Feb. 9, 2008
DENVER, Colo. -- A capacity crowd of 2,195 witnessed the No. 6 OU women's gymnastics squad remain undefeated on the year as the Sooners posted a team score of 195.925 in outlasting No. 13 Denver (195.700), Utah State (192.275) and Air Force (186.400). Senior Kiara Redmond-Sturms won her fifth all-around title of the season as the All-American posted a 39.275.
The Sooners picked up event titles on bars (49.050) and floor (49.300), as Mary Mantle (vault-9.9), Redmond-Sturms (bars-9.875, floor-9.9) and Haley DeProspero (beam-9.850) swept the individual event titles.
Opening the night on beam, Kristin Smith posted a 9.325 after a fall midway through the sophomore's routine. Following Smith and moving out of the anchor spot for the first time this season, Redmond-Sturms scored a 9.725. In the third spot was reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Week Ashley Jackson who scored a 9.725 and was followed by Stephanie LoPiccolo's 9.550. Rounding out the OU beam scoring were Hollie Vise and DeProspero who posted scores of 9.725 and 9.850, respectively.
After one rotation, the Sooners were second to host Denver, who posted a 49.125 on vault.
Smith got back on track on floor, posting a season-high tying 9.8 out of the first spot and setting the tone for the rest of the Sooner floor lineup. Junior Jessica Kinder, who entered Friday's competition ranked No. 20 in the NCAA on floor, wasn't to be outdone as the Kansas City, Mo., native posted a 9.825. DeProspero matched Kinder's score in marking a season high, before Jackie Flanery tallied a career-high tying 9.875. Jackson equalled Flanery's 9.875 as Redmond-Sturms posted a 9.9 in the anchor spot.
The 49.300 on floor was Oklahoma's third straight score of 49.3 or higher on the apparatus, as OU took a 97.875-97.700 lead over second-place DU after two rotations.
Moving to vault, an area that Kindler has stressed all season that the Sooners must stick to reach their team goals, OU opened with a season-high 9.825 from Flanery. DeProspero followed with a 9.7 as Jackson posted a 9.775 in the third position. Mantle, a native of Bellvue, Colo., stole the show in front of a strong contingent of fans that made the short drive, scoring a career-high 9.9 in her first collegiate competition in her home state. Ratcliff followed with a 9.725 before Redmond-Sturms closed with a 9.775 in the anchor spot.
"Seeing Mary stick the first vault of the season, in posting a career high in front of her hometown fans was fantastic," said head coach K.J. Kindler."
With the 49.000 score on vault, the Sooners increased their lead in the team standings to 146.875-146.625 over the Pioneers through three events.
Opening on bars was junior Ashley Jackson who matched her career best with a 9.825. After a Flanery fall (9.075) in the second spot, DeProspero came through with a 9.75. Vise stuck a career-high tying 9.825 in the fourth spot, followed by a 9.775 from LoPiccolo. Five-time All-American Redmond-Sturms sealed the win with a 9.875 as OU clinched its 12th win of the year.
"I was thrilled with the way we finished the meet," added Kindler. "Anytime you are only up by .2 or so heading into the final rotation, with the home team on floor, it's a very difficult task to come out with the win. I thought we passed the test with flying colors. I loved the fight on bars and the aggressiveness of our landings."
"We were in an all-out dogfight and the girls brought their boxing gloves," said Kindler. "In the future, we must start the meets the same way we have ended them. On beam, it wasn't anything major, but minor slips here and there add up in the team score."
OU has won 25 of its last 26 regular-season matchup's dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. Winners of all regular season meets on the year, the Sooners last regular season defeat was to Stanford on March 9, 2007 in Palo Alto, Calif.
Oklahoma returns to the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble Center on Feb. 15 when it hosts Iowa State at 7 p.m., in the squads second home meet of the year. Billed as Beauty and the Beast night, the meet also features the OU wrestling squad who battles Cal-Poly simultaneous to the gymnastics action.
Tickets will be available Friday night in the East lobby of the LNC of by calling the OU Ticket Office at 325-2424, or toll free at (800) 456-GoOU. General admission tickets are $7 and $5 for youth. Admission to the event is free to OU students with a student ID.