April 24, 2001
The National Championships
The University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team finished fifth in the first preliminary session of the 2001 National Championships in Athens, Ga. No. 10 Oklahoma (21-11) scored a 193.875, defeating No. 11 Oregon State (193.775). Leading the way for OU was redshirt freshman Leah Mueller, the Sooners' top all-arounder (11th, 39.000). Mueller also scored team highs on the floor exercise (9.800) with sophomore Patricia Aoki, the balance beam with freshman Kasie Tamayo (9.750) and the vault (9.775). Sophomore Leticia Ishii (uneven parallel bars, 9.775) was OU's other top finisher. "The team showed it belonged here in Georgia," said Oklahoma Co-Head Coach Becky Switzer. "This 2001 Sooner team is one of my most memorable squads."
Women's Final National Rankings
1.UCLA (NCAA National Champion) 2.Georgia 3.Utah 4.Michigan 10.Oklahoma
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.
Excellence For Leticia Ishii
Leticia Ishii was named the University of Oklahoma's 2000-01 Outstanding Women's Scholar Athelete of the Year. The award is given to the female athlete who has attained the highest level of scholarly and athletic success in the calendar year. Ishii, a Pre-Health and Social Sciences Major with a 3.78 GPA, was the co-winner along women's basketball All-American Stacey Dales.
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 program, were named 2001 Big 12 Co-Head Coaches of the Year. The tandem has led the Sooners to a 21-11 record, a No. 10 national ranking and a trip to the NCAA National Championships in Athens, Ga.
OU Co-Head Coach Becky Switzer is stepping down from the helm after 18 years as mentor of the Oklahoma women's gymnastics program. Switzer compiled a 227-105 record from 1984-2001. She has coached five team conference champions, 41 individual conferenc champions and four NCAA individual champions. Switzer has led the Sooners to three NCAA National Championship appearances (1985, 1989 and 2001).
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 freshman Kasie Tamayo and freshman Carla DeMartini won places on the all-around and the vault, respectively.
Women's Facts and Figures
*The Sooners trip to the NCAA National Championships was their first since 1989. The finals twelve years ago was also held at the University of Georgia.
*Oklahoma set a school record for number of victories in a season (21).
*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
*FloorT1st, 9.950, March 16
*VaultT2nd, 9.950, March 16
*VaultT2nd, 9.950, March 16
*AAT2nd, 39.550, March 16