April 16, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. – The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics season came to a close with a sixth-place finish after a team tally of 195.825 in the afternoon preliminary session of the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Neb., on Thursday.
Freshman Megan Ferguson won the programs 32nd All-America honor with a 9.9 beam routine. Her fourth-place finish on the apparatus resulted in the fourth year in a row that Oklahoma has had a gymnast garner All-America status, as Ferguson became OU’s first first-team All-American on beam since 2004.
“From the start you could tell we were just a little bit off today,” said OU head coach K.J. Kindler. “We didn’t warm-up the way we needed to after an outstanding practice session yesterday. I thought that we weren’t quite with it mentally or physically today which is disappointing.”
Oklahoma opened the meet on bars, the same rotation schedule the Sooners had at the Northeast Regional on April 4. OU didn’t count a fall, hitting five-of-six routines, but posted a team score of 48.675 after a few missteps. It marked Oklahoma’s lowest score on the apparatus since a Feb. 8 dual meet in this same building against Nebraska. Megan Ferguson paced the Sooners with a 9.8, while Ashley Jackson and Jessica Kinder stuck a pair of 9.75s.
The Sooners jumped right back in the mix after going six-for-six on beam en route to a team score of 49.125, capped off by Ferguson's 9.9. It was Ferguson's sixth straight routine of 9.8 or better on the apparatus for the Olathe, Kan., freshman who shared beam honors at the Big 12 Championships. Kristin Smith tallied a 9.85, while Natalie Ratcliff and Hollie Vise posted a pair of 9.8s.
“Our beam squad as a whole was much improved over recent showings,” added Kindler. “They tried to dig us out of a hole after our bad start on bars. I’m very proud of the way Megan Ferguson performed today. For a freshman to make event finals shows a lot about her ability and we’re excited to watch her perform on Saturday.”
Moving to floor, Oklahoma tallied a 48.975 that included a 9.825 from Jackie Flanery and three 9.8s from Jackson, Kinder and Smith.
OU capped off its season with a 49.050 on vault as Melanie Root and Sara Stone posted a pair of 9.85s. Flanery and Jackson were right on their heels, both scoring a 9.8.
Georgia (197.450), Florida (196.375) and LSU (196.325) advanced out of the first session to Friday’s Super Six Team Finals.
Ferguson will close the Oklahoma season on beam in Saturday night’s event finals at 6 p.m. (CT).
The 2009 NCAA Gymnastics Championships will air tape delayed at 1 p.m. (CT) on May 9, with Tim Brando and Amanda Borden announcing.