OU Seeks Back-to-Back Big 12 Titles

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 19, 2009

March 19, 2009 

 No. 8 Oklahoma (10-4) Travels to Ames for Big 12 Championships 
 Date & Time  Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m. CST
 Location  Ames, Iowa | Hilton Coliseum
 Tickets  Iowa State Ticket Office
 Big 12 Records

 Record Book

 Live Scoring  Stats
 Big 12 Site  2009 Big 12 Championships
 Official Website  Missouri
 Meet Notes  Meet Notes (PDF) Sooners


AMES, Iowa -
The reigning Big 12 champion OU women's gymnastics squad travels to Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, March 21, in search of consecutive conference titles for the first time since reeling off three-straight Big Eight crowns from 1984-1986. 

The top-ranked squad in the Big 12 this season, No. 8 Oklahoma (10-4) holds the highest RQS averages of any conference squad on vault (49.220), bars (49.145) and beam (49.175), trailing Nebraska by just 0.005 of a point on floor. 

The Sooners posted a 2-1 mark during the regular season against conference opponents and hold a 13-2 record versus conference opponents since the start of the 2007 season.

Nine different OU gymnasts have won an event title this season, led by Ashley Jackson and Hollie Vise, who have posted nine victories apiece.  Jackson has won three individual titles in the all-around, vault and floor, with season highs of 39.375, 9.925 and 9.95 on those respective events.  Vise has posted OU's top mark on beam (9.95 at Iowa State) and shares the team high on bars with freshman Megan Ferguson (9.9).  An Oklahoma gymnast has posted at least a share of the highest score in the Big 12 on three of the four events in 2009 (Vise - bars, 9.9 / beam, 9.95), (Jackson - floor, 9.95).  

Jackson (Big 12 Gymnast of the Week - Feb. 10), Vise (Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week - Jan. 20, March 3), Melanie Root (Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week - Feb. 3) and Kristin Smith (Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week - Feb. 17)  have all been honored by the conference office this season.  The Sooners are the only Big 12 squad to have four different gymnasts garner weekly recognition from the conference office in 2009.   

 Sooner to Watch 

Jackie Flanery | Jr. | VT-FX 
The Plattsburg, Mo., native  is slated to return to OU's vault and floor lineups after a two week absence due to a ankle injury sustained during floor warmups on March 6 in Oklahoma's final home event. 

Flanery had posted 14 straight routines at 9.8 or higher  before the injury, including seven consecutive floor scores of 9.85 or greater.  


• MEET INFO                           
Complete coverage of the meet will be available at www.Big12Sports.com.  Following the meet, a recap, photos, video highlights and official scores will be posted to www.SoonerSports.com, the official home of OU women's gymnastics.

March 29, 2008 | Lloyd Noble Center | Norman, Okla.

Team Results:
1. Oklahoma 195.875
2. Iowa State 195.775
3. Missouri 195.225
4. Nebraska 194.975

Heading into the final rotation in third place, the No. 9 OU women's gymnastics team recorded its second-highest vault score of the season (49.275) to clinch the 2008 Big 12 Championship in front of 1,660 fans inside the Lloyd Noble Center.

Following the meet, OU head coach K.J. Kindler was named the 2008 Big 12 Coach of the Year and senior Kiara Redmond was named the conference's Gymnast of the Year.

Performing the final routine of the night and needing a 9.875 or better for an Oklahoma win, Redmond posted a 9.95 on vault as the Sooners clinched their second Big 12 title and first since 2004.  It was Oklahoma's first Big 12 crown in front of the home crowd, as OU won the 2004 title at Iowa State.

The Sooners improved to 21-0 on the year, clinching at least a share of all four individual event titles, marking just the third time in Big 12 history that a school clinched at least a share of all four titles.

Joining Redmond atop the podium (floor-9.9, vault-9.95) was Hollie Vise (bars-9.9) and Haley DeProspero (9.9).      

Three of the four teams led at some point in the competition, with OU winning the final three event titles of the night (beam, floor and vault) and taking its only lead after the fourth and final rotation was completed.

• LOOKING FOR BACK-TO-BACK                                
The Sooners are seeking back-to-back conference titles for the first time since winning three straight Big Eight crowns
from 1984-1986.  With a win, OU would join Nebraska as the only squads to win consecutive Big 12 titles since its
inception in 1997.  While Oklahoma won the 2004 Big 12 crown in Iowa, it has never won a conference championship
in Ames, as the `04 meet was held in Des Moines.

The Sooners have reeled off a 13-2 record versus Big 12 opponents since the start of the 2007 schedule, including a 8-1 mark during regular season action. 
• ROTATION SCHEDULE                                                                                                  
Rotation            Vault             Bars             Beam             Floor
1                   Nebraska       Missouri        Oklahoma     Iowa State
2                  Iowa State     Nebraska         Missouri       Oklahoma
3                  Oklahoma     Iowa State       Nebraska       Missouri
4                    Missouri      Oklahoma       Iowa State     Nebraska

• NOT ACTING LIKE NEWCOMERS                                                                                                            
Of the 73 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 44 (.603) have gone for a 9.8 or better.  The respective group hit seven of eight at that mark in OU's second-place finish in its regular season finale at Alabama.

Freshman Megan Ferguson has tallied 17 routines at 9.8 or higher, while fellow frosh Sara Stone leads the respective group with an average of .733 at 9.8 or higher ( 11-of-15).    

• REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS                                                                                                               
Capping off the 2009 regular season with a 10-4 mark, Oklahoma has won 41 of its last 46 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. 

• ON TOP OF THEIR GAME                                                                                                                                  The Sooners have three gymnasts that have posted at least 12 routines of 9.85 or higher in 2009, led by Ashley Jackson's 13.  Despite only specializing on bars and beam, Hollie Vise has posted 12 routines at 9.85 or better, while freshman Megan Ferguson has burst onto the collegiate scene in matching Vise's total.  Ferguson pushed her tally to 12 with a career-high 9.9 on bars in her first collegiate event title on the apparatus last week at Alabama, while also posting a 9.85 on beam against the Crimson Tide.  Vise scored a 9.875 on bars in OU's regular season finale, while Jackson scored a pair of 9.875s on vault and floor.

• ROAD SWEET ROAD                                                                                                                            
Posting a then-NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, and a 196.800 at Iowa State on Feb. 27, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season.  Five of OU's top seven scores (including three of the top four and a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas) came outside of Norman a year ago. 

Oklahoma is the only squad in the top 10 to have both of its top two season scores come in road competition.

• FLOOR SENSATION                                                                                                                                   
Kristin Smith posted her latest 9.9 on floor at Alabama, marking the third time this season (second consecutive) that the Oklahoma City, Okla., junior has tied her career high on the apparatus (also scored a 9.9 on floor at TWU).  Entering the year with a personal best of 9.85 on the event, Smith has won three event crowns on the apparatus this season (@ Denver, @ ISU, TWU/ISU). 

• BANNER YEAR FOR VISE                                                                                        
Bars and beam specialist Hollie Vise snagged her ninth individual event crown with a 9.925 against TWU and Illinois State.   The victory comes a week after Vise won her seventh and eighth event titles of the season at ISU with a 9.825 on bars (shared event honors with teammate Melanie Root and ISU's Ceilia Maccani) and a career-high 9.95 on beam.  The Dallas, Texas., native's nine victories in 2009 overtook her total from all of last season, when she claimed seven titles on the year (four on bars, three on beam).

Roster | Schedule | Notes | 2009 Media Guide

2008 - Big 12 (K.J. Kindler)
                    Norman, Okla. (OU - 195.875)     

2004 - Big 12 (Steve Nunno)
                    Des Moines, Iowa (OU - 196.95)

1993 - Big Eight (Becky Switzer)
                    Norman, Okla. (OU - 194.45) 

1991 - Big Eight (Becky Switzer)
                    Columbia, Mo. (OU - 191.15)  

1986 - Big Eight (Becky Switzer)
                    Stillwater, Okla. (OU - 181.15)  

1985 - Big Eight (Becky Switzer)
                    Lincoln, Neb. (OU - 183.95)  

1984 - Big Eight (Becky Switzer)
                    Norman, Okla. (OU - 179.05)

Haley DeProspero (2008 - beam, 9.9) | Hollie Vise (2008 - bars, 9.9)

First Team
Haley DeProspero, Sr., Health and Exercise Sciences | Jackie Flanery, Jr., Human Relations |  Jessica Kinder, Sr., Health and Exercise Sciences | Gina Lesko, Sr., Zoology | Natalie Ratcliff, So., Elementary Education | Hollie Vise, Jr., Human Relations

Second Team 
Ashley Jackson, Sr.,  Zoology | Melanie Root, So.,  Human Relations

Megan Ferguson (bars and beam) | Hollie Vise (bars and beam) | Ashley Jackson (vault) | Melanie Root (vault)
Kristin Smith (floor) | Sara Stone (vault)

OU's eight spots on the regular season All-Big 12 Team was the most of any conference squad.  Nebraska had six gymnasts on the team, while Missouri (four) and Iowa State (one) rounded out the pack.   

Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on eight occasions already this season.  Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85), tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925), shared top beam honors for the Sooners against Minnesota (9.875) and led the Sooners on bars (9.85) in the quad meet and at Alabama (9.9), while Stone's 9.85 on vault at Denver shared the event title.  Stone also posted a team-high 9.875 against Arkansas, a week after sharing vault honors with Ashley Jackson at TWU. 

The duo's career highs on vault (Stone - 9.9), bars (Ferguson - 9.9) and beam (Ferguson - 9.925) lead all other Big 12 freshmen, while Ferguson's career-high 9.85 on floor is third behind Nebraska's Lora Evenstad (9.925) and ISU's Michelle Browning (9.9). 

• VAULTING TO THE TOP                                                                          
Natalie Ratcliff (9.85) and Melanie Root (9.9) both scored personal bests on vault against Alabama, leading the Sooners to a team tally of 49.275 on the apparatus. 

After opening the year with a season-low 48.925 on the apparatus at Florida, OU has reached the 49-point plateau in every other meet this season, including a 49.2875 average in its last four outings on the event. 

• TOPS IN THE CONFERENCE                                                                                                                   Oklahoma has posted the top score in the Big 12 (197.175), as well as the highest conference tallies on vault (49.400) and beam (49.525).  If each school's event highs from 2009 competition were added together, below is what each team's hypothetical season high would look like: 

OU - 197.500 | NU - 197.225 |  MU - 196.95 | ISU - 196.525.

• SHARING THE WEALTH                                                                                                              
Oklahoma has five gymnasts with at least four individual event titles in 2009, as Hollie Vise and Ashley Jackson lead the way with nine apiece.  The Sooners are the only squad ranked in the latest top-15 GymInfo poll without a gymnast in the top-25 all-around rankings. 

• LOOKING FOR A HILTON COLISIEUM REPEAT                                                                       
Haley DeProspero stuck a season-high 9.875 on vault in winning event honors at Iowa State on Feb. 27.  The score was her highest vault tally since posting a 9.925 as a freshman.  DeProspero also posted 9.85s on beam and floor en route to her first all-around title of the season (39.300).

• BUST OUT THE BROOMS                                                                         
The Sooners swept all four event titles and a share of every individual event honor on March 6 for the second consecutive meet and third time this season (@ TWU, @Iowa State).  The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago.

• THREE'S COMPANY                                                                                                   
Needing to post a solid score to hold off a charging Missouri squad that was hitting its vaults, OU's Kristin Smith, Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson posted back-to-back-to-back event-winning routines of 9.875 on floor as the Sooners closed with a 49.300 on the apparatus for the quad meet victory.  It marked the third time this season that three Sooners had clinched a share of an individual event title  (beam - TWU, floor - Minnesota). 

• RACKING UP THE VAULT TITLES                                                                                                  
Sometimes overshadowed by fellow freshman Megan Ferguson's strong start to the year, Sara Stone won a share of her third vault title of the young season at Denver with a 9.85.  The Dallas, Texas, native stands third in the Big 12 on the apparatus with a RQS of 9.86.



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