Women's Gymnastics At Southern Utah Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 18, 2004

Meet 8 at Southern Utah
Friday, Feb. 20, 2004 
6 p.m. CST
Cedar City, Utah (Centrum)

No. 12 OU vs. Southern Utah Preview
The  No. 12 Sooners travel to Cedar City, Utah, to battle Southern Utah on Friday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. (CST) in the Centrum.

OU is coming off one of the season's biggest wins, a 196.275-196.175 victory over then-No. 7 Stanford. 

OU defeated Southern Utah earlier this season on Jan. 24 in Denton, Texas, by a score of 197.300-193.025.

Southern Utah has dropped its past two meets, both against Utah State.  The Thunderbirds (4-3) belong to the Western Gymnastics Conference which also features Utah State, Boise State and Cal State Fullerton.

The Thunderbirds are coached by Scott Bauman in his 12th season and he is 87-117 in career dual meets.  SUU features a roster with limited experience, Jessiann Andrus and Charity Horne are the only two seniors.  In addition, SUU has two juniors, three sophomores and seven freshmen.

OU is currently 8-8 (0-2 Big 12) and ranked No. 12 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.175.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 7 Stanford, No. 18 Oregon State, No. 21 Denver, Southern Utah, Air Force (twice) and TWU (twice).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 20; No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia (twice), No. 6 Iowa State, No. 5 Florida, No. 9 Nebraska, No. 8 Iowa and No. 16 Washington.

After posting a 195.675 against Iowa State at home, the Sooners have posted three straight scores of 196-plus.  Within that span, they have recorded their two best scores on the floor exercise; 49.525 against Nebraska and 49.500 versus Stanford.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo won the all-around against Stanford and sophomore Katie Hostler and freshman Ashley Cooney tied for first on the floor with a 9.925.

Up next for the Sooners is a Big 12 showdown with current No. 10 Missouri in Columbia, Mo. on Sunday, Feb. 29.

For the second week in a row, Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo (ta-MY-o) was named the Big 12 conference’s Gymnast of the Week, as announced Tuesday.  Tamayo is the only gymnast in the Big 12 to earn the honor twice this season.

The Sacramento, Calif., senior won her second consecutive all-around title at home and fourth this season with a 39.425. Tamayo finished tied for third on vault (9.825), tied for second on bars (9.90) and tied for third on floor exercise (9.90). Her performances were key in the Sooners upset over No. 7 Stanford last Friday.

“Kasie has been a model of consistency all season,”  said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “When we needed her to step up against Stanford she accepted the challenge and performed well.  She is one of our team captains and Kasie has been proving that this year by setting the example in each competition.”

Tamayo has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in six out of eight meets this season, averaging 39.334.  She has won the all-around title four times this season and her average ranks her fourth in the South Central Region and in the Big 12. 

In addition, Tamayo is ranked No. 7 individually on the uneven bars in the nation, averaging 9.906 on the apparatus which also ranks her first in South Central Region and first in the Big 12.  As a team, the Sooners rank fourth nationally in average on the bars with a 49.475.

Big 12 Gymnasts of the Week
Feb. 17    Kasie Tamayo        OKLAHOMA      
Feb. 10    Kasie Tamayo        OKLAHOMA
Feb. 3      Erin Dethloff            Iowa State
Jan. 27     Janet Anson            Iowa State
Jan. 20     Libby Landgraf       Nebraska
Jan. 13     Brittney Koncak     OKLAHOMA

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics moved up to the No. 4 spot in the nation on the uneven bars averaging 49.222.  For four consecutive weeks, the Sooners have been ranked in the top five on the apparatus.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are not far behind the top spot, just 0.60 below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA, who is No. 1 (49.282).  The Bruins are followed by Florida (49.254) and Alabama (49.229).

OU has scored better than their competition on bars in six meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring their opposition.  The Washington Huskies are the only other team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

Individually, Kasie Tamayo is averaging 9.906 on the uneven bars, an average that ranks seventh in the nation, first in the south central region and first in the Big 12.  Before the meet at Georgia, Tamayo had posted no lower than a 9.925 in five straight meets on the apparatus.  Included in that streak is the two 9.950s on bars in the wins over Air Force at home and at TWU, tying her career mark. 

The Sooners' home loss on Feb. 1, against Iowa State was the first home defeat under head coach Steve Nunno.  The following week another top 10 team, Nebraska, knocked off OU at home.  Prior to those losses, OU had won 14 straight meets without a defeat.  That streak dated back to 2001 when Nunno was co-head coach with Becky Switzer.

Two-time USA Olympic Coach Steve Nunno is one of the most successful gymnastics coaches in the United States.  His gymnasts have won more national and international medals than any other coach in the country.  Now at the helm of the University of Oklahoma, Coach Nunno has some lofty goals for his college team as well.

After three years as head coach at OU, many of his gymnasts have already entered the record books. In addition, his Sooner squads have been consistently ranked in the top 10 during the regular season for the past two years.

“It’s truly an honor to be the head coach at the University of Oklahoma,” said Nunno.   “Now that I am done traveling around the world with Olympic level gymnasts, it has been wonderful to be able to settle down with my family. The atmosphere and tradition at this University is second to none.”

“I really enjoy coaching the collegiate athletes. This year’s team is extremely talented and they are performing the skills that I’m used to coaching. We have an exciting but challenging schedule this year but I believe it could be our best result ever.

Oklahoma coaching legend Becky Switzer hand picked Nunno, a two-time U.S. Olympic coach, as her successor based on his extensive international expertise,.  After almost two decades of coaching top level Elite athletes, Nunno jumped at the chance to return to the University of Oklahoma. He was an assistant at OU from 1983 through 1985.

Early into the season, Iowa State has defeated everyone in the conference and sits atop the standings at 3-0.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska (2-1), Missouri (0-2) and Oklahoma (0-2).  Nationally, Iowa State is the highest ranked Big 12 school at No. 5 averaging 196.660.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska at No. 8 (196.300), Missouri at No. 10 (196.180) and Oklahoma at No. 11 (196.161).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

The Sooners are the best bars team in the conference and Kasie Tamayo holds the best individual average.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member before its home opener with Air Force on Jan. 23, freshman Ashley Cooney.  Against Air Force at home, Cooney made her OU debut by scoring a 9.750 on vault and 9.825 on floor.  The very next day at TWU she topped those scores with a 9.850 on vault and 9.850 on floor.  Against Iowa State, she competed for the first time on the balance beam (9.275) and recorded a 9.875 on the floor exercise.  This past weekend she recorded new career highs on every event but vault.  Against Nebraska, Cooney scored a 9.850 on beam and 9.900 on floor.  Against Georgia, she competed for the first time on uneven bars and recorded a 9.775 and also had a 39.200 in her first all-around competition, good for third place.  In her second all-around competition against Stanford, Cooney took second with a career best 39.375 and won her first event, tied for first on the floor with a 9.925.

Freshman gymnast Brittney Koncak, the Sooners’ top performer in two meets this season, will miss the remainder of the campaign due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. OU head coach Steve Nunno made the announcement on Feb. 3. Koncak suffered the injury in practice last week and missed the Feb. 1 competition against Iowa State. An MRI on Feb. 2 confirmed the nature of the injury. A surgery date has not yet been scheduled.

In her last two competitions against Air Force at home and at Texas Woman’s University, Koncak finished second both times in the all-around and in the top five of every event.

Koncak earned the Big 12’s first 2004 Gymnast of the Week honor, as announced by the conference on Tuesday, January 13.  She was also named Inside Gymnastics’ gymnast of the week for the South Region as announced on Wednesday, Jan. 14 on their web site, www.insidegymnastics.com.

Last Time Out | Vs. Stanford | 2/13/04
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team got a much needed win on Friday night at the Lloyd Noble Center, narrowly edging No. 7 Stanford, 196.275-196.175. The victory was keyed by the Sooners’ performances on the uneven bars and the floor exercise. 

OU had dropped three straight meets, all to top ranked competition, before Friday’s upset of Stanford.

“We just have such a tough schedule and the past couple weeks have been rough,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “To have a great meet like we did against the past three teams (Iowa State, Nebraska, Georgia) and not win really wore down the team.  They really needed this win tonight and did so against a great team." 

OU (8-8) came into Friday night’s meet ranked No. 5 in the nation on the uneven bars and posted another solid score against Stanford with a 49.300.  The Sooners were led by junior Erin LaBarr and senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo’s 9.900s in the event.  Stanford also was ranked high on the bars, coming in at No. 3.  In Friday’s meet the Cardinal
posted a 48.700 their lowest team event score of the night.

The floor exercise also was solid for OU as the Sooners recorded their second score of 49.500 or higher in the event at home.  The Sooners’ 49.500 topped Stanford’s 49.100 and sophomore Katie Hostler was the top performer winning the event with a 9.925 (tied career high).  Freshman Ashley Cooney tied Hostler on the floor with a career-best score. 

OU’s only other top finish came from Tamayo.  The California native, fresh off her Big 12 Gymnast of the Week award, took first in the all-around with a 39.425.  Not far behind Tamayo and Cooney, who, in her second ever collegiate all-around competition, finished second with a career best 39.375.  Last weekend at Georgia, Cooney took third with a 39.200.




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