No. 8 Sooners Battle No. 14 Missouri

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 26, 2004

Meet 9 at Missouri
Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004
2 p.m. CST
Columbia, Mo. (Hearnes Center)

No. 8 OU vs. No. 14 Missouri Preview
The  No. 8 Sooners travel to Columbia, Missouri, to battle No. 14 Missouri on Sunday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m. (CST) in the Hearnes Center.  Live updates of the meet can be found at the following link once the meet begins:

OU is coming off its second consecutive victory, a 197.100-196.175 triumph over Southern Utah.  The Sooners beat Stanford the week prior.  Their two meet streak comes after losing three straight. 

Mizzou dropped its last meet to BYU 196.725-195.525 on Monday. The loss puts Missouri at 8-3 this year and 0-2 in the Big 12.  

The Tigers are coached by Rob Drass in his fourth season with a 38-39 career mark.  Missouri features four letterwinners returning from last year's squad and eight newcomers.   Sophomore Laura Schwartzman is one of only two gymnasts in the Big 12 to post a score of 10.0 this season.  Schwartzman did so on the beam on Jan. 11 and Nebraska's Gina Bruce is the other to produce a 10.0 (vault).

OU is currently 9-8 (0-2 Big 12) and ranked No. 8 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.620.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 9 Stanford, No. 16 Oregon State, No. 20 Denver, Southern Utah (twice), Air Force (twice) and TWU (twice).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 10; No. 3 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia (twice), No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Iowa State, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 12 Iowa and No. 15 Washington.

The Sooners' 197.100 against Southern Utah this past weekend was the first time they had scored a 197-plus since the last time they faced SUU on Jan. 24.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo won the all-around (39.500) against Southern Utah for the second consecutive week and also won the beam (9.875).  Sophomore Katie Hostler (floor), freshman Ashley Cooney (vault) and senior co-captain Leah Mueller (bars) all scored 9.900 for first place in their respective events.

Up next for the Sooners is the home finale against Texas Women's University at the the Lloyd Noble Center on Sunday, March 7, at 3:30 p.m.

Complete Release | Season Statistics

Before this season, sophomore Tara Anderson had never competed on the vault.  In the past two meets, her 9.700 and 9.775 against Stanford and Southern Utah have been key in OU's victories.  This is the first week that the Sooners are ranked nationally as a team in the vault. They are No. 17 after posting a season-high 49.250 last week.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has been the Big 12 conference’s Gymnast of the Week twice this season.  The only other gymnast in the conference to do so is Iowa State's Erin Dethloff.

Tamayo won her second consecutive all-around title at Southern Utah.  She has now won five all-around titles this season and overall has finished first in the all-around and other four events 22 times.

“Kasie has been a model of consistency all season,”  said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “She is one of our team captains and Kasie has been proving that this year by setting the example in each competition.”

The Sacramento, Calif., native has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in seven out of nine meets this season.  She has won the all-around title five times this season and her average ranks her third in the nation, first in the South Central Region and first in the Big 12.  Below is a look at how Tamayo ranks in the five events in the nation, region and Big 12:

All-Around     Floor Exercise     Balance Beam     Uneven Bars     Vault    
National     3rd t-11th  t-7th  t-6th nr
Regional 1st 1st 1st 1st 8th
Big 12 1st 1st 9th 1st 2nd

For the first time this season, OU found itself ranked in the top 20 on the vault and is now in the top 10 on beam, bars and floor.  The Sooners' vault team is averaging a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 49.020 and is ranked No. 17.

The Sooners remain in the top five on uneven bars, tied at the No. 2 spot (49.315) and are also No. 5 on floor (49.365) and No. 8 on balance beam (49.105).

Besides Tamayo, two other Sooners rank in the top 20 individually around the nation.  Senior co-captain Leah Mueller is No. 12 on the uneven bars behind junior Erin LaBarr, who is ranked No. 11 on the same apparatus.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics moved up to the No. 2 spot in the nation on the uneven bars averaging a RQS of 49.315.  For five consecutive weeks, the Sooners have been ranked in the top five on the apparatus.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners (tied with Alabama for the No. 2 spot) are not far behind the nation's best, just 0.095 below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA (49.410). 

OU has scored better than its competition on bars in seven meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring its opposition.  The Washington Huskies are the only other team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

LAST TIME OUT (At Southern Utah | 2/20/04)
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team defeated Southern Utah on Friday in Cedar City, Utah, by a score of 197.100-196.175.  It was the second time the two schools met this season, with OU winning the previous meeting.

“This was a solid meet for us,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “We did not have to count one fall towards our final score and I think we are definitely getting better as the season progresses.  Now we have to move to the next competition, which will be a tough meet at Missouri.”

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo won the all-around for the second straight meet, coming away with a 39.500 tally.  Tamayo has now won five all-around titles this season and three of the last four times in competition.  In addition, the California native has been the Sooners’ top all-arounder in seven of their nine meets.  She also took home first place on the balance beam with a 9.850. 

The Sooners won every event except for the floor exercise which Southern Utah edged out OU, 49.375-49.300.  On the vault, OU recorded its best score of the season with a 49.250.  That proved to be the difference in the meet, as the Thunderbirds posted a 48.750.  The Sooners, ranked No. 4 in the nation on the uneven bars, outscored SUU 49.350-49.050.  Finally on the beam, OU scored a 49.200 to SUU’s 49.000.

“This might have been one of our best nights on the vault,” added Nunno.  “We put together six vaults with a 10.0 start value and tonight it showed that we are starting to come along on that apparatus.  It typically has been our weak point in competitions, but tonight the girls shined and made it our best event.”

It was a clean sweep for No. 12 OU in the awards category against the Thunderbirds.  Senior co-captain Leah Mueller was victorious on the uneven bars with a 9.900.  Sophomore Katie Hostler won her second consecutive floor routine with a 9.900 performance and freshman Ashley Cooney was solid again for OU winning on the vault with a 9.900.

The Sooners' home loss on Feb. 1, against Iowa State was the first home defeat under head coach Steve Nunno.  The following week another top 10 team, Nebraska, knocked off OU at home.  Prior to those losses, OU had won 14 straight meets without a defeat.  That streak dated back to 2001 when Nunno was co-head coach with Becky Switzer.

Two-time USA Olympic Coach Steve Nunno is one of the most successful gymnastics coaches in the United States.  His gymnasts have won more national and international medals than any other coach in the country.  Now at the helm of the University of Oklahoma, Coach Nunno has some lofty goals for his college team as well.

After three years as head coach at OU, many of his gymnasts have already entered the record books. In addition, his Sooner squads have been consistently ranked in the top 10 during the regular season for the past two years.

“It’s truly an honor to be the head coach at the University of Oklahoma,” said Nunno.   “Now that I am done traveling around the world with Olympic level gymnasts, it has been wonderful to be able to settle down with my family. The atmosphere and tradition at this University is second to none.”

“I really enjoy coaching the collegiate athletes. This year’s team is extremely talented and they are performing the skills that I’m used to coaching. We have an exciting but challenging schedule this year but I believe it could be our best result ever.

Early into the season, Iowa State has defeated everyone in the conference and sits atop the standings at 3-0.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska (2-1), Missouri (0-2) and Oklahoma (0-2).  Nationally, Iowa State is the highest ranked Big 12 school at No. 5, averaging 196.660.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska at No. 8 (196.300), Missouri at No. 10 (196.180) and Oklahoma at No. 11 (196.161).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

Overall Record     Big 12 Record     High Team Score    
Iowa State     7-0 3-0  196.975
Nebraska 5-2 2-1 197.750
Missouri 8-3 0-2 197.350
OKLAHOMA     9-8  0-2 197.300
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member before its home opener with Air Force on Jan. 23, freshman Ashley Cooney.  Against Air Force at home, Cooney made her OU debut by scoring a 9.750 on vault and 9.825 on floor.  The very next day at TWU she topped those scores with a 9.850 on vault and 9.850 on floor.  Against Iowa State, she competed for the first time on the balance beam (9.275) and recorded a 9.875 on the floor exercise.  This past weekend she recorded new career highs on every event but vault.  Against Nebraska, Cooney scored a 9.850 on beam and 9.900 on floor.  Against Georgia, she competed for the first time on uneven bars and recorded a 9.775 and also had a 39.200 in her first all-around competition, good for third place.  In her second all-around competition against Stanford, Cooney took second with a career best 39.375 and won her first event, tied for first on the floor with a 9.925.  She won her second consecutive event at Southern Utah with a career-best 9.900 on vault.

Freshman gymnast Brittney Koncak, the Sooners’ top performer in two meets this season, will miss the remainder of the campaign due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. OU head coach Steve Nunno made the announcement on Feb. 3. Koncak suffered the injury in practice last week and missed the Feb. 1 competition against Iowa State. An MRI on Feb. 2 confirmed the nature of the injury. A surgery date has not yet been scheduled.

In her last two competitions against Air Force at home and at Texas Woman’s University, Koncak finished second both times in the all-around and in the top five of every event.

Koncak earned the Big 12’s first 2004 Gymnast of the Week honor, as announced by the conference on Tuesday, January 13.  She was also named Inside Gymnastics’ gymnast of the week for the South Region as announced on Wednesday, Jan. 14 on their web site,






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