April 18, 2009

Individual Event Finals - Balance Beam
Megan Ferguson   
Alex LaChance
 Melissa Fernandez
 Grace Taylor  
                     Ashley Priess
Courtney McCool
Sarah Nagashima 
Courtney Kupets
 Ricki Lebegern
 Vanessa Zamarippa
Elise Wheeler

Kristina Baskett

Photos  Oklahoma Women's Gymnastics Schedule and Results

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LINCOLN, Neb. – University of Oklahoma All-American gymnast Megan Ferguson capped off OU's 2009 season with a share of seventh place in the individual event finals on beam at the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday.

"I was nervous as always, being out here with some great competition," said Ferguson. "It was a very different feeling not having my team with me out there, but they were yelling loud from the stands and I appreciated the support."

Ferguson posted a 9.8375 on the apparatus, highlighted by the addition of a back handspring onodi (e-level skill).

"Megan was competing one of the most difficult routines in the entire lineup and held her composure magnificently," said OU head coach K.J. Kindler. "She was one of only two freshmen to make finals on beam and she was a star out there gaining great experience moving forward."

Ferguson qualified for today's event finals with her fourth-place 9.9 on beam in Thursday's afternoon preliminary. It resulted in the programs 32nd All-America honor and marked 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 Kasie Tamayo earned that distinction in 2004.

Ferguson joined Tamayo and Kelly Garrison (1988) as the only three first-team All-Americans on beam in program history.  Kiara Redmond garnered second-team All-America status on the apparatus last season, marking the only other time OU has had an All-American on beam. 

Ferguson's preliminary session beam tally was the highest of any gymnast through five rotations until Courtney Kupets, Courtney McCool and Grace Taylor, all from the 2009 NCAA Champion Georgia Bulldogs, bested Ferguson's score in the final rotation.  

"I was glad I had the opportunity to represent OU tonight," said Ferguson. "Moving forward, I can use this as a learning experience on what it takes to compete at this stage. I mainly need to focus on just relaxing out there and remaining calm. You can always improve though and that's what I hope to do during the offseason."

It marked the fourth consecutive year that OU has qualified a gymnast into the individual event finals as Ferguson joined former Oklahoma gymnasts Kiara Redmond (2008-floor, 2007 - vault, floor), Brittney Koncak-Schumann (2007 - vault) and Stephanie LoPiccolo (2006 - bars).   

"It's always important that we have a gymnast representing OU in the event finals and Megan performed like the star we know she is capable of being," added Kindler.        

The 2009 NCAA Gymnastics Championships will air tape delayed at 1 p.m. (CT) on May 9, with Tim Brando and Amanda Borden announcing.   

The Sooners will hold their annual postseason banquet on Saturday, May 2, at noon, inside the Kerr McGee Courtside Club at the Lloyd Noble Center.  For tickets, please contact Tara Anderson at (405) 325-8200.