OU Women's Gymnastics Team To Face Illinois-Chicago

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 19, 2000

Jan. 19, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team will meet the University of Illinois at Chicago this Saturday. The meet is set to begin at 7 p.m. in Chicago, Ill. at the Physical Education Building. The Sooners last met U.I.C. a year ago, when the OU defeated the Flames 194.925 to 188.875 in a tri-meet with Texas Woman's University.

OU senior Amber McCracken led the squad past U.I.C. last season. She tied the OU record on the vault and set a personal best (9.950) for a first-place finish. Malia Carr, one of five Oklahoma seniors, set a career record for her win on the floor with a score of 9.900, while junior Nicole Tycer won the beam competition. Oklahoma looks to move their 2000 season record to 2-0 after the team defeated Texas Woman's University last Sunday 191.425 to 188.150.

Illinois' Gabriella Brunn returns to the Flames as one of three seniors. She was the only U.I.C. gymnast to finish in the top three in any event against the Sooners last season. Brunn vaulted her way to 9.725 finishing behind McCracken and OU sophomore Mariana Goncalves. She also finished third in the floor competition. Illinois-Chicago's record moved to 0-2 this season after the squad suffered their first defeat against Illinois in its home opener and then finished third behind Ball State and West Virginia in the Cardinal Classic in Muncie, Ind.

The University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team will travel to Chicago, Ill. to meet Illinois-Chicago Saturday at 7 p.m. The Sooners look to move their 2000 record to 2-0 against the Flames. Oklahoma last met UIC a year ago, when the Sooners defeated the Flames 194.925 to 188.875.

Illinois-Chicago will host Oklahoma looking to pick up its first win for the 2000 season. Junior Sara Casica will lead this veteran cast of 14 gymnasts. UIC was dealt a home loss as its opened its season against Illinois. The Flames suffered their second defeat of the early season in the Ball State Cardinal Classic in Muncie, Ind. The team road a strong performance on the parallel bars to finish in third place finish behind Ball State and West Virgina. Casica finished the top all-around performer for UIC with a 38.100.

With all the experience in this year's lineup, Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad started the season on a positive note. The Sooners defeated Texas Woman's University last Sunday 191.425 to 188.150. This was the first of three meetings between these two teams.

Senior Amber McCracken, captain of the Oklahoma squad, won the all-around against T.W.U. with a score of 38.875. McCracken claimed nine of 14 all-around titles last season for the Sooners.

McCracken dominated the competition winning the vault (9.875) and floor (9.725) events. She is listed as the No. 5 vaulter in the country by the Jan. 18 national poll. McCracken is without a weak event and was one of OU's top performers last season. In 1999, she placed first on the vault five times and set career highes on the uneven bars (9.925) and in the all-around (39.575). McCracken also was named 1999 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year and received three Big 12 Gymnast-of-the-Week awards.

Reshirt freshman Leticia Ishii and newcomer Patricia Aoki showed their international flair in their first NCAA collegiate competition against Texas Woman's. Ishii placed in the top three in four events, while Aoki picked up her first uneven bars title (9.650).

The Sooner lineup is beginning to see rays of light after injuries sustained several gymnast during the preseason. Oklahoma looks to return sophomore Tracey Stuart and freshmnan Carley Smith for the OU/UIC meet. Veteran senior Malia Carr is expected to return for the Sooners home opener Jan. 28 against T.W.U.

Stuart started the 1999 season strong competing in the vault and floor events for the Sooners hitting her career high on the vault (9.650) and floor (9.850). She was forced to sit out of competition for the last half of the season due to knee injury. Smith, 1998 Texas State Champion, came to Oklahoma battling back problems which enabled her to compete for her first collegiate gymnastics competition. Carr excelled on the vault, uneven bars and beam events. She set career highs on the vault (9.825) and the floor (9.900) in 1999.



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