April 12, 2003
NORMAN, Okla.- The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team just missed out on a berth to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season after finishing fourth in the South Central NCAA Championships Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Sooners were narrowly edged (.05 of point) by Auburn (196.350) and Central Michigan (196.350) whom finished behind regional champion Alabama (197.550). In 2002 the Sooners were edged out by Oregon State in Corvallis.
"We're disappointed," said OU Head Coach Steve Nunno. "We had some falls by a our key players that really hurt us. Allison Landis and Christina Gerard have been consistent all season and they just missed on their events tonight."
OU was trailing heading into the final rotation on beam. The Sooners put up a valiant effort and scored a solid 49.275, but it was just short of what they need to move into second place.
"The girls battled back tooth and nail," said Nunno. "They pulled us back in the mix and they really made their fans and coaches proud. Unfortunately, Central Michigan and Auburn were good enough to hold us off. I have to give them a lot of credit."
Senior Patrica Aoki led the Sooners on vault (9.875) and floor (9.85), where she posted team high scores. On bars Kasie Tamayo (9.825) and Erin LaBarr (9.875) put up solid scores, as did Leah Mueller (9.850).
After failing to post a score of 9.9 or better through the first three events, the Sooners were able to throw up a pair on beam. Landis made up for her rare miscue on bars with a beam score of 9.925, which was nearly matched by Kelly Haggerty's 9.9.
No Sooner individuals qualified to the NCAA Championships on one of the four events. Seniors Patricia Aoki, Leah Mueller and Christy Gerard competed in the crimson and cream for the final time in their respective careers.
"This is the end of the road for us," said Nunno. "We had every capability of making the NCAA's, but we couldn't get out of a very tough regional."