April 6, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - The No. 9 Oklahoma women's gymnatics team will compete in the NCAA West Regional Championships tonight at 8 p.m. CST in Corvallis, Ore., for a chance to advance to nationals. The top two teams will go on to the NCAA Championships April 18-20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Sooners will have to defeat regional host and No. 13 Oregon State, No. 4 Utah, No. 24 Southern Utah, Washington and Boise State at Gill Coliseum to be one of the top 12 teams in the country. The Sooners have defeated both Southern Utah and Boise State this season.
Individual competitors from San Jose State, Sacramento State, Seattle Pacific and California will also be competing. The top two all-arounders whose teams don't advance will qualify for nationals as will any gymnast who wins an individual event title if her team does not advance.
The Sooners finished 10th at nationals last year, defeating both Oregon State and Denver. OU is coming off a third place finish at the Big 12 Championships on March 23. Senior Mariana Goncalves was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Year and head coach Steve Nunno was named Co-Head Coach of the Year along with Missouri's Rob Drass. The Sooners finished the season 13-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Oklahoma saw its highest ranking in program history this year, No. 3, and have been ranked in the top 10 all season.
Goncalves enters regional action ranked No. 3 in the all-around. She is also tied for No. 8 on the uneven bars and No. 6 on the vault. She was a four-time Big 12 Gymnast of the Week this season. Goncalves was named to the Big 12 All-Conference team along with sophomore Kasie Tamayo, senior Alison Mayberry and junior Patricia Aoki. Tamayo is ranked No. 10 in the all-around, tied for No. 13 on the balance beam and tied for No. 15 on the floor exercise. Sophomore Leah Mueller is tied for No. 10 on the vault. Tamayo and Mueller have both recorded perfect tens this year on the balance beam and vault, respectively.
Live statistics from the NCAA West Regional NCAA Championships will be available on Oregon State's website, www.osubeavers.com.