April 24, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. -- The 10th-seeded University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad narrowly missed qualifying for the program's first Super Six with a fourth-place showing in the first preliminary session at the 2008 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships in Athens, Ga., on Thursday afternoon. OU recorded a team score of 196.075, falling just 0.5 of a point behind third-place LSU inside Stegeman Coliseum on the campus of the University of Georgia.
Florida (196.9) and Alabama (196.65) join the Tigers from session one in Friday night's team finals while Georgia (197.625), Utah (196.95) and Stanford (196.9) prevailed in the evening round.
The Sooners defeated Arkansas, Oregon State and Denver to tie UCLA for eighth-place overall, which also matched last season's program-best finish.
"While we are disappointed the season has come to an end for our squad, we are happy with the way we performed, in that we were in it until the end," said head coach K.J. Kindler. "We had a couple of missteps here and there that kept us out of tomorrow's session, but that shouldn't take anything away from what we have accomplished this season. It was a special group of girls and we look to build off of this experience towards next year."
Senior Kiara Redmond-Sturms earned first team All-America honors on floor, tying for fourth place with a score of 9.9. The Los Angeles, Calif., native moves on to compete in Saturday's individual event finals on the apparatus.
The All-American came up just short of qualifying for Saturday's all-around competition, scoring a 39.400 to finish fifth, just 0.025 of a point out of fourth place. However, the all-around total earned Redmond-Sturms second-team All-America distinction. The senior also earned second-team All-American status on vault (fifth-9.85) and beam (sixth-9.825).
"While I'm happy to be representing OU in the individual finals, I have said all along that any individual accolades are just icing on the cake," said Redmond-Sturms. "I would have loved to see us make the Super Six, but the team has a lot of talent returning next season and I'm excited about the future of OU women's gymnastics."
OU dug itself an early hole on vault, scoring a 48.775 -- its lowest output since Jan. 18. Leading the way were Mary Mantle and Redmond-Sturms, who posted scores of 9.8 and 9.85, respectively.
The Sooners had time to collect themselves, benefitting from a bye in the second rotation.
Oklahoma hit all six bars routines in the fourth rotation, led by a pair of 9.85s from Jackson and Hollie Vise. The Sooners jumped from sixth to fourth and more importantly, closed to within 0.25 of a point from the crucial third spot after all six squads had completed two events.
OU kept itself in contention on beam, scoring a team total of 48.950 which was just 0.025 of a point off of Florida's event winning total. The Sooners were led by Redmond-Sturms' 9.825 and a pair of 9.8s from Vise and DeProspero.
The Sooners stuck all six floor routines, earning a team score of 49.225. Redmond-Sturms' 9.9 was followed by Flanery and Kinder who both posted 9.85s. Jackson notched a 9.85 while Kristin Smith scored a 9.8 from the opening spot as the Sooners.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Sooners recorded one of the best years in program history. Oklahoma made its mark atop the record book for wins (27 - before the NCAA evening session), consecutive victories (21), wins to start a season (21), regular season winning percentage (1.000), home winning percentage (.917) and regular-season road winning percentage (1.000).
The 2008 NCAA Gymnastics Championships will air tape-delayed on CBS at 2 p.m. (CDT) on May 10.