April 5, 2001
Oklahoma will be making its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Regionals when it travels to Lincoln, Neb., to face off against No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Washington, No. 23 Arizona, No. 25 Illinois State and the host, third-ranked Nebraska on Saturday.
Sooners Place Third At The Big 12 Finals
Despite a valiant effort, the OU women (16-6) lost to two top 10 teams and finished third at the Big 12 Championships in Norman, Okla. OU scored a 196.700, behind Nebraska (197.650) and Iowa State (197.050), and ahead of Missouri (193.675). The Sooners' highest scores came from sophomore Leticia Ishii, third in the all-around (39.375), sophomore Patricia Aoki and junior Mariana Goncalves, who finished in a second-place tie on the floor exercise with score of 9.925. As a team, the Sooners broke a school-record and topped the conference on the floor with a 49.475.
Women's National Rankings
Four Oklahoma gymnasts were selected to the Academic All-Big 12 team this season. Sophomores Patricia Aoki, Leticia Ishii and Leah Mueller earned first-team honors while junior Mariana Goncalves was selected to the second team.
It is only fitting that Becky Switzer, in her last season as head coach at OU, and Steve Nunno, who just completed his first year as mentor of Oklahoma women's gymnastics, were named 2001 Big 12 Co-Head Coaches of the Year. The tandem has led the Sooners to a 16-6 record, a No. 19 national ranking and a trip to the NCAA South Central Regional.
All-Big 12 Accolades
Although the Sooners finished third at the Big 12 Championships, OU did have five gymnasts win all-conference honors. Leticia Ishii was the lone OU gymnast to win All-Big 12 accolades on two events, the all-around and floor exercise. Patricia Aoki and Mariana Goncalves claimed all-conference honors on the floor exercise while Kasie Tamayo and freshman Carla DeMartini won places on the vault and the all-around, respectively.
Last Year's Postseason
In 2000, the women's team concluded the year with a sixth-place finish at the Region 1 competition in Corvallis, Ore., on campus of Oregon State University. The team finished with 193.000, behind UCLA (197.025) and Oregon State (196.175), who advanced to national championships Despite its sixth-place finish, Oklahoma did have two individuals who advanced to the NCAA Championships, Amber McCracken and Ginger Russell.
Women's Facts and Figures
*Oklahoma has more wins this season (16) than all of last year (12). The 16 wins is also the second-most in school history. Only the 1999 squad, with 18, has more.
*Besides Nebraska, the only team other team in its region the Sooners have faced this season is Arizona. OU defeated the Wildcats twice this season in January.
*Several gymnasts have broken into the OU record books. The following lists the 2001 individual scores that rank in the top two in school history:
BarsT1st, 9.975, Jan. 27
Leticia Ishii FloorT1st, 9.950, March 16
Carla DeMartini VaultT2nd, 9.959, March 16
Leah Mueller VaultT2nd, 9.950, March 16
Kasie Tamayo AAT2nd, 39.550, March 16