March 23, 2010
IRVING, Texas - Eight University of Oklahoma women's gymnasts have been named to the 2010 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team, including six first-team members, the conference announced Tuesday.
It’s the second consecutive season the Sooners have had eight gymnasts qualify for the accolade. OU's eight honorees were second only to Iowa State's Big 12-leading 11 selections.
Garnering first-team accolades in 2009-10 were Megan Ferguson (journalism – broadcast and electronic media), Jackie Flanery (human relations), Mary Mantle (human relations), Natalie Ratcliff (early childhood education), Sara Stone (undecided) and Hollie Vise (human relations). Vise and Ratcliff are repeat recipients of the first-team honor after both garnered the accolade last season, while Flanery and Mantle earned second-team distinction in 2008.
Representing Oklahoma on the second team were Natasha Kelley (sociology) and Kristin Smith (human relations).
|2010 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Team | (PDF of all honorees)|
Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, the gymnastics academic all-league squad consisted of 24 first team members combined with eight on the second team. First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, and the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of her team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.
The conference also announced its weekly Big 12 awards on Tuesday as Kelley was named Event Specialist of the Week. Kelley notched a score of 9.875 or better in the three events she competed in, leading the Sooners (14-0) to a 197.475-196.100 win at No. 6 Arkansas last Friday. The freshman scored a career-high 9.900 on beam, a 9.900 on vault and a 9.875 on bars. She placed third on all three apparatuses, leading OU to the highest team score ever recorded in Barnhill arena.
Kelley’s award was the Big 12-record ninth Event Specialist of the Week honor for the Sooners this season, as an OU gymnast garnered the award the final seven weeks of the year. Kelley earned the honor for the second time this season and is the only Big 12 freshman to earn the accolade in 2010. The Katy, Texas, native is the only conference newcomer currently ranked in the top 30 on an apparatus. Kelley currently holds top-30 rankings on every event she competes (vault, bars and beam).
Fresh off of its second undefeated regular season in the last three years, OU turns its attentions towards the postseason as the Sooners travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Big 12 Championship on March 27 at 2 p.m. (CT). Oklahoma is a win away from three straight conference titles for the first time since it reeled off back-to-back-to-back titles in 1984-1986.