No. 11 Sooners Entertain No. 7 Stanford Friday At 7 p.m.

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 11, 2004

Meet 7 vs. Stanford
Friday, Feb. 13, 2004
7 p.m. CST
Norman, Okla. (Lloyd Noble Center)

No. 11 OU vs. No. 7 Stanford Preview
The  No. 11 Sooners face their fourth straight top 10 opponent on Friday, Feb. 13, when No. 7 Stanford comes to the Lloyd Noble Center for a  7 p.m. meet.

OU is looking to rebound after dropping three straight meets over the past eight days.  Friday's meet features two of the nation's best teams on the uneven bars.  Both Oklahoma and Stanford are ranked among the top five in the country on the apparatus.

Stanford is coming off its second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance under head coach Kristen Smyth, who is currently in her third season.  Stanford is led by a core of five seniors in addition to two juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen.

Stanford lost its last meet to UCLA, the defending national champions.  The Bruins defeated the Cardinal 197.975-196.425 in the Pac-10 battle. Stanford was led by sophomore All-American Natalie Foley, who finished third in the all-around with a score of 39.550.

OU is currently 7-8 (0-2 Big 12) and ranked No. 11 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.135.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 19 Oregon State, Denver, Southern Utah, Air Force (twice) and TWU (twice).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 20; No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia (twice), No. 5 Iowa State, No. 6 Florida, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 9 Iowa and No. 18 Washington.

In their last two meets, the Sooners have been solid with scores of 196.350 and 196.225 against some of the nation’s best teams, No. 8 Nebraska and No. 3 Georgia.  Against Nebraska, OU recorded a season-high on floor, 49.525, and tied  a season-high on the beam against Georgia with a 49.250.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo won all five events against Nebraska in Norman last Friday and was just 0.025 short of tying her school record of 39.675 in the all-around, a mark she has set twice in her career (once this season).

Doors will open one hour prior to the meet and the first 250 fans will receive OU pom-pons.  Students get in free with a valid OU ID.  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 per ticket.  For more information, fans can call the OU ticket office at 800-456-GoOU.

After seven meets last season, the Sooners were averaging 195.307.  After the same amount of competition this season, they are averaging  nearly a point higher, 196.135. 

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has been the leader in competition this season for the Sooners winning the all-around title on three occasions.  She was named the Big 12’s Gymnast of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday, Feb. 10.  She was also named Inside Gymnastics’ gymnast of the week for the midwest region as announced on Wednesday, Feb. 11.  Inside Gymnastics is an all-access feature magazine that covers all levels and areas of the sport of gymnastics.

On Friday, Feb. 6, Tamayo won the all-around against current No. 8 Nebraska by posting a score of 39.650 at home, just 0.025 shy of the school record that she has recorded twice in her career, once this season. 

For the second time this season the California native won or tied for first place in all four individual events.  Against the Cornhuskers Tamayo rattled off scores of 9.850 (vault), 9.900 (uneven bars), 9.950 (balance beam) and 9.950 (floor exercise).  Tamayo achieved that feat for the first time this season also at home versus Air Force on Jan. 23.

In Athens, Georgia, on Feb. 8, Tamayo fell just 0.250 points short of winning her second consecutive all-around title.  Her 39.450 ranked her second in the competition against current-No. 3 Georgia.  Tamayo also managed to come away with her 19th first place finish of the season, as she won the balance beam recording a 9.950 (fifth title this season on beam).

Tamayo has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in five out of seven meets this season, averaging 39.321.  She has won the all-around title three times this season and her average ranks her fifth in the South Central Region and in the Big 12.  Tamayo's 19 first place crowns in events this year are as follows; all-around (3) uneven bars (5), balance beam (5), floor exercise (4) and vault (2).

Vs. Nebraska | 2/06/04
Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo shined on Friday night at the Lloyd Noble Center winning every event including the all-around but the No. 10 Sooners could not top No. 9 Nebraska, falling 196.600-196.350. 

The Sooners (7-7) started off slow on vault with a 48.850 but finished strong turning in their highest score of the season on the floor exercise with a 49.525.  That mark was a season-high and just fell short of the school record of 49.675.

OU split with Nebraska on the team events winning the vault (48.850-48.800) and the floor exercise (49.525-49.250). However, the No. 1 uneven bars team in the nation lost to the Cornhuskers (49.325-48.775) and was also narrowly defeated on the balance beam (49.225-49.200).

Tamayo was stellar again for OU as she topped the leaderboard in every event.  She won the all-around scoring a 39.650, just 0.25 shy of tying the school record (her own) which she matched earlier this season against Air Force at home.  She tied for first on vault with a 9.850 and was matched by her teammate, freshman Tiffany Willin (first career first place finish).  Tamayo, the No. 4 competitor on the uneven bars in the nation scored a 9.900 and again tied for first with fellow captain, Leah Mueller and two Cornhuskers (Tami Harris and Kristi Esposito).

In her final two events, Tamayo earned sole possession of first place, scoring 9.950s on both the balance beam and floor exercise, tying her career-high on the floor.   Sophomore Katie Hostler was right behind Tamayo on the floor with a 9.925 (tied career-high).  In addition, senior Karina Agafanova and freshman Ashley Cooney were tied for third on the floor with 9.900s, both career-highs.

Other top-five finishes for the Sooners included the following: sophomore Tara Anderson tied for third on beam (9.875, career-high), Cooney scored another career high on beam with a 9.850, sophomore Melissa Smith tied a career high on bars (9.850, tied for fifth) and junior Erin Labarr took a fourth place tie on the vault with a 9.800.

At Georgia | 2/08/04
The No. 10 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team won on the uneven bars and balance beam but that was not enough to defeat No. 2 Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, falling 196.900-196.225.  Senior co-captain was solid again for OU, taking first on the balance beam (9.950) and second in the all-around (39.450) just two days after winning every event at home against No. 9 Nebraska.

“This meet came down to the wire,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “For us to hang with the No. 2 team in the nation down to the last competitor shows that we belong in the top-ten.  This was a productive trip and I think the girls realize how good they are and that there is still room for improvement.”

The No. 1 bars team in the nation rebounded from a tough performance on Friday against Nebraska by winning the team event over the Bulldogs on Sunday (49.075-48.825).  The Sooners also won the balance beam with a 49.250 performance, topping Georgia and its 49.225 score.

Despite a strong OU showing on vault, Georgia won that event (49.275-48.850) as well as the floor exercise (49.475-49.050).

“We started off on bars today which was our nemesis on Friday,” said Nunno.  “We had a fall but then the girls rallied from there and really got things going on the vault after that.  We hit six vaults in-a-row which we have not done all year in that event, which has typically been our worse apparatus.  Our beam routine was great with three of the better performances I have seen coming out of Kasie, Tara (Anderson) and Ashley (Cooney) and floor was solid too.”

Freshman Ashley Cooney made her first appearance in the all-around this season for OU, and took third with a 39.200.  Cooney rattled off scores of 9.750 (vault), 9.775 (bars), 9.825 (beam) and a 9.850 on the floor exercise.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics remained in the top five in the nation on the uneven bars averaging 49.211.  For two consecutive weeks, OU was No. 1 before falling to No. 5.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are not far behind the top spot, just 0.51 below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA is No. 1 (49.262).  The Bruins are followed by Florida (49.250), Stanford (49.250) and Alabama (49.235).

OU has scored better than their competition on bars in five meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring their opposition.  The Washington Huskies are the only other team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

Individually, Kasie Tamayo is averaging 9.907 on the uneven bars, an average that ranks fifth in the nation, first in the south central region and first in the Big 12.  Before the meet at Georgia, Tamayo had posted no lower than a 9.925 in five straight meets on the apparatus.  Included in that streak is the two 9.950s on bars in the wins over Air Force at home and at TWU, tying her career mark. 

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.

The Sooners' home loss on Feb. 1, against Iowa State was the first home defeat under head coach Steve Nunno.  The following week another top 10 team, Nebraska, knocked off OU at home.  Prior to those losses, OU had won 14 straight meets without a defeat.  That streak dated back to 2001 when Nunno was co-head coach with Becky Switzer.

Early into the season, Iowa State has defeated everyone in the conference and sits atop the standings at 3-0.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska (2-1), Missouri (0-2) and Oklahoma (0-2).  Nationally, Iowa State is the highest ranked Big 12 school at No. 5 averaging 196.660.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska at No. 8 (196.300), Missouri at No. 10 (196.180) and Oklahoma at No. 11 (196.161).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

The Sooners are the best bars team in the conference and Kasie Tamayo holds the best individual average.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member before its home opener with Air Force on Jan. 23, freshman Ashley Cooney.  The Texas native has competed in every meet since and her scores have improved each competition.  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.  Against Iowa State, she competed for the first time on the balance beam (9.275) and recorded a 9.875 on the floor exercise.  This past weekend she recorded new career highs on every event but vault.  Against Nebraska, Cooney scored a 9.850 on beam and 9.900 on floor.  Against Georgia, she competed for the first time on uneven bars and recorded a 9.775 and also had a 39.200 in her first all-around competition, good for third place.

Freshman gymnast Brittney Koncak, the Sooners’ top performer in two meets this season, will miss the remainder of the campaign due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. OU head coach Steve Nunno made the announcement on Feb. 3. Koncak suffered the injury in practice last week and missed the Feb. 1 competition against Iowa State. An MRI on Feb. 2 confirmed the nature of the injury. A surgery date has not yet been scheduled.

In her last two competitions against Air Force at home and at Texas Woman’s University, Koncak finished second both times in the all-around and in the top five of every event.

Koncak earned the Big 12’s first 2004 Gymnast of the Week honor, as announced by the conference on Tuesday, January 13.  She was also named Inside Gymnastics’ gymnast of the week for the South Region as announced on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Sunday, March 7 vs. Texas Womans' University at 3:30 p.m. (Senior Day)




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