Sooners Travel To Penn State

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 12, 2004

Meet 11 at Penn State
Saturday, March 13, 2004 
6 p.m. CST
University Park, Pa. (Rec Hall)

No. 12 OU vs. No. 25 Penn State Preview
The Sooners wrap up the regular season on Saturday, March 13, at 6 p.m. (CST) against Penn State University in University Park, Pa.  The meet will feature the Sooners 13th ranked opponent.  OU comes in ranked No. 12 this week and the Nittany Lions are No. 25.

OU is coming off a win that saw Kasie Tamayo break the school record in the all-around with a 39.700 against Texas Woman's University on Senior Day.  The Sooners swept the regular season meetings against TWU, winning all three competitions.  In addition to winning her fourth straight all-around title, Tamayo won or tied for first in all four individual events.  She was tied with junior Erin Labarr and sophomore Tara Anderson on the balance beam (9.900) and freshman Ashley Cooney on the floor (9.925).

In its last three outings, Penn State has tied New Hampshire, lost to Pittsburgh and tied Ohio State.  Against New Hampshire, the Nittany Lions scored over 196 for the first time this season (196.375).  They come in averaging a 195.581 score per meet.

Head coach Steve Shepard is in his 12th season at PSU.  He has guided the Nittany Lions to seven NCAA Championship appearances.  His squad this year is young with five freshman, four sophomores and three juniors.  Kelly Streicher is the lone senior for PSU and she will be honored during the meet as the Nittany Lions host senior day at Rec Hall.

OU is ranked No. 12 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.330 and hold a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.745.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 3 Stanford, No. 14 Oregon State, No. 20 Denver, Southern Utah (twice), Air Force (twice) and TWU (three times).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 10: No. 5 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia (twice), No. 7 Florida, No. 9 Iowa State, No. 13 Nebraska, No. 8 Washington, No. 16 Iowa and No. 18 Missouri.

Next up for the Sooners (10-9) is the Big 12 Championships hosted by Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.  Last year at the conference meet, the Sooners finished second behind perennial champ, Nebraska.  The 2004 Championships will take place on Saturday, March 20 at 7 p.m. (CST).

Complete Release | Season Statistics

Freshman Ashley Cooney has won or tied for first place on five occassions this season and owns three second place finishes.  She also has finished in the top five (not including 1st and 2nd place) 12 other times.  Even more impressive, Cooney did not join the Sooners till the third meet of the season.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has been the Big 12 conference’s Gymnast of the Week twice this season.  The only other gymnast in the conference to do so is Iowa State's Erin Dethloff.

Tamayo won her fourth consecutive all-around this week against Texas Woman’s University on March 7 with a school record 39.700 on Senior Night.  She held the previous school high, a 39.675, a mark she established in 2002 and earlier this season against Air Force.  Tamayo won every event against TWU and now owns 31 first place finishes this season.  She never scored below a 9.0 against TWU and has done so on 22 occasions this season.

The Sacramento, Calif., native has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in nine out of eleven meets this season.  She has won the all-around title six times this season and her average ranks her third in the nation, first in the South Central Region and first in the Big 12.  Below is a look at how Tamayo ranks in the five events in the nation, region and Big 12:

All-Around     Floor Exercise     Balance Beam      Uneven Bars     Vault      
National     5th 16th 9th 4th nr
Regional 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 10th  
Big 12 1st 2nd 1st 1st 9th

LAST TIME OUT (March 7 vs. TWU)
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team scored a 196.375 to top visiting Texas Woman’s University (193.325) at the Lloyd Noble Center on Sunday. It was senior day for three Sooners and senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo shined winning all four individual events in addition to her breaking the school record on the all-around, tallying a 39.700. Tamayo held the previous mark of 39.675 which she set in 2002 and tied earlier this season against Air Force.

Tamayo’s win in the all-around competition marked the fourth straight time she took first on the podium and the seventh overall this season. She has finished first in the all-around and other four events a combined 31 times.

“Kasie has been coming on stronger and stronger each week and she has her mind set at Nationals,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno. “She has been winning the all-around every week for us and I think she is doing a wonderful job out there in competition. Throughout her career Kasie has been the most consistent gymnast since I have been here. I think you can count on one hand the number of misses she has had and that is amazing when you consider the fact that she competes in the all-around every week for us.”

Also wrapping up their collegiate careers in the Lloyd Noble Center were co-captain Leah Mueller and Karina Agafanova. Mueller finished second on the uneven bars with a 9.9 and Agafanova tied for fourth on the floor with a 9.875.

The Sooners outscored the Pioneers in every event starting off with a 48.775 on the vault and finishing strong on the floor exercise with a 49.500. OU, the nation’s No. 2 ranked team on the uneven bars, recorded a 49.200 on the apparatus and fared well on the balance beam scoring a 48.900. Sunday’s win was the third time this season that OU defeated TWU.

For the third week this season, OU found itself ranked in the top 20 in every event and is now in the top 10 on bars and floor.  Not till last week did the Sooners' vault team crack the top 20.  It averages a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 49.095 and is ranked No. 17.

The Sooners remain in the top ten on uneven bars, at the No. 6 spot (49.365) and are also No. 9 on floor (49.435) and No. 12 on balance beam (49.155).

Besides Tamayo, two other Sooners rank in the top 20 individually around the nation.  Senior co-captain Leah Mueller is No. 20 on the uneven bars while junior Erin LaBarr is ranked No. 24 on the same apparatus.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics fell out of the top five in the nation on the uneven bars and now are averaging a RQS of 49.365.  For six consecutive weeks, the Sooners were ranked in the top five on the apparatus.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are not far behind the nation's best, just a tenth below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA (49.465). 

OU has scored better than its competition on bars in nine meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring its opposition.  The Washington Huskies are the only other team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

Two-time USA Olympic Coach Steve Nunno is one of the most successful gymnastics coaches in the United States.  His gymnasts have won more national and international medals than any other coach in the country.  Now at the helm of the University of Oklahoma, Coach Nunno has some lofty goals for his college team as well.

After three years as head coach at OU, many of his gymnasts have already entered the record books. In addition, his Sooner squads have been consistently ranked in the top 10 during the regular season for the past two years.

“It’s truly an honor to be the head coach at the University of Oklahoma,” said Nunno.   “Now that I am done traveling around the world with Olympic level gymnasts, it has been wonderful to be able to settle down with my family. The atmosphere and tradition at this University is second to none.”

“I really enjoy coaching the collegiate athletes. This year’s team is extremely talented and they are performing the skills that I’m used to coaching. We have an exciting but challenging schedule this year but I believe it could be our best result ever.

Early into the season, Iowa State has defeated everyone in the conference and sits atop the standings at 3-0.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska (2-1), Missouri (0-2) and Oklahoma (0-2).  Nationally, Iowa State is the highest ranked Big 12 school at No. 9, averaging 196.850.  The Cyclones are followed by Oklahoma at No. 12 (196.745), Nebraska at No. 13 (196.720), Missouri at No. 18 (196.435).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

Overall Record     Big 12 Record     High Team Score    
Iowa State     8-1 3-0  197.625
Nebraska 0-2 2-1 197.750
Missouri 12-3 1-2 197.350
OKLAHOMA     10-9  0-3 197.300
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member before its home opener with Air Force on Jan. 23, freshman Ashley Cooney.  Against Air Force at home, Cooney made her OU debut by scoring a 9.750 on vault and 9.825 on floor.  The very next day at TWU she topped those scores with a 9.850 on vault and 9.850 on floor.  Against Iowa State, she competed for the first time on the balance beam (9.275) and recorded a 9.875 on the floor exercise. 

Against Nebraska, Cooney scored a 9.850 on beam and 9.900 on floor.  Against Georgia, she competed for the first time on uneven bars and recorded a 9.775 and also had a 39.200 in her first all-around competition, good for third place.  In her second all-around competition against Stanford, Cooney took second with a career best 39.375 and won her first event, tied for first on the floor with a 9.925.

She won her second consecutive event at Southern Utah with a 9.900 on vault.  The streak continued as Cooney won the vault at Missouri with a 9.925 (career-high).  She also finished tied for second on bars with a 9.900 on bars and tied her career high on floor with a 9.925.  She tied for first on the floor vs. TWU (9.925), marking her third straight meet with a first place finish.

The Sooners' home loss on Feb. 1, against Iowa State was the first home defeat under head coach Steve Nunno.  The following week another top 10 team, Nebraska, knocked off OU at home.  Prior to those losses, OU had won 14 straight meets without a defeat.  That streak dated back to 2001 when Nunno was co-head coach with Becky Switzer.  OU finished above .500 this season with the win against TWU, posting a 3-2 mark inside the Lloyd Noble Center.

When the women opened their season at home on Jan. 23, they competed in front of a new regular season record crowd for an Oklahoma Gymnastics meet.  Some 1,475 fans attended the meet against Air Force, also featuring the OU men against the Falcon men.  The old record for a Sooner gymnastics meet was set last year when the men hosted Ohio State and the women hosted Penn State on March 7, 2003 in front of 1,227 at the Lloyd Noble Center. 






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