Oklahoma Women Head To Georgia For The NCAA Finals

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
APRIL 13, 2001

April 13, 2001

The National Championships
Oklahoma qualified for the NCAA National Championships for the first time since 1989. The finals berth also marks the third time in the program's history OU has made it to the National Championships. OU finished 10th in 1985 and ninth in 1989.

Sooners Finish Runner-Up in Regionals
OU finished second at the NCAA South Central Regional Saturday, Apri 7, in Lincoln, Neb. The Sooners (20-7), who led at the midway point of the meet, scored a 194.925. Then-No. 3 Nebraska won the meet with a 196.200. Oklahoma received a first-place finish from junior Mariana Goncalves on vault (9.875) as well as stellar performances from freshman Kasie Tamayo (fifth, all-around, 39.150) and sophomore Leticia Ishii (sixth, all-around, 39.050). "It was the best second-place finish I've ever had," said Oklahoma Co-Head Coach Steve Nunno.

Women's National Rankings

1.  Alabama        198.000

2.  Georgia        197.775

3.  UCLA           197.775

4.  Michigan   197.225

12. Oklahoma   195.225

Academic Honors
Four Oklahoma gymnasts were selected to the Academic All-Big 12 team this season. Sophomores Patricia Aoki, Leticia Ishii and Leah Mueller earned first-team honors while junior Mariana Goncalves was selected to the second team.

Coaches Honored
It is only fitting that Becky Switzer, in her last season as head coach at OU, and Steve Nunno, who just completed his first year as mentor of Oklahoma women's gymnastics program, were named 2001 Big 12 Co-Head Coaches of the Year. The tandem has led the Sooners to a 20-7 record, a No. 12 national ranking and a trip to the NCAA National Championships in Athens, Ga.

All-Big 12 Accolades
Although the Sooners finished third at the Big 12 Championships, OU did have five gymnasts win all-conference honors. Leticia Ishii was the lone OU gymnast to win All-Big 12 accolades on two events, the all-around and floor exercise. Patricia Aoki and Mariana Goncalves claimed all-conference honors on the floor exercise while Kasie Tamayo and freshman Carla DeMartini won places on the vault and the all-around, respectively.

Last Year's Postseason
In 2000, the women's team concluded the year with a sixth-place finish at the Region 1 competition in Corvallis, Ore., on the campus of Oregon State. The team finished with 193.000, behind UCLA (197.025) and Oregon State (196.175), who advanced to the national championships Despite its sixth-place finish, Oklahoma did have two individuals who advanced to the NCAA Championships, Amber McCracken and Ginger Russell.

Women's Facts and Figures
* The 2001 Oklahoma Sooners set the school record for wins in a season with 20, surpassing of 18 set by the 1998 squad.
* Oklahoma has faced two teams this season that qualified for the NCAA National Championships, Florida and Nebraska. OU is 0-1 against the Gators and 0-3 versus the Huskers.
* OU's No. 12 nationally ranking is its highest since Feb. 5, when it was ranked ninth, its highest of the season.
* Several gymnasts have broken into the OU record books. The following lists the 2001 individual scores that rank in the top two in school history:

Mariana Goncalves
*BarsT1st, 9.975, Jan. 27

Leticia Ishii
*FloorT1st, 9.950, March 16

Carla DeMartini
*VaultT2nd, 9.950, March 16

Leah Mueller
*VaultT2nd, 9.950, March 16

Kasie Tamayo
*AAT2nd, 39.550, March 16

The Schedule
The Sooners will compete in the afternoon session beginning Thursday, April 19, at Noon, CDT. The following is the order in which the six teams (Alabama, Florida, Michigan, OU, Oregon State and UCLA) will compete in.

1 OUFla.Mich.OSUUCLAAla. 2 Ala.OUFla.Mich.OSUUCLA 3 UCLAAla.OUFla.Mich.OSU 4 OSUUCLAAla.OUFla.Mich. 5 Mich.OSUUCLAAla.OUFla. 6 Fla.Mich.OSUUCLAAla.OU

The top three from the session will advance to the "Super Six" or the Finals of the Team Competition Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. CDT.



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