Women's Gymnastics Hosts Air Force Friday At 7 p.m., At TWU Saturday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 22, 2004

Meet 3 vs. Air Force
Friday, Jan. 23, 2004
7 p.m. CST
Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)

Meet 4 at Texas Woman's University
Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004
7 p.m. CST
Denton, Texas

No. 21 OU vs. Air Force and Texas Woman's Previews
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program continues the 2004 season with their home opener on Friday, January 23, at 7 p.m. in the Lloyd Noble Center.  The women will be hosting the Air Force Academy, they join Texas Woman's University as the only two opponents that OU has faced this year that compete in the USAG (Division II).  The Sooners will meet again with TWU a day after their home opener in Denton, Texas.

So far this season, OU is 3-5 and ranked No. 21 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 195.212.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 23 Oregon State, No. 16 Denver and TWU.  While suffering losses to five current top ten teams; No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Florida, No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 Iowa and No. 9 Washington.

The Sooners had last week off after coming off a fourth place finish in the Super Six on January 9 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  That was the site of OU's highest team score (195.275) and of freshman Brittney Koncak's win in the all-around. 

The Falcons opened their 2004 schedule by hosting the Rocky Mountain Open last weekend, in which they finished third with a 191.650. San Jose State won the meet with a 193.875 and Utah State took second with a 192.800. Texas Woman’s University and Wisconsin-Eau Claire rounded out the scoring with respective totals of 191.325 and 185.525. Highlighting the Falcons' performance was junior Jessa Liegl as she matched an Academy record on the floor exercise with a 9.950.  Liegl in one of two juniors this year on a team also composed of four seniors, one sophomore and four freshmen.

Air Force is entering the fifth year under head coach Lisa Woody who has had success in her time at the helm of the program.  Last season, the Falcons finished second in the USAG, behind Texas Woman's University.  In 2002, Woody brought home the national championship for the second consecutive year.

Friday's meet is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center and gates will open one hour prior to the event.  Tickets are  $5 for adults and $2 for children and fans presenting a military ID will receive a discounted rate of $2.  In addition, groups of ten or more will receive the discounted group rate of $2 a ticket (tickets must be ordered 24 hours in advance).  The first 350 fans will receive OU women’s gymnastics trading cards and after the meet, fans are encouraged to stick around for an autograph session. 

On Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., the Sooners will face Texas Woman's University for the second time this season, this time in Denton, Texas.  The last time these two met, OU defeated the Pioneers 195.150-189.175 in the Cancun Gymnastics Classic.  TWU under head coach Frank Kudlac have won seven USAG National Championships (Division II) since 1992, including last year's team that produced nine All-Americans.  They are composed of two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and six freshman.

Sooner freshman Brittney Koncak earned the Big 12’s first 2004 Gymnast of the Week honor, the conference announced Tuesday, January 13.

On Saturday, January 9, Koncak won the all-around (39.400) at the Super Six Challenge in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Texas native finished in the top 10 in every event amongst some of the nation’s toughest competition.  Koncak was  tied for sixth on vault (9.850) and on the beam (9.850), tied for seventh on floor (9.875) and tied for ninth on bars (9.825). She helped the Sooners defeat then-No. 11 Oregon State and then-No 18 Denver, while finishing fourth in the competion that also featured top ten teams in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

In Canun, Mexico on January 2, her first collegiate meet, Koncak tied for first on the beam (9.875) and on the floor (9.925).  She also placed fifth on the bars (9.875) while finishing fourth (39.325) in the all-around at the Cancun Gymnastics Classic while competing against two other ranked teams.

She was also named Inside Gymnastics’ gymnast of the week for the South Region as announced on Wednesday, January 14 on their website, www.insidegymnastics.com.  Inside Gymnastics is an all-access feature magazine that covers all levels and areas of the sport of gymnastics.

Head Coach Steve Nunno has stated that this is one of OU's most decorated gymnasts since Kelly Garrison.  After the Super Six meet, Coach Nunno had this to say about the youngster:

“This is Brittney’s first real tough competition and she was out most of the fall and she is an incredible competitor,” Nunno said.  “When she comes out and sees a competition in front of her, she really goes after it.  It just shows why she is a top recruit and we are just happy she is on our team.”

So much for starting off the season lightly, OU came right out of the gates to face two top-25 opponents in their first meet and five others in their second meet.  So far, OU is 3-5 and still has to face off with five more teams currently ranked among the nation's best.

After this weekend, OU will face four ranked opponents in 13 days.  That stretch starts off with No. 4 Iowa State in Norman on February 1, followed by No. 8 Nebraska also at home five days later.  The Sooners then hit the road two days later to face No. 5 Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  It will be the second meeting this season between the squads, Georgia narrowly edged out OU at the Super Six (195.550-195-275). The Sooners then return home to take on No. 14 Stanford on Feb. 13.

OU started off the season ranked No. 13 in the preseason GymInfo poll.  Before the start of the season, coach Nunno had this to say about the schedule and early season rankings:

"This is one of the highest preseason rankings for us.  Obviously we would like it to be higher, but we will have to earn that right.  We face a very tough schedule this season, probably the toughest since I have been here.  Only time will tell how good we are because we face a lot of top ranked competition."

Fri. Jan. 23, 7 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 1 , 1 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 6 , 7 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 13, 7 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 7 , 3:30 p.m.

Complete Schedule

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.

LAST TIME OUT (At Super Six Challenge | 1/09/04)
The Sooners finished fourth with a team score of 195.275 at the Super Six Challenge on Friday at Coleman Coliseum in front of a crowd of 9,817.  No 3 Alabama (196.725) won the event, followed by No. 7 Florida (195.950) and No. 2 Georgia (195.550).  No. 11 Oregon State (193.775) and No 18 Denver (193.600) took fourth and fifth respectively.

“This is a performance that we were trying to capitalize on from the misses we had last week and we did that tonight,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “The girls have worked hard to get through the early season problems and now they are season competitors.”

Freshman Brittney Koncak continued her strong performance from Cancun last week winning the all-around with a combined score of 39.400.

“This is Brittney’s first real tough competition and she was out most of the fall and she is an incredible competitor,” Nunno said.  “When she comes out and sees a competition in front of her, she really goes after it.  It just shows why she is a top recruit and we are just happy she is on our team.”

The Sooners started off on the balance beam and came away with a 48.450 paced by Koncak’s 9.850.  Junior Erin LaBarr added a 9.750 for the Sooners. 

Going into the final rotation, Alabama (196.725) and Denver (193.600) concluded their performances and OU sat ahead of Oregon State (145.550) and trailed Florida (146.50) and Georgia (146.175).  Looking to finish fourth the Sooners delivered the best bar performance of the night with a 49.925.  Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo recorded the highest bar score of the evening nailing her landing and scoring a 9.925.  She was followed by Labarr who tied for second with her 9.900 score.

Team                Total
1. Alabama       196.725
2. Florida          195.950
3. Georgia         195.550
4. Oklahoma      195.275
5. Oregon State  193.775
6. Denver           193.600




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