April 17, 2011
CLEVELAND -- Four OU gymnasts earned five spots in the 2011 NCAA Individual Event Finals on Sunday. OU's five competitors in the event championships were the most for OU under head coach K.J. Kindler.
Freshman Madison Mooring was the runner-up on vault after posting a 9.8313 on the apparatus. Mooring finished behind champion Marissa King of Florida who scored a 9.875.
Each competitor in the vault event finals was required to perform two different vaults. Each vault is averaged and the final score will be the average of the two vault averages.
Mooring was the fourth vaulter of the day and took the lead after her first vault scored a 9.85 and posted a 9.825 on her second. Mooring remained in first place until Florida's Marissa King scored the 9.875 as the 10th vaulter to pass Mooring.
Mooring was named first team All-American on vault with her 9.9 performance in Friday's semifinal and earned second team honors on beam.
Mooring joined the Sooner squad after graduating from high school last December. Despite being with the team for just a few weeks of preseason training, the freshman made a huge impact in her first year and competed on three events (vault, beam and floor) for the majority of the season.
Mooring was the first freshman in the NCAA to score a 9.95 on beam, when she posted the score at TWU in Kindler's 100th Sooner win on Jan. 23. Mooring was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice during her freshman season and won three event titles during the year.
Natasha Kelley finished in fourth place on beam after scoring a 9.875 in the event finals.
Kelley earned first team All-America honors on beam with her 9.9 performance in the NCAA semifinals Friday. Kelley was also named second team All-American on bars with a 9.875.
Kelley ended the year with 10 scores of 9.825 or higher in her 12 postseason routines, including two 9.95s, two 9.925s and one 9.9.
Kelley, the 2011 Big 12 co-champion on beam with Ferguson, has posted a 9.9 or higher 14 times this season over her three events (vault, bars and beam) and leads the team with 14 overall event titles.
Kelley has done all this, despite suffering three major injuries in the past three years. The redshirt-sophomore has competed her two seasons without an ACL in her right leg.
Kelley broke her leg during the summer prior to her freshman season. After rehabilitating the leg and getting back to training, Kelley tore her Achilles tendon the month before the season started and was forced to take a medical redshirt.
During preseason training prior to her redshirt-freshman season, Kelley tore her ACL in her right leg. Kelley decided to rehab the knee and compete despite the injury.
Sophomore Megan Ferguson competed on both bars and beam during Sunday's event finals. Ferguson posted a 9.8125 on beam to finish in eighth place and a 9.775 and finished 13th overall on bars.
Ferguson was named first team All-American on both bars and beam after posting a 9.9 and 9.925 on the events respectively. Ferguson also earned second team honors on floor with a 9.875 in Friday's semifinal.
Ferguson was the only gymnast in the Big 12 this season to earn All-Big 12 honors on three events (bars, beam and floor).
Ferguson started the season as the Sooners' only returning All-American. Ferguson was a first team All-American on beam her freshman season and was a second team All-American on bars last year before adding her three honors this year.
Along with her All-America honors, Ferguson is a three-time Big 12 Champion (bars and beam - 2009, beam - 2010).
Kayla Nowak also represented the Sooners on bars. Nowak tied her career-high 9.9 on the apparatus in Friday's semifinal which she previously set in the NCAA Norman Regional on April 2.
Nowak posted a 9.8 in Sunday's event finals to finish in 12th place overall.
Nowak was named first team All-American on bars with her 9.9 semifinals performance. Nowak also earned second team honors on beam with a 9.8.
When OU lost five seniors from the record-breaking 2010 team, including three that earned five All-America honors, the Sooners became a very young team and needed to fill those leadership roles.
Nowak, just a sophomore, emerged as one of the leaders for the young Sooners and was the only gymnast to compete in the all-around all season.
Nowak earned the anchor position in the floor lineup for the majority of the season and held the team's best score on the event in nine competitions this season. Nowak ended the season ranked No. 12 nationally on floor and won the 2011 Big 12 championship on the event.
On Feb. 26, Nowak competed in the all-around for the first time this season against Michigan. Nowak scored a career-high 39.375 and placed second to Michigan's Kylee Botterman by just .025. Botterman, a senior, just won the NCAA national championship in the all-around.