Jan. 29, 2003
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The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team travels to Lincoln, Neb. for a coed dual meet with No. 4 Nebraska Saturday at 7:30 p.m., inside the Devaney Center on the NU campus. The two-time defending Big 12 champion Huskers are coming off a narrow defeat of 2002 national champion Alabama, while OU is coming off a bye weekend.
"We're really looking forward to the start of the conference schedule," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "We are the underdog and we are just going there to have our best meet of the season. Nebraska has the pressure of being the conference favorite and extending their streak."
Nebraska is riding a 46 meet home winning streak that extends back to the 1989 season.
OU enters the contest in the midst of a two-meet win streak, during which the Sooners easily defeated three opponents. In Oklahoma's last meet, it posted a 195.950, a season-high, but a number which it surpassed in nine of its 11 meets last season. OU will likely have Junior Kasie Tamayo back from a muscle pull in her right calf. Senior Leah Mueller is still out for the foreseeable future.
"It definitely worked in our favor to have this week off because we were able to heal a lot of nagging injuries," said Nunno. " The break also restored energy in a lot of the team. Unfortunately our key players, like Kasie Tamayo , Leah Mueller and Kristin Cox, are not ready for the all-around."
OU met Nebraska in the season-opening Super Six Challenge in Athens, Ga. In that meet Nebraska took second place with an all-around score of 196.700, while OU posted a 193.275 and landed in sixth place. Richelle Simpson took third place in the all-around at the Super Six, while Patricia Aoki was OU's highest finisher in 11th place. Simpson recorded a 10.00 on vault to help launch the Huskers past Alabama last weekend.
"There is always a chance to beat anyone in a dual meet," said Nunno. "We'll need to have an exceptional meet but in the same light, Nebraska has to keep its exceptional scoring. The team is working hard and is motivated to do well. Right now we are working hardest on vault. Everyone is picking it up and a couple girls are going to debut new vaults."
OU returns to the Lloyd Noble Center for a dual meet with No. 20 Penn State on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The first 300 fans in attendance will receive free OU women's gymnastics magnet schedules. 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.
With the injuries to Leah Mueller and Kasie Tamayo, arguably the Sooners most talented gymnasts, the Sooners looked to be headed for an early season collapse. But the talented group of six freshmen has stepped up in a major way and are carrying the team into the toughest conference road trip of the season.
The numbers show that rookies Kelly Haggerty and Meredith Fricke are the only Sooners ranked among nations top 20 on an individual event. Five of Katie Hostler's six scores this season have been above 9.725, while Melissa Smith, Nicole Gause and Tara Anderson continue to put up consistently high scores.
Karina Agafonova - Ukrainian debuted last weekend with a high of 9.725 on beam.
Tara Anderson - Freshman has only competed on uneven bars this season.
Patricia Aoki - Captain collected career-highs on balance beam (9.825), floor (9.925) and all-around (39.225).
Kristin Cox - Freshman may make collegiate debut on vault this weekend.
Meredith Fricke - Ranked No. 20 in the nation with 9.892 average on floor exercise.
Nicole Gause - Scored a 9.850 on floor in Sooner home debut.
Christy Gerard - Competed in the all-around for the first time in five years and scored 39.125, plus career-highs on vault (9.650) and bars (9.725).
Kelly Haggerty - Ranked No. 13 in nation on balance beam with 9.887 average.
Katie Hostler - Hostler, along with fellow rookies Haggerty and Fricke, have carried the Sooners in the early season.
Erin Labarr - Sophomore is former walk-on who earned scholarship this season.
Allison Landis - After struggling at Super Six, Landis had outstanding meets against TWU and in home triangular.
Leah Mueller - Still recovering from injury to patellla tendon.
Melissa Smith - Freshman consistent on beam with high of 9.825.
Kasie Tamayo - Recovering from pull muscle in right calf, may compete on vault and bars this weekend.
The Oklahoma (195.950) women's gymnastics team racked up its second victory of the weekend when it defeated Utah State (192.875) and Boise State (191.475) inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Oklahoma improved to 3-5 on the season while Utah State and Boise State each fell to 0-2.
"This was a great team performance," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "Our team is starting to formulate some real spirit. They are starting to understand when they need to turn it on. What I am happiest about is that we are developing a personality as a team. The sense of group camaraderie is really pushing this team along and will help us achieve much better things."
Oklahoma swept top honors on every event and snagged 10 of the top 12 event scores.
Senior Patricia Aoki claimed the all-around title with a 39.225 in a meet that the Sooners led throughout. Aoki also finished atop the final standing on the floor exercise (9.925) and vault (9.775). Aoki's floor and all-around scores marked new career highs for the co-captain.
Fellow co-captain and senior Christy Gerard finished a close second in the all-around with a score of 39.125. Gerard also shared the highest score on balance beam (9.875) with freshman Kelly Haggerty and sophomore Allison Landis, while Aoki ended up in fourth with a score of 9.825 on the apparatus.
"We were awesome," said Aoki. "We can still do better though. We are missing a couple of our best gymnasts but I feel like everything happens for a reason. This allows the freshman to step up and get a wealth of competitive experience. We will be at full strength near the end of the season, when we need to be."
Freshman Katie Hostler and Meredith Fricke continued their impressive rookie season results. Hostler tumbled into second place on the floor (9.900) and third place on the vault (9.750). Fricke registered a 9.825 on the floor; impressive considering it is her lowest score on the event this season. Her floor routine placed her third, while her vault score of 9.725 landed her in fourth.
"The seniors took the reigns and led this team today, but I can't say enough about our underclassmen," said Nunno. "Katie Hostler continues to surprise us with her composure. Meredith Fricke never ceases to amaze me and she continues to put up nothing but solid scores. Allison Landis was also fantastic for us tonight. What is great about all of this is that I know the team still has a lot more to give and we will improve."
Senior's Patricia Aoki and Christy Gerard have to be getting lonesome. With the recent injuries to Leah Mueller and Kasie Tamayo, the seniors are the only veterans competing on a very young squad. The solitude clearly hasn't hurt their performances though.
Aoki was held out of practice for the majority of the week leading up to the Texas Woman's University meet on Jan.17 because of nagging shin and quadriceps injuries. Despite the layoff Aoki competed on three events at TWU and claimed the high score on the floor exercise with a 9.900. She also landed in third place on bars with a score of 9.850. She finished the evening with a solid score of 9.650 on beam.
Sunday, Jan. 19 turned out to be a record breaking day for the Sao Paolo, Brazil native in a triangular meet with BSU and USU. Aoki took the all-around title with a career best 39.225 and led the Sooners to an easy defeat 195.950 to 192.875 (Utah State). Aoki tumbled her way to a career best on floor exercise and balance beam as well with scores of 9.925 and 9.825, respectively. Aoki's 9.825 on beam landed her in fourth place on the event, behind three fellow Sooners. Her floor exercise garnered the highest individual score of the meet. Aoki also notched the top spot on vault with a 9.775 and seventh place on the uneven bars with a 9.700.
All totaled Aoki recorded three career-highs on the weekend and four first place finishes. Her event average score on the weekend was 9.804, which totaled for an all-around score would equal 39.214, further emphasizing the outstanding afternoon Aoki had on Jan. 19. (continued on page four)
Senior Christy Gerard transferred to Oklahoma from George Washington, after her sophomore season for a number of reasons. One of those was the opportunity to compete on different events. In OU's first home meet of the season Gerard competed in the all-around for the first time since her junior days, more than five years ago.
Her contribution to the Sooners was admirable, because she filled the spot left by Kasie Tamayo, but she also turned in an outstanding performance. She scored a 39.125, just .10 behind fellow senior Patricia Aoki, who recorded a career high with her score. Gerard took home a first place finish on beam, to go along with second and third place finishes in the all-around and floor exercise.
"They stepped up big time," said Nunno. "I have been predicting all year that Patricia would have a break out season and that is starting to come true. Christy is an extremely hard worker and no one on this squad deserve success more than her. In a month this is going to be a very strong team one through 14. Our current competitors are hitting their collective strides and we are anxiously awaiting Kasie, Leah, Karina and Kristin Cox to be at full strength. When they are, we will be a completely different team."
Missouri Tigers Junior Andrea Nervig put up strong marks for the third straight meet. She opened the session scoring a 9.50 on vault before hitting a 9.825 on the uneven bars. Nervig topped off the evening scoring a 9.875 on the floor exercise repeating the mark for the second straight meet. She ranks 22nd in the nation on the uneven bars averaging a 9.85 score. She is also ranked 20th in the South Central Region averaging a 9.825 on the floor exercise. Sophomore Alisha Robinson competed in her second meet of the year on three events. Freshman Lauren Schwartzman again put up big marks for Missouri on the floor exercise scoring a 9.85 against Nebraska. She is ranked 23rd in the South Central Region averaging a 9.817 on the event. Missouri is 1-2 on the year with a 1-1 record in the Big 12 Conference. The Tigers recorded their eighth-highest team floor score against Nebraska with a 49.125.
The fourth-ranked Nebraska women's gymnastics (8-1, 2-0) team won its biggest dual of the year Sunday with a season-best 197.475 against fifth-ranked and defending national champion Alabama at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in front of a crowd of 1,362. Led by a school-record all-around performance (39.75) from senior A.J. Lamb, Nebraska extended its home-winning streak to 46 with a 197.475-197.175 victory.
The Huskers began the day by setting a new school and the Devaney Center record on the vault with a team score of 49.525, which ranks second in the nation this season. The Huskers had incredible performances by all six vaulters, who scored a 9.800 or higher. The team was led by Lamb and junior Richelle Simpson, who both scored perfect 10.0s on the vault. Lamb and Simpson were the third and fourth Huskers, respectively, to score a perfect 10.0 in school history on the vault. The perfect vaults marked the first time in school history that two gymnasts scored 10.0s in the same season, let alone the same meet. Lamb tied the school record at the Devaney Center on floor with a career-best 9.975.
Iowa State Cyclones Cyclone freshman Erin Dethloff took second place in the all-around competition (39.3), but ISU fell to Denver (194.175) and Penn State (195.075) at the Denver triangular. Iowa State tallied 192.60 points which dropped its record to 1-3 overall. Dethloff tied for second place on the vault with Denver's Karyssa Ancellotti (9.875). ISU's Jessica Oney and Susan Stock placed in a three-way tie for fourth along with Denver's Ashley Scribe with a score of 9.85. On the bars Dethloff shared third place with Penn State's Katie McAvoy and Kelly Streicher with a 9.80. Dethloff tied for second on the balance beam with Denver's Michelle Kasuga and Dethloff tied for fourth with Denver's Rose Kiernan (9.80). Dethloff placed in a five-way tied for fifth on the floor.