NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team will travel to Baton Rouge, La., for its NCAA Regional competition on Friday, April 7. Louisiana State University will host the event which is slated to begin at 6 p.m. CST at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Oklahoma earned the No. 1 seed in the Central Region and will be paired with No. 2-seed LSU, No. 3-seed Penn State, No. 4-seed Kentucky, No. 5-seed Michigan State and No. 6-seed Ohio State.
Under head coach Steve Nunno, it is the first No. 1 seed for a Sooner team entering an NCAA regional.
“It is going to be a tough region,” said head coach Steve Nunno. “All six teams have had great seasons and have been competing at very high levels. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Sooners are 10-8 on the season and ranked sixth in the nation. OU is coming off a disappointing third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship on March 25. The highlight of the meet for Oklahoma was Brittney Koncak-Schumann winning the all-around competition with a 39.425 and Stephanie LoPiccolo earning a tie for first on bars with a 9.85.
Four of the six teams competing in the Central Regional are ranked in the top 20 nationally. Oklahoma leads the way at No. 6, followed by No. 7 LSU, Penn State tied at No. 16 and Kentucky at No. 20.
The Sooners faced the LSU Tigers in a dual meet earlier in the season (Feb. 24) in Baton Rouge. OU went on to win the meet 196.950-196.575, but LSU’s April Burkholder won the all-around competition with a 39.650. It was the only meet this season that Oklahoma hit a perfect 24-of-24 routines and scored a 49.000 or higher in all four team events.
“LSU has improved each week and will be looking to get revenge from its loss to us earlier in the season,” Nunno said. “They are at a whole new level now and have really been training hard in the gym. I do think we have an advantage over the other teams because we have already faced LSU. We are familiar with the atmosphere and know exactly what to expect.”
Oklahoma qualified for the national championships last year in Auburn, Ala., with its second-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional. No. 1-seed LSU took top honors, scoring a total of 197.125 to join OU and its 195.550 at nationals.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Corvallis, Ore., April 20-23, hosted by Oregon State University.
The Sooners have won 41 individual event titles this season. Brittney Koncak-Schumann has earned 23 of those including seven victories in the all-around. Kiara Redmond and Haley DeProspero have both won five.
Oklahoma is ranked in the top 15 in all four events including No. 2 on vault, No. 14 on bars, No. 6 on beam and No. 7 on floor.
OU has won 27 team event titles this season (6 Vault, 7 Bars, 7 Beam and 7 Floor). Oklahoma swept all four event titles in five different meets this season (Southern Utah, TWU Triangular, Texas Woman’s University, Centenary and Kent State).
Oklahoma has been ranked in the top 10 for 11 conescutive weeks. The Sooners have been listed at No. 6 seven times and started the season ranked No. 10, which was their highest preseason ranking under head coach Steve Nunno. OU reached No. 5 twice this season which is its second highest ranking in program history. In 2005, the Sooners were ranked No. 3 for one week following their meet at the Cancun Classic.
Brittney Koncak-Schumann was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week three different times this season. She has recorded a 39.225 season average in the all-around and is the highest ranked Sooner on all four events.
Koncak-Schumann Leads Sooners
Junior Brittney Koncak-Schumann from McQueeney, Texas, is having arguably her best season of her career. At the Big 12 Championship she was crowned all-around champion after posting a 39.425 and finished in a tie for second place on floor (9.9). It marked the seventh time this year that she has claimed all-around honors and just the second time in program history that a Sooner has won the Big 12 all-around title. Kasie Tamayo won the competition in 2004 after posting a 39.575.
Versus Kent State on March 17, she recorded a career-high 39.600 in the all-around to earn first-place honors. She tied a career high on vault (9.95), posted a 9.85 on bars and hit a 9.925 which was her second highest score on floor this season. Her 39.600 was the second-highest score in the Big 12 this season.
Koncak-Schumann is currently ranked No. 6 nationally in the all-around, No. 13 on balance beam, 12th on floor, tied for 22nd on bars and tied for No. 4 on the vault. She is the only Big 12 Gymnast of the Week winner to be ranked in the top 25 in every event. She has recorded an impressive 92.5 success rate in regular season meets hitting 37-of-40 possible routines.
Big 12 Championship Leftovers
The Sooners finished third at the 10th annual Big 12 Championship after posting a 195.350. Iowa State captured the team title with a final team score of 196.425 points.
It was the second Big 12 title (2000) for the Cyclones ahead of runner-up Nebraska with 196.275 points, Oklahoma at 195.350 and Missouri with 194.850. Nebraska won the title in 2005 while Oklahoma took team honors in 2004.
Brittney Koncak-Schumann was crowned all-around champion with a 39.425. Stephanie LoPiccolo tied for first place on bars with Vanessa Meloche (Nebraska), Desire Sniatynski (Nebraska) and Erin Dethloff (Iowa State) at 9.85.
Iowa State’s Janet Anson was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Year. It marked only the second time in the last five years that a Sooner did not earn the award. Oklahoma has won the award five of the last eight years (Ginger Russell 1998, Amber McCracken 1999, Marinana Goncalves 2002, Kasie Tamayo 2004 and Erin LaBarr 2005).
Scouting the Central Region
LSU (No. 2 Seed 14-11 Southeastern Conference)
LSU enters the meet holding a 14-11 overall record and is 5-5 in Southeastern Conference action. The Tigers are coming off a fourth-place finish at the SEC Championship and are ranked No. 7 nationally. The team is led by its senior class comprised of April Burkholder, Terin Martinjak and Kelly Lea. Burkholder is the reigning SEC and NCAA Central Region Gymnast of the Year and has been the Tiger’s anchor in the all-around each of the past three seasons. Burkholder won the beam (9.925) title on March 25 at the SEC Championship.
Head Coach D-D Breaux is in her 29th season and carries a 476-286-7 (.624) overall record. In 2005, Breaux led the Tigers to their 17th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, won their third regional title in the last four years and achieved the program’s first ever No. 1 national ranking. LSU is 6-3 all-time versus the Sooners and 1-1 in home contests. The last time these two teams met in Baton Rouge was earlier this season on Feb. 24, where OU defeated LSU 196.950-196.575.
Penn State (No. 3 Seed 14-7 Big 10 Conference)
The Nittany Lions enter Friday’s Central Regional carrying a 14-7 overall record and a 5-4 mark in the Big 10. They are ranked in a tie for 16th nationally with Oregon State. Penn State is coming off a third place finish at the Big Ten Championship with a score of 194.925. Junior Corissa Pirkl tied for the vault title by tying a career-high 9.8 while freshman Katie Perret claimed the outright bars crown with a 9.9. Last season, Penn State advanced to the NCAA Championships out of the West Regional, finishing 10th in the country.
The Nittany Lions are led by Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year Steve Shephard. Shephard is in his 12th season and holds a 169-110-2 career record. He has made eight NCAA Championships appearances and eight NCAA Regional Championships. During his 12-year tenure, his gymnasts have captured 14 All-America titles, 25 regional individual titles and 80 all-conference academic selections. The last time OU and Penn State met was in 2004 at University Park, Pa.. The Sooners defeated the Nittany Lions 196.175-195.775. Under head coach Steve Nunno, OU is 2-0 versus Penn State.
Kentucky (No. 4 Seed 14-12 Southeastern Conference)
The Wildcats enter the meet with a 14-12 overall record and are 1-11 in SEC action. Kentucky is coming off a seventh-place finish at the SEC Championships on March 25 where the team tallied a 191.150. Head coach Mo Muhammad is in his third year at Kentucky and carries a 37-59-1 career record. In 2005, he led the Cats to their highest win total in over a decade, an NCAA Regional appearance and a top national ranking (No. 10).
This season, the Cats have scored two of the top four highest team totals in school history and reach an NCAA Regional for the 17th time in program history. UK is one win away from becoming the first team in program history to reach the 15-win mark. The Wildcats have never reached the NCAA Championships and their top regional finish was third in 1990 and 1996. Under head coach Steve Nunno, the Sooners and Cats have never met before.
Michigan State (No. 5 Seed 13-3 Big 10 Conference)
Michigan State enters the Central Regional holding a 13-3 overall record and 6-3 in Big 10 Conference action. The Spartans finished second with a 194.975 at the Big 10 Championship on March 25. Head Coach Kathie Klages is in her 16th season at the helm of Michigan State gymnastics. She is a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year award winner and has been named Central Region Coach of the Year four times. In 2005, Michigan State posted a record of 17-11 and finished fourth in the Big Ten.
Heading into postseason action, the Spartans have posted their top-two team scores of the season in their last three meets and continue to improve heading into the Central Regional. Veterans Sarah Alexander, Kristen Coleman, Chayla Hill and Victoria Iakounina have anchored the Spartan squad this season. Coleman has led MSU placing in eight all-around competitions and winning four. Hill leads the Spartans on vault, beam and floor, while Iakounina has been the team’s most consistent performer in the all-around. Under head coach Steve Nunno, Oklahoma is 2-0 versus Michigan State and last met in the 2003 Central Regional.
Ohio State (No. 6 Seed 10-11 Big 10 Conference)
Ohio State holds a 10-11 overall record and is 4-8 this season in Big 10 Conference action. The Buckeyes finished fifth at the Big 10 Championship with a 193.525 on March 25. Head coach Carey Fagan is in her second year with Ohio State and holds a 14-17 career record. In her first season as head coach, Fagan mentored senior captain Elizabeth Meaney to her third-consecutive All-Big Ten honor, while guiding then-freshman Karley Walek to a second-team all-league honor.
The Buckeyes enter an NCAA regional meet for the first time since 2003. OSU is led by sophomore Karley Walek, a second-team all-conference selection a year ago, and senior Kaylin Schlecht, a second-team pick as a freshman in 2003. Maalika Moore-Thomas is the top all-arounder for the Buckeyes posting a team season-high 39.175. The Sooners last met the Buckeyes last season at the Ohio State Triangular. OU took first-place honors after posting a 195.900 and OSU came in second with a 194.775. Under head coach Steve Nunno, the Sooners are 3-0 versus the Buckeyes.
2005 NCAA Regional Recap
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team qualified for the national championships in Auburn, Ala., with its second-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional on April 9. No. 1-seed Louisiana State took top honors, scoring a total of 197.125 to join the Sooners and their 195.550 at nationals.
OU, the No. 2 seed, qualified for nationals for the second year in a row, marking the first time in the program’s history that it has qualified in consecutive years. No. 4-seed New Hampshire surprised many, finishing third (194.70) and staying in the hunt for a qualifying spot until the final rotation. No. 3-seed Arkansas was fourth (193.95), No. 6-seed Pittsburgh was fifth (193.1) and No. 5-seed Rutgers placed sixth (191.35).
Oklahoma began with some drama on beam as its first competitor, Stephanie LoPiccolo, fell midway through an otherwise flawless routine.
Knowing the Sooners could not count anymore falls and hope to contend for a qualifying position, Kristen Cox cautiously performed a routine that netted a 9.3.
The next three Sooners raised the bar as Brittney Koncak-Schumann earned 9.625, Ashley Cooney managed a 9.725, and Erin LaBarr scored a 9.8. Anchor Caitlin Hinkis helped the cause with her 9.775 as OU scored a 48.225 on the apparatus.
Tiffany Willin kick started the Sooners next rotation on floor with a 9.85. From then on, Oklahoma nailed each routine, counting no less than a 9.85.
Second-up Koncak-Schumann, posted a 9.90 and anchor Hinkis earned a 9.75 with her first-ever collegiate floor routine. OU totaled a 49.350 which was just one-tenth off its best score of the season.
Oklahoma counted its first five scores for the second consecutive rotation as Cox led off with a 9.75 vault which was followed by Willin’s 9.8, Koncak-Schumann’s 9.8, Cooney’s 9.9 and LaBarr’s 9.775totaling 49.025.
Coral Borda scored a 9.55 with her first competitive vault since an ankle injury forced her out of action three weeks ago.
OU cruised through its final rotation on bars, scoring a 48.9. Hinkis delivered a career-high 9.85, Koncak-Schumann hit a 9.875 and LoPiccolo redeemed her fall on beam with a 9.775.
Nunno Signs World Champion
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team was proud to announce the signing of World Champion Hollie Vise to a National Letter of Intent.
Vise is arguably the best recruit head coach Steve Nuuno has signed in his five-year tenure at Oklahoma. She is the current World Champion on uneven bars and has been an International Elite gymnast since the age of 11.
“It’s a great day for Oklahoma women’s gymnastics,” said coach Nunno. “Hollie will bring world championship experience to our team next year. We have never had an athlete come in that has had a World Champion title.”
Along with earning World Champion honors, Vise was also the National Champion on balance beam and silver medalist in the all-around in 2003. In 2002, she was the National Champion in both the uneven bars and balance beam and a silver medalist in the all-around. In 2001, she earned a silver medal in the all-around and was National Champion on uneven bars.
“Hollie will bring OU gymnastics to a whole new level and a push for a national title in the future,” said coach Nunno. “She not only brings great accolades as a gymnast, but she will also excel in the classroom. We expect her to be a tremendous student-athlete.”
Vise is a member of the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy and was on the first-place 2003 World Champion team. She is the daughter of Eddie and LeeAnn Vise and has three brothers: Brandon (22), Brad (17) and Weston (15). She started gymnastics when she was three and enjoys shopping, watching movies and riding her bike.
Hollie’s grandfather, Burton Gilliam, is an actor and has appeared in many movies and tv shows: Paper Moon, Blazing Saddles, Back to the Future, Charlie’s Angels, Alice Evening Show and is the Pace Picante man. For more information on Vise you can visit her personal Web Site at Hollievise.com.
Academic All-Big 12 Team
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team placed four members on the 2006 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team released on Tuesday.
Kristen Cox, Tara Anderson and Brittney Koncak-Schumann were all named to the first team. Anderson and Koncak-Schumann were both nominated with a 4.00 grade point average. Junior Tiffany Willin of Fort Myers, Fla., was named to the second team.
Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, the academic all-league gymnastics squad consisted of 14 first team members combined with four on the second team. First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, and the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of her team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.
Nunno Hits 100
Head coach Steve Nunno earned win No. 100 of his career against LSU (Feb. 24) in just his sixth season as coach. Nunno holds a 100-64 (.609) career record and has led the Sooners to new heights under his guidance.
In 2004, he led OU to its first Big 12 conference title ever (OU won five Big 8 Championships under Becky Switzer). That same season, his squad then went on to win the program’s first regional title, the 2004 West Regional.
He has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year two times and has been ranked in the regular season’s top 10 for the past five seasons. In addition, four Sooners have garnered All-America honors and three others have earned Big 12 Gymnasts of the Year awards under his leadership (Marianna Goncalves-2002, Kasie Tamayo-2004 and Erin LaBarr-2005).
Sooners Excel in Classroom
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team received an overall GPA of 3.42 during the fall term, marking the second highest single-term GPA under head coach Steve Nunno. The GPA puts the squad No. 1 on campus among women’s sports for the fall term and second among all sports. Four Sooner gymnasts finished the fall with a 4.0 GPA.
“I am extremely proud of our team,” said head coach Steve Nunno. “Not only do we have one of the most talented teams in program history but they are one of the best academically. I am proud of the hard work they put in the classroom.”
Academics have always been a high priority for the Sooners who strive to work hard both in the gym and in the classroom. Last season, Oklahoma finished 12th at the NCAA National Championships and had six gymnasts finish with a 4.0 GPA in the spring semester.
Koncak-Schumann Named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, Again
Brittney Koncak-Schumann has been named the season’s final Big 12 Gymnast of the Week after scoring a career-high 39.600 in the all-around in Oklahoma’s win over Kent State. The junior from McQueeney, Texas, was honored for the third time this season and the fourth time in her career.
Koncak-Schumann captured every event title, including the all-around against Kent State. She tied her career-high with a 9.95 on vault, posted a 9.85 on bars, a 9.925 on floor and a 9.875 on beam.
Her all-around score is the second-highest recorded in the Big 12 this season. Koncak-Schumann is the only Big 12 Gymnast of the Week winner to be ranked in the top 25 in every event.
Koncak-Schumann has competed in the all-around in every meet this season posting a 39.206 average and has hit 37 out of 40 routines for an impressive 92.5 percent. She is currently the No. 6 all-arounder in the nation, No. 10 on beam, No. 6 on vault, tied for 13th on floor and tied for 21st on bars.
She earned the award earlier in the season (Jan. 24) after a stellar performance against Southern Utah. Against the Thunderbirds, she won vault (9.95) and balance beam (9.875) while placing second on floor exercise (9.85) and tying for fourth on bars (9.70) in helping lead the Sooners to a 195.925-190.050 victory over Southern Utah.
Following the team’s victory over LSU (Feb. 24), she earned the honor again after recording a 39.500 in the all-around and posted a 9.9 on three events.