June 16, 2008

NORMAN, Okla. -- 2008 proved to be a storybook season for OU women's gymnastics as the team cemented itself as one of the program's all-time best. 

Etching its name in the record books on multiple occasions, the Sooners clinched their first Big 12 title since 2004 in dramatic come-from-behind fashion and placed eighth at the NCAA Championships - tying the '07 squad for the best finish in program history at the season-ending event.   

Video  Season Highlight Reel | Photos  The Year in Pictures | Schedule & Results

OU made its fifth-straight NCAA Championships appearance, adding to its program-record streak.  Prior to the current five consecutive showings, the Sooners hadn't been in the field in back-to-back seasons in the 27-year history of the program. 

Senior Kiara Redmond capped off her illustrious career with four additional All-America honors which moved her career total to nine - the highest tally of any gymnast in program history. 

Along with her All-America status on floor (9.9), Redmond came up just short of qualifying for the individual all-around competition, scoring a 39.400 to finish fifth in preliminary competition, just 0.025 of a point out of fourth place.  However, the all-around total earned her second-team All-America distinction. The Los Angeles, Calif., native also earned second-team All-American status on vault (fifth-9.85) and beam (sixth-9.825).

The '08 campaign started with 21 straight victories, including all 18 regular-season meetings, becoming the only team in the country to post an undefeated regular season. 

The final three victories of the season-opening streak didn't come easy, as Oklahoma found itself in third place heading into the final rotation of the Big 12 Championships.  OU recorded its second-highest vault score of the season in the final event, capped off by Redmond's 9.95 from the anchor position when the Sooners needed at least a 9.875 to claim the conference title. 

OU recorded only two scores lower than 9.8 in the final three events of the conference championship as the Sooners clinched at least a share of all four individual event titles - marking just the third time in Big 12 history that a school clinched at least a share of all four apparatus wins.

Hollie Vise and Haley DeProspero won titles on bars and beam, respectively, as the pair both recorded scores of 9.9 in their event wins. Redmond won the other two titles, taking home the vault win with her 9.95 and the floor exercise title after a score of 9.9.

Following OU's come-from-behind heroics in the conference championship, second-year head coach K.J. Kindler was named the 2008 Big 12 Coach of the Year while Redmond  garnered Big 12 Gymnast of the Year honors.

All told, the Sooners made their mark atop the record book for wins (28), consecutive victories (21), wins to start a season (21), regular season winning percentage (1.000), home winning percentage (.917) and regular-season road winning percentage (1.000).

In addition, the Sooners posted their second consecutive season with at least 21 wins - which marks the first time in school history that the team has recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons.

  Season Superlatives

OU claimed a conference-leading nine spots on the 2008 Gymnastics All-Big 12 Team.  The Big 12 Conference awarded the top four Big 12 gymnasts with the highest regional qualifying score (RQS) in each event, excluding the all-around. Leading the way for OU was Redmond who earned a spot on vault, uneven bars, beam and floor exercise. The Los Angeles, Calif., native was the only Big 12 gymnast to garner four accolades.

Vise was also a multiple winner, clinching a spot on both uneven bars and beam. Leading the Big 12 on beam (9.895), DeProspeo was named to the beam team while Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson were honored for their efforts on floor.
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Six University of Oklahoma student-athletes were named to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team, including four first-team members.  Garnering first-team accolades were DeProspero (zoology), Caitlin Hinkis (psychology), Jessica Kinder (health and exercise science) and Jackson (zoology). The second team included Flanery and Mary Mantle, both human relations majors.
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Redmond claimed her seventh Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honor on March 25, setting a conference high for single season weekly accolades. She broke the record of Nebraska's Richelle Simpson, who garnered six GOTW honors as a junior in 2003.
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So much for a home-court advantage... Six of OU's eight best team totals for the '08 squad came outside of Norman.


 2008 OU Gymnastics Awards


OU Most Outstanding Gymnast - Award embodies the whole student-athlete from academics, athletics, community service, campus organizations, social representation.  This athlete goes above and beyond in all areas. 

2008 Winner: Haley DeProspero
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OU Most Valuable Gymnast - Award is based strictly on athletic performance.  An athlete you could count on to come through with a big score when needed most.

2008 Winner: Kiara Redmond
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OU Most Consistent Gymnast - Award is based on season statistics and is given to the athlete that posted strong scores in all events throughout the entire season.

2008 Winner: Jackie Flanery
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Clutch Performance of the Year - Needing to post a 9.875 or higher on vault for OU to win the conference title in come-from-behind fashion, Kiara Redmond posted a 9.95 from the anchor position as OU jumped from third to first in the last rotation in claiming its first Big 12 title since 2004.  

2008 Winner: Kiara Redmond
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OU Spirit Award - This athlete goes to the spirit of the team. Their positive and uplifting attitude and remarks had an amazing influence on team unity and team inspiration.  This person creates an electric environment in practice and competitions.  A true team builder!

2008 Winner: Candace Cindell
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OU Most Improved Award  - This athlete demonstrated improvement in their gymnastics development from August through May.  They learned new skills, competed on additional events from the year prior, were prepared to compete where they may have not been in the past and improved in consistency from previous seasons.

2008 Co-Winners: Jessica Kinder and Mary Mantle


2008 Season Bests:
Team Total: 196.750 (Auburn - 3/7, @Arkansas - 3/15)
Vault: 49.325 (Auburn - 3/7)
Bars: 49.200 (@TWU - 1/18, @WVU - 1/27)
Beam: 49.425 (@ Cancun Classic - 1/4)
Floor: 49.375 (@WVU - 1/27)


2008 Individual Highs:
 All-Around: 39.65 - Redmond (1.19)
Vault: 10.00 - Redmond (2.15)
Bars: 9.925 - Redmond (1.19)
Beam: 9.925 - DeProspero (twice), Smith (3.15)
Floor: 9.95 - Redmond (three times)

SOONER TIMELINE:
A YEAR IN REVIEW

• Aug. 27, 2007: Former gymnast Brittney Koncak-Schumann is named the Big 12 representative for the coveted NCAA Woman of the Year award

• Sept. 24, 2007: The squad kicked off its community service drive by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Noble, Okla.

• Dec. 17, 2007: The Sooners stood eighth in the preseason GymInfo Coaches Poll and second in the Big 12 Conference.  

• Jan. 4, 2008: Oklahoma records a beam score of 49.425 in its season-opening event, marking the second-highest beam score in program history. 

• Jan. 11, 2008: Oklahoma swept all four event titles for the second consecutive meet, improving to 4-0 on the year after its win at Central Michigan. 

• Jan. 19, 2008: Senior All-American Kiara Redmond posted a career-best all-around score of 39.65 at TWU in winning her third-straight all-around title.

• Jan. 27, 2008: OU wins West Virginia quad meet by almost a four-point margin as Oklahoma gymnasts finish one-two in every event standing.  

• Feb. 1, 2008: Ashley Jackson wins first career all-around title as the Sooners defeat Big 12 rival Nebraska in OU's home opener.

• Feb. 9, 2008: Oklahoma sweeps all four individual titles at Denver as Mary Mantle picks up her first event win with a career-best 9.9 on vault in her home state.

• Feb. 15, 2008: Redmond nails a 10.00 on vault against Iowa State, becoming the only gymnast in program history to record two perfect scores in a career.

• Feb. 22, 2008: The Sooners complete the regular-season sweep of all Big 12 foes with a road win at Mizzou.  With the victory, OU improved to 14-0, besting the start of the 1985 squad that previously held the program record for wins to start a season (13-0).

• Feb. 29, 2008: Oklahoma sweeps all individual and team event honors in defeating TWU for the second time in '08.

• March 4, 2008: Hollie Vise is named to the 2008 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

• March 7, 2008: Hitting all 24 routines, the Sooners post a season high team score of 196.750 in defeating the 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers (195.900). 

• March 15, 2008: OU posts a come-from-behind victory at Arkansas despite a program-record team score from the home squad (196.750-196.625). Kristin Smith picks up the first event title of her career with a personal-best 9.925 on beam. 

• March 22, 2008: Redmond wins her 10th all-around title in '08 as Oklahoma clinches an undefeated regular season with its win at Minnesota. 

• April 12, 2008: Two early falls on beam take Sooners out of NCAA Regional Championship hunt, but OU stands strong in final two events and punches its ticket to Athens, Ga., with a second-place finish. 

• April 24, 2008: OU narrowly misses its first Super Six appearance with a fourth-place showing in the first preliminary session at the 2008 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.

• April 24, 2008: OU stands eighth after evening session -- tying a program-best finish.

• April 26, 2008: Redmond concludes her OU career on floor in the event finals, becoming one of the most decorated gymnasts in program history with an Oklahoma-best nine All-America honors.