9.883), while OU’s Ashley Jackson ranks sixth (9.85).  Magee leads the region on bars (9.858), although OU frosh Megan Ferguson is right on her heels in second (9.85).  Oklahoma senior Haley DeProspero is the highest ranked beam worker on either team (second-9.9), while Jackson holds a 9.887 to 9.883 lead over Magee on the top of the floor standings in the region. 

• REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS                                                                                                       
Oklahoma has won 32 of its last 34 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007.  Prior to OU’s season-opening defeat at Florida, the Sooners’ last regular season loss was to Stanford on March 9, 2007 in Palo Alto, Calif.

Look for a new dismount on bars from junior Hollie Vise, who will unveil a double-front ending to her routine for the first time in collegiate competition against Arkansas. The 2008 Big 12 bars champion posted an event-winning 9.875 at TWU.

• MEET INFO                                                                                                    
A live webcast with internet commentary (provided by former Oklahoma gymnast Kasie Tamayo) will be available to Oklahoma all-access subscribers at  Live scoring will be provided free of charge on the site as well. Following the meet, a complete recap, photos, video highlights and official scores can be found on, the official website of OU women’s gymnastics.

• FIRST TIME HOME                                                                                                                         
OU’s meeting with Arkansas is its first of four home events during the 2009 season.  The Sooners have a quick turn around following their meet with the Razorbacks, hosting Minnesota on Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. inside the LNC in OU’s “Beauty and the Beast” spectacular.  Oklahoma and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will share the floor with the wrestling squad, who battles N.C. State. 

• NOT ACTING LIKE NEWCOMERS                                                                                                                    
Out of the 14 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 50 percent have gone for a 9.8 or better.  Below is a breakdown of those scores:

Megan Ferguson (3) - 9.925 (beam @ TWU), 9.85 (bars @ TWU and UF).
Sara Stone (2) - 9.875 (vault @ TWU), 9.8 (vault @ UF).
Natalie Ratcliff (1) - 9.875 (beam @ TWU).
Melanie Root (1) - 9.825 (bars @ TWU).

Roster | Schedule | 2009 Season Preview | Notes | 2009 Poster

OU’s Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on three occasions already this season.  Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85) and tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925), while Stone’s 9.875 on vault in Denton, Texas, shared team honors with Ashley Jackson.   
The Sooners last lost a regular season dual in Norman on Feb. 10, 2006, a span of 12 consecutive match ups. Ironically, OU’s last home defeat before the postseason came at the hands of an Iowa State team that was coached by K .J. K indler - OU’s current head coach.      

OU swept all individual and event titles against TWU, marking the first time this season that it had won every crown of the dual meet.  The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago.       

Posting an NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season.  Three of Oklahoma’s top four scores last season, including a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas, came on the road for the Sooners. Going further, five of OU’s top seven scores in 2008 were outside of Norman.    

Oklahoma is the only Big 12 squad to have a gymnast in the top two spots in the latest Troester rankings on all four events.  Ashley Jackson and Sara Stone rank second and third, respectively, in the conference on vault, while Megan Ferguson leads the Big 12 on bars.  On beam, Haley DeProspero and Natalie Ratcliff are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, while Ashley Jackson holds the top spot in the conference on floor. 

Nine Oklahoma gymnasts either set or tied a total of 12 personal bests against TWU on Jan. 17.  Below is a run-down from OU’s spectacular night:

Haley DeProspero (1): Beam - 9.925 | Megan Ferguson (3): Bars - 9.85, Beam - 9.925*, Floor - 9.775*
Jackie Flanery (1): Floor - 9.9 | Ashley Jackson (1): Floor - 9.95* | Natalie Ratcliff (1): Beam - 9.875*
Melanie Root (1): Bars - 9.825* | Kristin Smith (1): Floor - 9.9* | Sara Stone (2): Vault - 9.875*, Floor - 9.775*
Hollie Vise (1): Beam - 9.925*

* - Established new career best       

The Sooner’ bars lineup at Florida included three gymnasts making their collegiate debut on the apparatus (Megan Ferguson, Jessica Kinder and Melanie Root).  The trio went three-for-three including a second-place finish by Ferguson, who scored a 9.85 in her first collegiate routine.  Kinder hit a 9.725, while Root finished with a 9.625.                          

OU freshman Natasha Kelley will redshirt the 2009 season after an achilles injury sustained during the fall training period.  The Katy, Texas, native is Oklahoma's most heralded recruit since NCAA Champion Kelly Garrison after spending 2004-2008 as a member of the US Elite National Team.  The `05 USA Elite Junior National champion (all-around, beam, floor) was also the silver medalist at the 2006 World Championships and `07 American Cup.

• MEET THE NEWCOMERS                                                                                                                  
OU gymnastics fans also will have their first chance to see OU's freshman class of Megan Ferguson, Natasha Kelley, Sara Stone and Hailey Wagner in collegiate action in 2009.  While Kelley is redshirting the year after an injury during the fall, Ferguson and Stone are inked into the tentative starting lineup against Arkansas.

Baylor transfer Julie Kramer also joined the Sooners over the summer and will provide depth to the vault lineup.

OU's 2008-09 recruiting class of Ferguson, Kelley, Stone and Wagner was the sixth-best group in the country, according to a recent Top-10 Women's Recruiting Classes poll.  The Sooners ranked behind No. 1 UCLA and `08 NCAA Championships Super Six squads Georgia (second), Alabama (third), Florida (fourth) and Stanford (fifth).  Oklahoma was the only squad from the Big 12 Conference and South Central Region named to the list.

• THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR                                                                                                                    
The Sooners welcome back 18 routines from last season's 2008 NCAA Championships. Below is an event-by-event breakdown of returners for the 2009 year that competed in Athens, Ga.

Vault (5): Flanery, Kinder, Jackson, DeProspero, Mantle | Bars (4): Mantle, Jackson, DeProspero, Vise
Beam (4): Kinder, Jackson, Vise, DeProspero | Floor (5): Smith, Kinder, DeProspero, Jackson, Flanery

• BOWLING INTO THE NEW YEAR                                                                                                         
Although the gymnastics schedule was set months before the bowl lineups were announced, the OU gymnastics squad opened up its season slate with Oklahoma's football bowl opponent for the second straight year.   The Sooners squared off with the Gator gymnastics squad on Jan. 9, less than 24 hours after meeting Florida in the BCS National Championship game.  Oklahoma and West Virginia met in the second session of the Cancun Classic in their season opener a year ago, a day after OU's football squad faced the Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl. 

• SOONERS TABBED 10TH IN PRESEASON POLL                                                    
The reigning Big 12 Champion Oklahoma women's gymnastics team was ranked 10th in the preseason GymInfo Coaches' Poll, the highest ranking of any conference squad. Oklahoma's 525 points in the preseason poll was one less than ninth-ranked Oregon State. Georgia, winner of the last four national titles, opens the 2009 season as the nation's top team.  The Gym Dogs earned 26 of a possible 33 first-place votes, easily distancing themselves from No. 2 Utah (two first-place votes).  Florida, UCLA (four first-place votes) and Stanford round out the top five. The Sooners' regular season schedule features events against eight teams ranked in the preseason top-25 poll.

• OKLAHOMA INKS THREE TO 2009 CLASS                                                          
Head Coach K.J. Kindler and the Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad announced the signing of three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 12, the first day of the early signing period.
Oklahoma native Bethany Neubauer (Edmond, Okla.), Kayla Nowak (Algonquin, Ill.) and Brie Olson (St. Cloud, Minn.) will join the Sooners next fall.

• KIARA REDMOND NAMED TEAM MANAGER                                                                                                  
Former OU All-American Kiara Redmond has re-joined the Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad as team manager for the 2008-09 season.  The appointment was announced Aug. 8 by head coach K.J. Kindler.
Redmond, one of the most decorated gymnasts in program history, completed her eligibility last May after earning All-America honors on vault, beam, floor and in the all-around at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.

• SHOWING OFF THEIR SMARTS                                                                                          
For the second consecutive season, five members of the Oklahoma women's gymnastics team earned National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches All-American Scholar Athlete Awards, the NACGC announced Aug. 6.
Haley DeProspero, Caitlin Hinkis, Jessica Kinder, Gina Lesko and Mary Mantle garnered Oklahoma's accolades with Hinkis and Kinder both earning perfect 4.0 GPA's for the academic year.  The pair was the only gymnasts in the Big 12 to notch 4.0's during both semesters.
OU recorded a team GPA of 3.25 for the year, up from last season's 3.20.

• VISE AND COMPANY NAMED TO USAG HALL OF FAME                                                                             
University of Oklahoma gymnast Hollie Vise was named to the 2008 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as part of the 2003 U.S. Women's World Championships Team, in a ceremony on June 22nd in Philadelphia, Pa., in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Trials.
The 2003 World Champion on bars, Vise was a member of the `03 squad that claimed the USA's first world team title.

An International Elite gymnast since the age of 11, Vise was a two-time National Champion on bars and balance beam and won a silver medal in the all-around at the same competition on three occasions.
A member of the U.S. National Team for six years, the Dallas, Texas, native won two bronze medals at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Australia.

• A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR                                                                                           
2008 proved to be a storybook season for OU women's gymnastics as the team cemented itself as one of the program's all-time best. Etching its name in the record books on multiple occasions, the Sooners clinched their first Big 12 title since 2004 in dramatic come-from-behind fashion and placed eighth at the NCAA Championships - tying the `07 squad for the best finish in program history at the season-ending event. 

OU made its fifth-straight NCAA Championships appearance, adding to its program-record streak.  Prior to the current five consecutive showings, the Sooners hadn't been in the field in back-to-back seasons in the 27-year history of the program.

The Sooners claimed a conference-leading nine spots on the 2008 Gymnastics All-Big 12 Team.  The Big 12 Conference awarded the top four Big 12 gymnasts with the highest regional qualifying score (RQS) in each event, excluding the all-around. Leading the way for OU was Kiara Redmond who earned a spot on vault, uneven bars, beam and floor exercise. The Los Angeles, Calif., native was the only Big 12 gymnast to garner four accolades. 

Vise was also a multiple winner, clinching a spot on both uneven bars and beam. Leading the Big 12 on beam (9.895), DeProspeo was named to the beam team while Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson were honored for their efforts on floor.



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