March 10, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. - The OU women's gymnastics squad heads to Friday's regular season home finale ranked second in the country after posting the highest score in the NCAA this season in its 197.950-197.275 upset of top-ranked Alabama on March 5.
Oklahoma's program record team tally was the second highest score in the NCAA since Feb. 10, 2007. Only Georgia, winner of the last five national titles, has posted a higher result since the 2004 season. OU's team tally was more than a point higher than any other Big 12 squad this year.
The Sooners have a current regional qualifying score of 196.920, just behind the 197.155 average of the Crimson Tide. UCLA (196.900), Florida (196.685) and Georgia (196.615) round out the top five, respectively, in the latest rankings released earlier this week.
NCAA gymnastics rankings are tallied by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) which consists of a team's three highest road scores and the next three highest scores. The high score is subtracted from the six meet totals and the remaining five scores are then averaged.
OU is ranked in the top four on each apparatus, including the spot in the NCAA on beam. Coincidentally, the Big 12 announced Tuesday that the Sooners would start the 2010 Big 12 Championships on beam, in a double-blind draw conducted by the conference office.
|2010 Schedule and Results | Alabama Recap|
Individually, nine Sooners are ranked in the top 25 in the latest event rankings. Hollie Vise leads the country on beam and ranks second on bars. Fellow senior Jackie Flanery stands second in the country on floor, while sophomore Sara Stone leads Oklahoma on vault with her 14th-place ranking.
While it is difficult to fathom that a meet with so much billing could live up to its potential, OU's first victory over a No. 1 opponent in program history did just that...in front of a live television audience no less. Below are some additional notes from the historic victory:
OU head coach K.J. Kindler preached a fast start and the Sooners certainly responded. OU opened the meet with a 49.500 on vault, its highest score on the apparatus since March 1, 2002.
The squads combined to hit 47-of-48 routines. The lone miss of the night came from Alabama on its second to last routine of the meet.
Oklahoma did not count a score lower than 9.825 on any apparatus, including at least a 9.875 or higher on vault and floor.
The Sooners had just one score lower than 9.825 the entire night.
How good was the bars lineup from both squads? OU freshman Kayla Nowak posted a career-high-tying 9.825 and finished last.
OU couldn't have scripted a better close to the meet with its 49.625 on floor, its highest total on any apparatus under Kindler. Alabama All-American Morgan Dennis, the 2007 NCAA Floor Exercise Champion, anchored the Crimson Tide lineup with a 9.925 on the apparatus. The mark was tied by Megan Ferguson, Hollie Vise and Kristin Smith before Jackie Flanery clinched event honors with a career-high 9.975 that received a perfect 10.00 from one member of the judging panel.
The meet was televised live in the Oklahoma City metro area and Tulsa. It marked the first time in program history that OU or Alabama had been a part of a live television gymnastics broadcast.
Halfway score: 98.875-98.850 - the closet possible score between two teams that aren't tied. The Sooners led by just 148.325-148.250 after three rotations.
A program-record 2,529 fans were on hand to see the upset.
OU posted 12 routines of 9.9 or higher to the Tide's seven.
The Sooners set 11 career highs on the night including three by reigning Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week Hollie Vise (bars - 9.925, beam - 9.95, floor - 9.925). On vault, Brie Olson (9.9), Natasha Kelley (9.9) and Mary Mantle (9.925) posted career bests. Jackie Flanery (9.875) and Nowak (9.825) joined Vise with career highs on bars, while Nowak posted her second consecutive personal best of the night with a 9.85 on beam. Megan Ferguson (9.925) and Flanery (9.975) rounded out the night with career highs on floor.
Oklahoma won titles on vault, beam and floor despite entering the meet ranked behind the Crimson Tide on two of the three events. The two squads entered the meet tied for the top spot in the country on beam, where OU posted a 49.450-49.075 advantage on Friday.
It was the Sooners first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in program history. OU is now 4-0 against top-10 opponents this season, including three victories over top-10 ranked SEC foes.
Alabama's only individual event title came on bars as Kassi Price shared top honors with Vise. It was only the second meet this season the Crimson Tide have not had at least two individual event winners. It marked the first time this season that Alabama has not won multiple team event titles.
OU's team tally was the highest score by an Alabama opponent since Georgia posted a 198.000 on Feb. 12, 2007.