BATON ROUGE, La. The No. 1-seeded Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team won the NCAA Central Regional at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center tonight with a 196.375 score.
No.2-seed LSU (195.825) finished second, No.4-seed Penn State (194.900) came in third, No. 3-seed Kentucky (194.075) finished fourth, No. 5-seed Michigan State (193.750) was fifth and No. 6-seed Ohio State (193.000) came in sixth.
“We had a good meet tonight and I’m really proud of the way the team competed,” said head coach Steve Nunno. “Everyone had solid performances and really put out a lot of effort. We are excited to be heading to the National Championships.”
OU’s final team score was their fourth highest of the season and best mark since the squad posted a 196.575 versus Kent State on March 17. The Sooners also posted a 49.000 or higher on every event for just the second time this season.
Junior Brittney Koncak-Schumann, of McQueeney, Texas, tied for first in the all-around with LSU’s Kelly Phelan. Both gymnasts recorded a 39.400 while Kristen Coleman of Michigan State finished in second (39.125). Oklahoma freshman sensation Haley DeProspero came in a tie for fourth with Jennifer Orlando of Penn State at 39.100.
“Brittney (Koncak-Schumann) had another tremendous meet,” Nunno said. “She is really starting to come into her own and has been a great leader for the team.”
The top two teams from all six NCAA Regionals qualify for the 2006 NCAA Championship hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., on April 20-22. On Thursday, April 20, 12 teams will compete in hopes of moving to the “Super Six” on Friday, April 21.
The Sooners started the night on floor and came out hot posting a 49.200. Sophomore Kiara Redmond recorded a 9.9 to earn second-place honors and Koncak-Schumann finished in a tie for third (9.875). Junior Lori Winn posted a 9.825 and Kristen Cox and Ashley Jackson both tallied a 9.8.
Oklahoma moved to vault in the second rotation scoring a 49.050. Tiffany Willin and Koncak-Schumann both posted the top scores for OU (9.825) placing them in a tie for seventh. Three Sooners recorded a 9.8 to finish in a tie for ninth (DeProspero, Cox and Jackson).
The vault has been the Sooners’ best event this season. As a team, Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation on the apparatus and has recorded a 49.133 season average.
Oklahoma had a bye in the third rotation before heading to bars in the fourth. The Sooners finished with a 49.100 team score while Winn came in with a first-place finish (9.875) to the lead the Sooners. Koncak-Schumann posted a 9.85 for second and Stephanie LoPiccolo tallied a 9.825 for a fourth-place tie.
The 49.100 team score on bars was the team’s highest score since Feb. 10 versus Iowa State (49.125). The Sooners are ranked No. 14 in the country on the event and have recorded a 48.916 season average.
Following the fourth rotation, Oklahoma posted a 147.350 team score to take the lead. LSU was in second with a 147.175 and Kentucky third (145.375).
The Sooners concluded the night on beam posting a 49.025 team score. DeProspero was crowned individual champion with a 9.875 and Koncak-Schumann posted a 9.85 which placed her in a tie for second.
In its history, OU has advanced to the NCAA Championship only five prior times and tonight’s win marks the second regional victory for the Sooners (the team finished first at the 2004 West Regional in Corvallis, Ore.).
The last time OU saw action at the title meet was in 2005 when they finished 12th. The Sooners' other appearances were in 1985, 1989, 2001, 2004, 2005.
Under the tutelage of head coach Steve Nunno, it will be the third appearance to the NCAA National Championships for Oklahoma.
The Sooners will return to Norman and have two weeks off before competing in the National Championships on April 20-22 in Corvallis, Ore., at the Gill Coliseum.