Sooners Set for Mile High City

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 12, 2009

Feb. 12, 2009

 No. 8 Oklahoma (2-3) at No. 22 Denver (6-5) 
 Date & Time  Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. CST
 Location  Denver, Colo. | Hamilton Gymnasium
 Tickets  Denver Ticket Office | 303-871-2336

 Link to Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

 Live Scoring  OU vs. DU
 Directions  Campus Directory
 Official Website  Oklahoma | Denver
 Meet Info  Meet Notes (PDF) Sooners | Pioneers

The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad makes its fourth road appearance in five weeks on Saturday, traveling to Denver, Colo., for a meeting with the 22nd-ranked Denver Pioneers at 7 p.m. (CT), inside Hamilton Gymnasium.  It’s DU’s Burnsley Invitational/Link to Pink Meet in support of breast cancer awareness, as the squads will wear pink leotards and the fans will have the opportunity to donate via pledge cards called “Stick it to Cancer,” with all profits going to the Denver Komen Foundation.

OU is coming off of a 196.175-196.000 defeat at No. 12 Nebraska in which the Sooners were forced to count their first fall on bars this season.  Oklahoma rebounded from its initial struggles on the apparatus with three-straight team scores of 49-plus to close the meet, including a 49.325 on beam in which every OU gymnast posted a score of 9.825 or higher.

Ashley Jackson and Haley DeProspero finished one-two in the all-around standings against the Huskers, as Oklahoma picked up event wins on vault and beam, while also notching individual titles on vault (Jackson - career-high 9.925) and bars (Jessica Kinder - career-high 9.85). 

The Sooners lead the Big 12 on all four events and are the only conference squad to hold a 49-plus average on any apparatus (vault, bars and floor exercise). 

Oklahoma defeated the Pioneers in both 2008 meetings.  The two squads squared off in Denver in a quad meet on Feb. 9, with the Sooners besting all four squads, including a 195.925-195.700 victory over second-place DU.  OU posted a 196.075 in the first session of the NCAA preliminaries, while Denver scored a 194.200 in the night session. 

Denver enters Saturday’s matchup with Oklahoma off of a 197.025-193.350 loss at Alabama on Feb. 6.  The Pioneers were led by senior All-American Jessica López, who won the all-around title against the Crimson Tide with her second-straight 39.500.  López paced DU on each event, capturing a pair of titles with a season-high 9.925 on bars and a 9.900 on floor.

López shares second nationally in the all-around rankings with a season average of 39.500. 

Tickets for the meet can be purchased by calling the DU Ticket Office at 303-871-2336. Tickets are also available on-line at

 Sooner to Watch 

Ashley Jackson | Sr. | AA 
Jackson won her second all-around title of the season with a career-high 39.375 against Nebraska en route to Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honors.  The Hudsonville, Mich., native also earned the vault title against the
Huskers with a career-high 9.925.

On the year, Jackson has posted five individual titles including 11 routines of 9.8 or greater, with a 9.925 vault score (NU) and a 9.95 floor tally (TWU). 


Oklahoma has won 33 of its last 37 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. 

Following the meet, a complete recap, photos, video highlights and official scores can be found on, the official website of OU women’s gymnastics.

Thursday, Feb. 12:
        Iowa State vs. Iowa (7 PM)
Friday, Feb. 13:
        Missouri vs. Illinois (6:30 PM)
        Nebraska vs. Utah (7 PM)

OU’s team tally of 197.175 at TWU on Jan. 17 is the second-best mark in the NCAA this season.  Only Georgia, winner of the last four NCAA Championships, has bested the Sooners’ score (197.250). 

• HOW THE TEAMS STACK UP                                       
The Sooners lead the South Central Region on vault and beam, while standing second on bars and floor exercise. In the North Central Region, Denver is second on vault, fourth on bars, fifth on beam and second on floor.  If it should come down to the final event - OU has posted a final-event average of 49.258 on beam in road competitions, while Denver has averaged a 48.650 on floor in its three home meets. 

• AMONG THE REGIONS BEST                                                                                                                      
The Sooners (196.075) are one of only two squads in the South Central Region to hold an average above 196.000 through the first month of the 2009 season (Arkansas is the other at 196.112).  The two squads hold a clear advantage over the other 10 region foes as Nebraska (195.385) and Missouri (195.130) are the only other teams with an average above 195.000. 

• ROAD SWEET ROAD                                                                                                                            
Posting a then-NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season.  Three of Oklahoma’s top four scores last season, including a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas, came on the road for the Sooners. Going further, five of OU’s top seven scores in 2008 were outside of Norman.

• CONFERENCE ALL STARS                                                                                                                            
Oklahoma holds the top spot in the season team average and on all four individual event rankings in the latest Troester rankings.  The Sooners are the only Big 12 squad to hold a 49-plus rankings on any event (vault, beam and floor).

• KINDER STEPS UP                                                                                                                                        
The fifth-year senior entered the year without a collegiate event title to her credit, but has already snagged a pair of titles on the young year.  Kinder’s lastest event crown came on bars against Nebraska, after a career-high 9.85.  The feat is even more remarkable considering Kinder hadn’t event competed on bars until this season.  The Kansas City, Mo., native also posted a career-high 9.9 on floor against Minnesota for her first collegiate victory. 

• DEPROSPERO’S BACK IN THE ALL-AROUND                                                                                     
Senior Haley DeProspero made her first appearance in the all-around against Nebraska, finishing second to teammate Ashley Jackson.  DeProspero is still nursing a lingering knee injury and hadn’t competed on vault prior to OU’s trip to Lincoln. 

• DOMINATING THE BIG 12                                          
The Sooners have reeled off an 11-2 record versus Big 12 opponents since the start of the 2007 schedule, including a
6-1 mark during regular season action. 

Prior to OU’s loss to Nebraska, its last regular season defeat to a conference opponent was Feb. 10, 2006, against
Iowa State. 

University of Oklahoma senior all-arounder Ashley Jackson was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 10.  It’s the first conference honor of the season for the Hudsonville, Mich., native who posted career highs on vault (9.925) and the all-around (39.375), capturing the two titles at No. 12 Nebraska on Feb. 8.

The weekly conference honor is the second of Jackson’s career, as she was also named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week the first week of February a year ago. The honor comes a week after fellow Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week.

The Big 12’s top-ranked all-around competitor, Jackson also posted a season-high 9.825 on beam and took second on bars (9.825) against the Huskers. She is ranked No. 18 nationally in the all-around and 15th on vault and floor.

New for the 2009 season at Oklahoma home meets is OU's version of Name that Tune. After each rotation, a fan is selected from the crowd to try and guess the name of a song being performed by one of the gymnasts.  If they guess correctly, they are rewarded with an OU prize pack.  Below are a few highlights from the first two meets:

Candace Cindell | Jessica Kinder | Kristin Smith 

• ROOT GARNERS FIRST CONFERENCE HONOR                                                    
University of Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 3.  It’s the first conference honor for the Cartersville, Ga., native who tied career highs on vault (9.875) and bars (9.825) against No. 21 Minnesota en route to her first collegiate event title (vault).

Root shared the Big 12 accolade with Iowa State’s Ceilia Maccani, who scored a career-best 9.85 on beam and a 9.75 on vault in the Cyclone’s loss to Michigan.

On the year, 50 percent of Root’s routines (four-of-eight) have gone for a score of 9.8 or better.

Of the 35 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 21 (.600) have gone for a 9.8 or better.  Four of seven routines against Nebraska tallied a 9.8 or better, a week after six of their seven routines were scored at a 9.8 or greater against Minnesota. 

• PROTECTING THE HOUSE                                                                
The Sooners are 14-1 in their last 15 regular season home meets.  Before Oklahoma’s loss to Arkansas, its last home defeat before the postseason came at the hands of an Iowa State team that was coached by K.J. Kindler - OU’s current head coach.

• THREE IN A ROW FOR VISE                                                                                               
Hollie Vise won her third-straight bars title with a 9.875 against Minnesota on Jan. 30.  Vise has tallied four event wins during 2009 action.  The Dallas, Texas., native is well ahead of her pace last season, when she claimed seven titles throughout the year (four on bars, three on beam). 

• FRESHMEN PHENOMS                                                                                                                         
OU’s Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on five occasions already this season.  Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85), tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925) and shared top beam honors for the Sooners against Minnesota (9.875), while Stone’s 9.875 on vault against Arkansas was a team high a week after sharing vault honors with Ashley Jackson against TWU.    

• CAREER HIGHS FOR A PAIR                                                                                                                             Along with Melanie Root’s career-high 9.875 on vault, Jessica Kinder posted a personal-best 9.8 on bars against the Golden Gophers.  Kinder, a fifth-year senior in the Oklahoma program, just started competing on bars in 2009.  The Kansas City, Mo., native has posted scores of 9.7 or better all three times on the appartus. 

• NATALIE’S NIGHT                                                                                            
While many Sooners had trouble on beam against the Razorbacks, the same cannot be said of Natalie Ratcliff.  The sophomore posted a 9.825 on the apparatus in just her second collegiate beam routine - a week after posting  a 9.875 on the event in her beam debut at TWU.   Ratcliff also posted a career-high 9.825 on vault for the Sooners against Arkansas.

• BUST OUT THE BROOMS                                                                                      
OU swept all individual and event titles against TWU, marking the first time this season that it had won every crown of the dual meet.  The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago. 

Roster | Schedule | Notes | 2009 Poster | 2009 Media Guide

• BARS STARS                                                                                                                                          
The Sooner’ bars lineup at Florida included three gymnasts making their collegiate debut on the apparatus (Megan Ferguson, Jessica Kinder and Melanie Root).  The trio went three-for-three including a second-place finish by Ferguson, who scored a 9.85 in her first collegiate routine.  Kinder hit a 9.725, while Root finished with a 9.625.

• NATASHA KELLEY TO REDSHIRT                                                   
OU freshman Natasha Kelley will redshirt the 2009 season after an achilles injury sustained during the fall training period.  The Katy, Texas, native is Oklahoma’s most heralded recruit since NCAA Champion Kelly Garrison after spending 2004-2008 as a member of the US Elite National Team.  The ‘05 USA Elite Junior National champion (all-around, beam, floor) was also the silver medalist at the 2006 World Championships and ‘07 American Cup.
• MEET THE NEWCOMERS                                                                       
OU gymnastics fans also will have their first chance to see OU’s freshman class of Megan Ferguson, Natasha Kelley, Sara Stone and Hailey Wagner in collegiate action at the Lloyd Noble Center in 2009.  While Kelley is redshirting the year after an injury during the fall, Ferguson and Stone are inked into the tentative starting lineup against Minnesota.

Baylor transfer Julie Kramer also joined the Sooners over the summer and will provide depth to the vault lineup.

OU’s 2008-09 recruiting class of Ferguson, Kelley, Stone and Wagner was the sixth-best group in the country, according to a recent Top-10 Women’s Recruiting Classes poll.  The Sooners ranked behind No. 1 UCLA and ‘08 NCAA Championships Super Six squads Georgia (second), Alabama (third), Florida (fourth) and Stanford (fifth).  Oklahoma was the only squad from the Big 12 Conference and South Central Region named to the list.

• THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR                                                                    
The Sooners welcome back 18 routines from last season’s 2008 NCAA Championships. Below is an event-by-event breakdown of returners for the 2009 year that competed in Athens, Ga.

Vault (5): Flanery, Kinder, Jackson, DeProspero, Mantle
Bars (4): Mantle, Jackson, DeProspero, Vise
Beam (4): Kinder, Jackson, Vise, DeProspero
Floor (5): Smith, Kinder, DeProspero, Jackson, Flanery

• BOWLING INTO THE NEW YEAR                                                                 
Although the gymnastics schedule was set months before the bowl lineups were announced, the OU gymnastics squad opened up its season slate with Oklahoma’s football bowl opponent for the second straight year.   The Sooners squared off with the Gator gymnastics squad on Jan. 9, less than 24 hours after meeting Florida in the BCS National Championship game.  Oklahoma and West Virginia met in the second session of the Cancun Classic in their season opener a year ago, a day after OU’s football squad faced the Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl. 



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