No. 9 Sooners Host No. 5 Iowa State On Sunday At 1 p.m.

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 29, 2004

Meet 5 vs. Iowa State
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004
1 p.m. CST
Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)

No. 9 OU vs. No. 5 ISU Preview
The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program continues the 2004 home portion of the season against Iowa State on Sunday, February 1, at 1 p.m. in the Lloyd Noble Center.

It is the Sooners first meet against a Big 12 school and the Cyclones are coming off a big win over another conference foe, Nebraska.   Iowa State had not defeated the Cornhuskers since 1997.  The Cyclones are the only school besides Nebraska to win the conference (2000) in the seven year existence of the Big 12.

So far this year, No. 5 Iowa State is averaging 196.725, with a high score of 196.950.  They also feature this week's Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, freshman Janet Anson.  Anson scored a 39.475 to win the all-around competition. She tied for first on bars (9.85), claimed second on vault (9.95), tied for second on floor (9.90) and took seventh on beam (9.825). Anson tied her career-score on floor and bars.

OU is currently 7-5 and ranked No. 9 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.219.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 23 Oregon State, No. 16 Denver, Southern Utah, Air Force (twice) and TWU (twice).  While suffering losses to five current top ten teams; No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia, No. 4 Florida, No. 8 Iowa and No. 10 Washington.

The last time out for the Sooners was successful as they rattled off a season high score on Saturday at home (197.150), only to top that the very next day at TWU with a 197.300.    OU is also ranked in the top 25 of every event, including the No. 1 ranking on the uneven bars, 8th on floor, 16th on beam and 25th on vault.

Shining in OU's two performances was senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo who won the all-around in both competitions and placed first in four other events.  Her all-around score on Friday night against Air Force tied the school record (39.675) previously set by Tamayo in 2002.  In addition, Tamayo scored new career highs on the vault (9.925) and tied her career high on bars (9.950) and floor (9.950).

Doors will open one hour prior to the meet and the first 250 fans will receive autographed posters and there will also be t-shirts thrown out during the meet.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children.  A group rate can be obtained 24 hours in advance for 10 or more people at $2 a ticket.  For more information, fans can call the OU ticket office at 800-456-GOOU.

LAST TIME OUT (vs. Air Force Academy | 1/23/04)
No. 21 Oklahoma was victorious in their home opener over the Air Force Academy (197.150-188.650) on Friday night in front of a record crowd of 1,475 at the Lloyd Noble Center.  Senior Kasie Tamayo tied the school record for the all-around, recording a 39.675 to win the overall event.

“It was really Kasie Tamayo’s night, she was on fire,”  said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “She tied the school record and that is the way she has been practicing this season and we knew this type of performance was going to come out eventually.  And it is really nice to see it this early in the season and at home and she is still improving.”

The Sooners improved to 4-5 with their highest team score of the year topping the previous mark set two weeks ago at the Super Six Challenge (195.275).  A big reason why OU was so successful against the Falcons was the performances of the three all-arounders, Tamayo, junior Erin LaBarr and freshman Brittney Koncak.

“This was are biggest crowd ever and that is what really motivates our team,” said Nunno.  “Like any place, you are performing at your best in front of large crowds and you also know ahead of time you need to be doing well."

Not only did Tamayo tie the school record in the all-around, which she previously held, but she also recorded career highs on the vault (9.925) and tied her uneven bars’ career high of 9.950.  Tamayo took first in every event except floor where last week’s Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, Brittney Koncak, scored a 9.925 for the top score of the evening.  The freshman continues to improve breaking her previous mark of 9.875 on bars with a 9.900 tonight and tying her floor and beam scores with a 9.925 and 9.875 respectively.  Koncak finished in the top five in every event.

Finally, LaBarr was solid again for OU as she too finished in the top five of every event, including third in the all-around with a new career high 39.450.  She also managed to record a new career high on beam (9.850) and tie her career high on floor (9.850).

Place  Team                        Total
1.      OKLAHOMA           197.150
2.      Air Force Academy    188.650

At TWU | 1/24/04
Back-to-back days of competition did not phase the University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team as they defeated Southern Utah (193.205), TWU (192.200) and Air Force (187.275) with a team score of 197.300, a season best for the No. 21 Sooners.  Friday night OU won their home opener over Air Force in front of a record crowd of 1,475 at the Lloyd Noble Center with a team score of 197.150.

“The was one of our best meets ever,” exclaimed Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “It was definitely one of our better meets in at this point in the season and that is really encouraging.  We were a little tired in warm-ups after competing on Friday night, but the girls really rallied and impressed us (coaches).”

Saturday night was much of the same story from Friday night in Norman, as senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo again led the team in the all-around with a 39.575.  Tamayo rattled off impressive scores on every apparatus, recording a 9.925 on vault, 9.925 on floor, 9.95 on bars and 9.875 on the beam.

“It was just a great team effort,” said Nunno.  “We used almost every athlete we had and they were having fun out there because they were on such a roll.  They really went after a good score tonight and showed the talent this team can display, we did not miss a routine tonight.”

Freshman Brittney Koncak was second behind Tamayo in the all-around, tallying a 39.550.  The Texas native scored a 9.90 on vault, 9.95 on floor, 9.775 on bars and a 9.925 on beam. Koncak recorded new career highs in every event except bars. Also recording high scores was OU’s other team captain, senior Leah Mueller who nailed a 9.95 on the uneven bars.  That was the Sooners’ highest event score, a 49.475.

On the floor exercise, the team scored a 49.400, a 49.200 on vault and a 49.225 on bars. 

Place   Team                Total
1.       OKLAHOMA   197.300
2.       Southern Utah    193.205
3.       TWU                 192.200
4.      Air Force            187.275

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member last week, freshman Ashley Cooney.  The Texas native has competed twice so far this year recording solid scores. 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.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team jumped 12 spots in the GymInfo poll this week to No. 9 after winning over Air Force on 1/23/04 and Southern Utah, TWU and Air Force the following day.  In addition, the Sooners are ranked No. 1 on uneven bars, it is the first time they have been ranked No. 1 on an event.

OU has scored better than their competition on bars in three meets this season and placed second in the other.  They are averaging 49.312, with the University of Washington a close second at 49.225.  Consequently, the Huskies are the only team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

Individually, two Sooners are ranked in the top ten in the nation on the uneven bars.  First is senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo who won two all-around titles over the weekend and posted two 9.950s on bars in those victories, tying her career mark.  Tamayo is fourth in the nation and is averaging 9.925 in the event.

Second is junior Erin LaBarr who was the 2003 Big 12 Champion on the apparatus, another all-arounder for OU.  She is ranked eighth and averaging 9.906, with a season high 9.925 score. 

So far this year, OU has come close to breaking the school record on the uneven bars of 49.550, established last season.  They started off the year with two scores of 49.225 at the Cancun Classic and Super Six and have improved since.  In the home opener against Air Force they recorded a  49.325 and followed that up the next day with a 49.475 at TWU.

The Sooners have never lost a home meet under head coach Steve Nunno, totalling up to 14 straight meets without a defeat.  That streak dates back to when Nunno was co-head coach with Becky Switzer in 2001.

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 competition 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 web site,  Inside Gymnastics is an all-access feature magazine that covers all levels and areas of the sport of gymnastics.

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.

“Working at the collegiate level again is an exciting experience for me,” Nunno said of his position. “I’ve been here before, but a lot has changed since then.

“It’s an exciting time to be at the university level again. I think women’s gymnastics is gaining momentum at OU and there’s a tremendous amount of excitement among the fans. I feel like I hit the ground running and the transition from club to university gymnastics was easy for me. We made our stand and now we are recognized as one of the nation’s elite teams. This year, we want to be better and start working our way to the top.”

Nunno’s extensive coaching expertise and international experience, which includes stints at all levels of the sport up to and including the Olympic Games, is having a positive effect on the OU squad.

Sooners' Home Schedule (Lloyd Noble Center)
Sun. Feb. 1 , 1 p.m. (Iowa State)
Fri.  Feb. 6 ,  7 p.m. (Nebraska)
Fri.  Feb. 13, 7 p.m. (Stanford)
Sun. Mar. 7 , 3:30 p.m. (TWU) Senior Night





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