Ninth-Ranked Sooners Face TWU

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 18, 2008

Jan. 18, 2008

NORMAN, Okla. - Coming off of back-to-back titles to start the 2008 season, the No. 9 OU women's gymnastics squad travels to Denton, Texas, on Saturday, Jan. 19,  for a showdown with Texas Woman's University.

Action takes place inside Kitty Magee Arena on the TWU campus at 7 p.m.,with live scoring available on

OU enters Saturday's meet with the Pioneers fresh off a 195.125-188.6 victory over Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Jan. 11.

Five-time All-American Kiara Redmond-Sturms took home the eighth all-around title of her OU career last weekend.  The Los Angeles, Calif., senior has won the all-around title at both events this year and is tied for the top spot in the NCAA on floor with an event average of 9.925. 

Fellow Sooners Haley DeProspero has won the beam title at both events in 2008 and stands No. 2 in the nation on the event.

TWU will host its home opener against the Sooners boasting the nation's 33rd ranking. The Pioneers posted a season-opening score of 190.900 at the Cancun Classic, finishing fourth in the opening session. The team score marked their highest to start a season in program history.

Meet NotesRoster (w/updated bios) | OU Women's Gymnastics Central | Live Scoring

After a strong showing in the season opener, TWU freshman Mollie Blessing was named the Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 8.  

The Pioneers  are led by head coach Frank Kudlac who enters his 29th season with TWU in `08. 

OU swept the Pioneers in both 2007 meetings.

  Women's Gymnastics Notes

The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team stands ninth in the latest GymInfo national rankings released on Jan 14. With the current ranking, the Sooners have stood inside the top 10 every week since Jan. 22, 2007.  

Oklahoma (4-0) is also the No. 1 team in the Big 12 Conference, ahead of Nebraska (11th), No. 12 Missouri and No. 23 Iowa State.  The Sooners lead all conference foes on the uneven bars and floor exercise. 

Five-time All-America honoree Kiara Redmond-Sturms stands in a three-way tie for the top spot in the NCAA on floor with a 9.925 average on the apparatus.  The Los Angeles, Calif., native has won the all-around title at both `08 events.
Junior Haley DeProspero is No. 2 in the nation on the balance beam (9.875 average) after taking home event title honors in both meets this season for the Sooners.

The Sooners haven't been overly kind to their opponenets early on this season. Through two events, Oklahoma has either won the event outright or shared title honors in all eight event competitions.  Winners of seven outright titles, OU shared
the floor title with Iowa at the Cancun Classic.

True freshmen Natalie Ratcliff and Melanie Root have already seen significant action early on during their collegiate campaigns.  Root has been in the floor lineup in both `08 events and made her debut on vault at the Cancun Classic. Ratcliff made her first collegiate appearance in last week's meet with Central Michigan, scoring a 9.8 on vault against the Chippewas.

Returning to her home state of Michigan for the first time in collegiate competition, Ashley Jackson recorded a 9.775 on vault, 9.875 on floor and a career-high 9.75 on bars to finish third in the all-around against CMU.

The Sooners gain depth on bars with the return of senior Caitlin Hinkis who has been sidelined the first two events of the season with a leg injury. A native of Simsbury, Conn., Hinkis finished in the top five on bars four times last season. 

After the TWU meet, the Sooners hit the road again for the fourth consecutive time as they travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for a repeat meeting with West Virginia. OU defeated the Mountaineers at the season-opening Cancun Classic.  Oklahoma hosts Nebraska on Feb. 1 in the squads home opener at the Lloyd Noble Center.

Impact Performer 

Kiara Redmond-Sturms | Sr. | Los Angeles, Calif.

A five-time All-American, Redmond-Sturms is one of eight Sooners in program history to record a perfect 10 on any event. The Los Angeles, Calif., native scored her perfect mark on vault last season against TWU, this week's foe.

The senior has taken home the all-around title at both '08 events.

The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team was ranked eighth in the preseason GymInfo Coaches Poll, the second-highest ranking of any Big 12 team.

The Sooners return All-Americans Kiara Redmond-Sturms and Stephanie LoPiccolo from a Sooner squad that finished eighth last season at the NCAA Championships under first-year head coach K.J. Kindler, marking a program-best.

OU returns 11 letterwinners from last season's squad that went 20-8 and finished second in the Big 12. 

The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team posted its best finish in NCAA history last spring and recruits are taking notice. Head coach K.J. Kindler announced one of the most decorated classes in OU history during the early announcement period, signing three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent.  Megan Ferguson, Natasha Kelley and Sara Stone will join the Sooners in the fall of 2008.
"We feel that this signing class will be instrumental in the future of the Sooner Gymnastics Program," said Kindler.  "Megan, Natasha and Sara bring with them numerous accolades including many National titles both in the Elite arena and at the Junior Olympic level.  All three of these women have displayed an absolute desire to be Sooners and we salute their enthusiasm for the University and our program."
Ferguson, a Level 10 from Blue Valley High School in Olathe, Kan., trains at Eagles Gymnastics, the former club of current OU gymnast Jacqueline Flanery.  Ferguson was two-time Junior Olympic Nationals beam champion and five-time J.O. Nationals qualifier. She has dominated state competition, winning the level 10 all-around title in 2005, `06 and `07 while sweeping every individual event honor all three seasons as well.

Kelley enters the OU program as a four-time U.S. National Team member.  The senior elite gymnast from Katy, Texas, has found success on both the international and national stage, finishing second in the all-around of the 2006 Visa Championships, after capturing the all-around title a year prior in the junior division of the Visa Championships. In her `06 Visa Championships runner-up finish, Kelley finished second on the uneven bars and beam, and fourth on the floor exercise.  Kelley shared all-around honors at the 2006 U.S. Classic, placing first on the uneven bars, second on vault and fourth on beam and floor. At the 2007 Visa Championships, Kelley finished 10th in the all-around after placing sixth on the beam and ninth on the uneven bars. On the International stage, Kelley won the all-around title at the 2007 Houston International Invitational, placing first on the beam, floor, uneven bars, and second on the vault.  The 17-year old placed second at the 2007 Tyson American Cup and fourth in the all-around of the `07 USA vs. Great Britain International Competition in Lisburn, Ireland. She also captured all-around titles at both the `05 Junior Gymnastics Competition in Yohohama, Japan, and the Olympiad Elite in Ensenada, Mexico, a year prior.  Kelley helped the U.S. squad to a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships as a finalist on floor.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Stone is a member of Metroplex Gymnastics where she is coached by Bryan Streeter, Dave Marus, and Jana and Marcus Harlin.  The Spring Creek Academy senior and junior elite gymnast is a two-time qualifier for the U.S. Classic. She won the all-around title at the 2005 Metroplex Challenge and won the beam title at the 2006 level 10 Texas state competition.



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