Jan. 18, 2003
MEET PREVIEW After struggling in the Super Six challenge last weekend, the Oklahoma women's gymnastics team gained some momentum on the road at Texas Woman's University Friday by beating the Pioneers for the 17th consecutive time. OU win attempt to begin its first winning streak of the season as Boise State and Utah State visit the Lloyd Noble Center Sunday at 2 p.m.
"We want to redeem ourselves on bars this weekend," said OU head coach Steve Nunno. "We will field the same team because I know that they can do it. They were great leading into last weekend's meet and have been great since. All they need to do now is show their ability in an actual meet and build some confidence."
Utah State was picked by league coaches to win the Western Gymnastics Conference, while Boise State was predicted to finish in third in the four member league. Neither team was ranked in GymInfo preseason poll and both have not yet had an official meet.
Utah State is lead by its three talented seniors, while Boise State's squad is made up of only sophomores and freshman.
Due to a number of minor injuries, senior co-captain Patricia Aoki is unlikely to compete in all four events. Instead she will skip the vault and newcomer Karina Agafonova will slide into her spot. Besides Aoki, the Sooners have other injuries to note.
The first 300 fans in attendance will receive free OU women's gymnastics schedule magnets. Admission to the meet is $5 for adults and $2 for children. For more ticket information, call the OU athletics ticket office at (800) 456-GoOU.
READY TO DEBUT
While coach Nunno's squad will not be at full strength this weekend, the Sooners are inching their way towards capacity. Ukrainian native Karina Agafonova will likely compete on the floor and vault.
"I want to test Karina and see her competitive nature in an actual meet," said Nunno. "I also want to get her involved as a member of this team. Collegiate gymnastics is very different in the United States and I would like her to begin that assimilation."
Freshman Nicole Gause will also make her collegiate debut this weekend after traveling to the Super Six as an alternate. Gause will compete on the floor exercise.
"It was important to Nicole that she was ready to compete in Texas because she wanted to debut in her home state," said Nunno.
LAST TIME OUT
The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team notched its first victory of the 2003 season with a 194.425-190.175 defeat of Texas Woman's University inside the Kitty McGee Arena on the Denton, Texas campus. With the victory OU improves to 1-5, while TWU drops to 0-2.
"This was a step in the right direction," said OU head coach Steve Nunno. "Our freshman were outstanding again tonight, but what made the difference was that our upperclassmen performed very well. We were able to get everyone a chance to compete tonight and still post a solid score. It was important that everyone made a solid contribution because Patricia Aoki and Kasie Tamayo were unable to compete in all four event tonight."
For the second consecutive meet freshman Meredith Fricke registered a team high score of 9.900 on the floor exercise, but this time she had some company. Senior Patricia Aoki also tallied a 9.900 on the floor, while fellow senior Christy Gerard finished with a 9.850.
Junior Kasie Tamayo collected a 9.900 on the uneven bars, while Aoki and Allison Landis scored 9.850 and 9.875, respectively.
Freshman Kelly Haggerty came out with a bang in her collegiate debut, recording a 9.900 on the balance beam to lead the Sooners. Fricke finished just behind Haggerty with a 9.875.
In line with the early season trend was rookie Katie Hostler who posted a meet high 9.725 on the vault. Fricke was again solid collecting a 9.625, which was matched by sophomore Erin Labarr.
"I am just happy to contribute to the team effort," said Fricke. "I hope that I can post a solid score like that on the floor in every meet and I will continue to work hard. We are only going to get better as a team and I hope that my scores improve as we progress this season."
After posting a team score of 47.175 on bars last weekend, the Sooners drastically improved, scoring 48.925. The Sooners strongest event of the night was the beam, where they logged a combined score of 49.050, which marks OU highest team event score of the season.
Oklahoma did not have any gymnast compete in the individual all-around.
"This was great win and a great tune up for our home opener," said Nunno. "We're excited about opening up the season at the Lloyd Noble Center. We are going to put on a good show against a couple (Boise State and Utah State) of talented teams."