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OU, Ark. Collide in Top-11 Showdown
March 14, 2008

March 14, 2008

 No. 9 Oklahoma at No. 11 Arkansas
 Date  Saturday, March 15 at 2 p.m. (CDT)
 Location  Fayetteville, Ark. | Barnhill Arena
 Online  Live Scoring

NORMAN, Okla. - Winners of a program-record 16 straight events to open the 2008 season, the No. 9 OU women's gymnastics squad travels to Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday to face 11th-ranked Arkansas.  It's Oklahoma's second consecutive meet with an SEC opponent as the Sooners defeated Auburn on March 7 in Norman, Okla., on Senior Night.

OU has a chance to pick up its second consecutive victory over the No. 11 team in the country as Auburn was ranked 11th before falling to Oklahoma 196.750-195.900. 

Remaining undefeated on the year (16-0), OU claimed the top two spots in the all-around standings against Auburn with Kiara Redmond-Sturms winning her Big 12-leading eighth title in 10 events, highlighted by 9.95s on vault and floor.  Her all-around score of 39.625 was just 0.075 of a point off of the program record.  Haley DeProspero finished runner-up after a season-high 39.350. 

OU's dual at Arkansas is the first of two away meets before returning home for back-to-back postseason competitions.  The Sooners travel to Minneapolis, Minn., for a match-up with the Golden Gophers of Minnesota on March 22. The Sooners host both the Big 12 Championship (March 29) and NCAA South Central Regional (April 12) at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The Sooners lead the all-time series against Arkansas 2-0.  Both meetings have come in the postseason with OU last defeating the Gym'Backs at the 2006 NCAA Championships.

 Opponent Preview

Ranked 11th in the latest GymInfo poll, Arkansas enters Saturday's dual off of an impressive quad meet win over UCLA, Alabama and Cal State Fullerton in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 9.  The Gym'Backs scored a season-best-tying 196.425 in besting SEC-rival Alabama for the first time in school history.

Led by all-arounders Casey Jo Magee and Michelle Stout, Arkansas holds a 7-6 (3-1 at home) record on the year.  The Gym'Backs are coached by Mark and Rene Cook who enter their seventh year as co-head coaches after starting the Arkansas program in the spring of 2001.  

  Tentative Line-Up

NAME/EVENT SEASON HIGH

VAULT
1. Jackie Flanery 9.850
2. Haley DeProspero 9.850
3. Jessica Kinder 9.825
4. Melanie Root 9.775
5. Mary Mantle 9.900
6. Kiara Redmond-Sturms 10.00

BARS                         
1. Mary Mantle 9.775
2. Caitlin Hinkis 9.825
3. Haley DeProspero 9.825
4. Hollie Vise 9.875
5. Stephanie LoPiccolo 9.875
6. Kiara Redmond-Sturms 9.925

BEAM                         
1. Jessica Kinder 9.800
2. Kiara Redmond-Sturms 9.875
3. Kristin Smith 9.850
4. Stephanie LoPiccolo    9.900
5. Hollie Vise 9.900
6. Haley DeProspero 9.925

FLOOR                       
1. Kristin Smith 9.850
2. Jessica Kinder 9.850
3. Mary Mantle 9.800
4. Haley DeProspero 9.875
5. Jackie Flanery 9.875
6. Kiara Redmond-Sturms 9.950

ALL-AROUND                        
1. Kiara Redmond-Sturms 39.650
2. Haley DeProspero 39.350
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PROTECTING THE HOUSE
Winners of all four home events in 2008, the Sooners last lost in Norman on Feb. 10, 2006, a span of 11 consecutive match ups.  Ironically, OU's last home defeat came at the hands of an Iowa State team that was coached by K.J. Kindler - OU's current head coach.
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LIKE CLOCKWORK...
After leading the undefeated OU women's gymnastics squad (16-0) to a victory over No. 11 Auburn on March 7, Sooner gymnasts Kiara Redmond-Sturms and Jackie Flanery were honored as Big 12 Gymnast and Event Specialist of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced on March 11.

It was the fifth time this season that Redmond-Sturms had been awarded Gymnast of the Week honors and the sixth time in her OU career that she garnered a weekly award. The conference award was the first for Flanery.  

With the announcement, an OU gymnast has garnered conference Gymnast of the Week honors six out of a possible nine occasions. It was also the fifth time this season that the event specialist has been an Oklahoma athlete. No other conference school has had more than three honorees in either category. 

It marked the fourth time this season that Oklahoma has won both conference awards during the same week.
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UP A SPOT
Oklahoma moved up to ninth in the latest GymInfo poll -- the highest of any conference squad -- in the fourth week that the regional qualifying score (RQS) is used to determine the rankings. The RQS is based on a team's six best regular-season-meet scores, of which three must be away. To obtain the RQS, the high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged.
 
Oklahoma holds top-14 event standings across the board, highlighted by a No. 4 ranking on the floor exercise (49.290).
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BRING OUT THE BROOMS
OU swept all four event titles against Auburn, claiming the top spot in the individual standings on every apparatus as well.  It marked the second straight meet the Sooners had accomplished the feat, doing so against TWU as well.
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DOWN TO THREE
Only three squads in the latest GymInfo top-25 poll can claim an undefeated record during the 2008 season and OU is one of them.  No. 2 Utah (10-0) and fourth-ranked Michigan (13-0) are the only other squads with spotless records at this point of the year.
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NATIONALLY KNOWN NAMES
Individually, Redmond-Sturms holds the third spot in the country in the all-around rankings with an RQS average of 39.495, besting all conference opponents.   Redmond-Sturms (9.9230 - second) and Haley DeProspero (9.885 - fifth) both hold top-five rankings on floor and balance beam, respectively.

Hollie Vise stands 24th in the latest rankings on beam, holding a RQS season average of 9.85 on the apparatus. 

On floor, the duo of Ashley Jackson and Jackie Flanery are tied for 22nd in the country, teaming up with Redmond-Sturms (second) as the three are all ranked in the top 25 in the event.

Rounding out the top-25 rankings for Oklahoma is Redmond-Sturms' 10th-place standing on vault (9.905) and 13th-place ranking on bars (9.880).
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LOOKING BACK AT THE VICTORY OVER AUBURN
Hitting all 24 routines, the No. 10 University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad posted a season high team score of 196.750 in defeating the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers (195.900) on March 7 at the Lloyd Noble Center.  OU claimed the top two spots in the all-around standings with Kiara Redmond-Sturms winning her Big 12-leading eighth title in ten events, highlighted by 9.95s on vault and floor.  Her all-around score of 39.625 was just 0.075 of a point off of the program record.  Haley DeProspero finished runner-up after a season-high 39.350.
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VISE AND COMPANY NAMED TO USAG HALL OF FAME
University of Oklahoma sophomore gymnast Hollie Vise was named to the 2008 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as part of the 2003 U.S. Women's World Championships Team, announced by the organization on March 4.

The 2003 World Champion on bars, Vise was a member of the `03 squad that claimed the USA's first world team title.

An International Elite gymnast since the age of 11, Vise was a two-time National Champion on bars and balance beam and won a silver medal in the all-around at the same competition on three occasions.

A member of the U.S. National Team for six years, the Dallas, Texas, native won two bronze medals at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Australia.
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VISE GARNERS EVENT SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK HONORS
The Dallas, Texas, native capped off an already exciting afternoon, in which she was named the USAG Hall of Fame, by winning Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors for her performance against TWU. 

The selection marked the third time this season that the conference has named Vise the recipient of the award.

The Dallas, Texas, native played a vital role in the No. 10 Sooners remaining undefeated on the year (15-0), winning the bars title with a career-high-tying score of 9.875 and a share of the beam title with all-around winner and teammate Kiara Redmond-Sturms (9.825).  The two event honors marked the second time this season that Vise has won multiple titles during a single meet.

Her score of 9.875 on bars bested all conference gymnasts on the week but one, which she tied. Vise was the only Big 12 event specialist competing in multiple events that scored a 9.8 or higher on every apparatus.  
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UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS
With their victory over AU, the Sooners continue to build on the best start to a season in program history.  OU's win over the Tigers marked its 16th-straight victory in 2008, besting the start of the 1985 Oklahoma squad that went 13-0 before placing 10th at the NCAA Championships.

 Media Guide | Meet Notes  

WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONORS... AGAIN
After leading the OU women's gymnastics squad to its quad meet win over Denver, Utah State and Air Force, Sooner gymnasts Kiara Redmond-Sturms and Mary Mantle were honored as Big 12 Gymnast and Event Specialist of the Week.
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MARY'S MILESTONE
Mary Mantle, a sophomore, won the first event title of her career after she posted a 9.9 on vault in Denver, Colo., on Saturday, garnering her first Big 12 conference award.  The stuck routine was witnessed by 2,195 fans inside Hamilton Gymnasium, including many that were rooting on the Bellvue, Colo., native, after making the short drive to Denver.  Mantle was making her first appearance in a collegiate competition in her home state.
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CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'
Through 10 events in 2008, Los Angeles, Calif., native Kiara Redmond-Sturms is having the kind of season any gymnast would dream about.  The five-time All-American won her eighth all-around title in 10 meets against Auburn on Senior Night at the Lloyd Noble Center on March 7.

Winner of five Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honors already this season, Redmond-Sturms has netted a Big 12-leading 33 individual titles in 2008.
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REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
OU has won 29 of its last 30 regular-season matchup's dating back to Jan. 19, 2007.  Winners of all regular season meets on the year, the Sooners last regular season defeat was to Stanford on March 9, 2007 in Palo Alto, Calif.
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COMING UP NEXT...
After its meet with the Gym'Backs, OU closes out its regular season on March 22 in Minneapolis, Minn., in a match-up with the Golden Gophers of Minnesota before returning to the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble Center for back-to-back postseason events.

OU hosts both the Big 12 Championship (March 29) and NCAA South Central Regional (April 12) in Norman.
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DOMINATING THE COMPETITION
The Sooners haven't been overly kind to their opponents this season. Through 10 events, Oklahoma has either won the event outright or shared title honors in 35 of a possible 40 event competitions. 
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HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
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.
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RACKING UP THE CONFERENCE HONORS
Fresh off her first career all-around title that propelled OU to a 195.275-194.950 victory over conference rival Nebraska, OU junior Ashley Jackson was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Week by the league on Feb. 5.  The Big 12 honor was the first for the Hudsonville, Mich., native.

Competing in every event for just the fourth time in her career, Jackson posted career highs in the all-around (39.275) and on floor (9.9) against the Cornhuskers, while also matching a career best on bars (9.825).  Jackson started the night off right by setting a season high on vault (9.825) in OU's first rotation, unveiling a new vault for the first time.

In all, Jackson recorded three top-3 finishes (vault, bars and floor) in her career night.
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NEW YEAR, SAME RESULTS
Following her all-around title against West Virginia that propelled OU to its highest score of the 2008 season, gymnast Kiara Redmond-Sturms was named co-Big 12 Gymnast of the Week by the league, sharing the honor with Nebraska's Emily Parsons.

Champion on vault (9.875), bars (9.9) and floor (9.925), Redmond-Sturms finished second on beam to teammate Hollie Vise in the only event she didn't win. 
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AMONG THE BIG 12's BEST
Leading OU in its win over TWU, Sooner gymnasts Kiara Redmond-Sturms and Hollie Vise were honored as Big 12 Gymnast and Event Specialist of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced Jan. 23.

Redmond-Sturms won her third all-around title of the season with a career-high 39.65, the second-highest mark in OU women's gymnastics history. Highlighted by a career-high 9.95 in the win on the floor exercise, the Los Angeles, Calif., native also earned event titles on bars and vault against the Pioneers.

Capped off by career high's in both events, Vise finished second on beam (9.9) to teammate Redmond-Sturms and third on the uneven bars (9.825) against TWU to earn her first weekly honor. The Dallas, Texas, native's 9.9 on beam tied for the highest non-OU beam score this season in the Big 12.
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THE BEAM QUEEN(S)
OU junior Haley DeProspero won the beam title at the first three 2008 meets for the Sooners and added another title on the apparatus at Denver, against ISU (sharing the honor with Vise against the Cyclones) and at Mizzou (sharing the honor with Stephanie LoPiccolo). The McKinney, Texas, native has company though.  Hollie Vise earned the first event title of her career after a 9.85 on beam at West Virginia, a week after being named the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week, then tied DeProspero against ISU (9.875).
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REST AND RELAXATION
With the promising starts of Ratcliff, the Sooners were able to rest senior Caitlin Hinkis and junior Jessica Kinder, who both were recovering from injuries. Now back in competition, the two add a mature presence to numerous event line-up's for the Sooners. In her first meet back, Kinder recorded a career high-tying 9.85 on floor against TWU and a remarkable 9.8 on beam as a last-second fill-in for the injured Ashley Jackson at Missouri.

Hinkis, a native of Simsbury, Conn.,  finished in the top five on bars four times last season and scored a 9.825 on the apparatus against ISU in her first meet back.
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THE BEAM DREAM TEAM
Oklahoma posted a staggering 49.425 score on beam at the season-opening Cancun Classic. The  mark tied the second-highest score in program history and was the highest by an OU beam team since April 3, 2004.
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KINDLER SIGNS THREE FOR 2008
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.
 
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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