Sooners Return to the LNC on Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 17, 2009

Feb. 17, 2009

 No. 11 Oklahoma (3-3) vs. Brown, Missouri and West Virginia 
 Date & Time

 Friday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. CST | Meet Program

 Location  Norman, Okla. | Lloyd Noble Center
 Tickets  OU Ticket Office - (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU

 Flip For a Cause | Promoting Heart Health Awareness and the
 Go Red for Women campaign!

 Live Scoring  Webcast (with commentary) (All-Access) | Live Scores
 Directions  Campus Map
 Gymnastics Site  Brown | Missouri | West Virginia
 Meet Info  Meet Notes (PDF) Sooners


NORMAN, Okla. -
The 11th-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad returns to the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble Center on Feb. 20, hosting Big 12-foe Missouri, Brown and West Virginia in a quad meet slated to start at 7 p.m. (CT). 

It’s the Sooners “Flip for a Cause” meet in promoting Heart Health Awareness and the Go Red for Women campaign.  There will be free Red Dress Pins for the first 1,000 fans and the first 500 fans dressed in red or crimson will get an “I Love Oklahoma Gymnastics” t-shirt.  Tickets for the event can be purchased through the OU Ticket Office at (800) 456-GoOU.

Oklahoma is coming off of a 196.025-194.825 victory at 22nd-ranked Denver on Feb. 14.  The Sooners swept all four individual event titles (three outright), while snagging three team event honors against the Pioneers.  Kristin Smith won the beam title (9.9), while sharing top honors on floor (9.85) with teammate Jackie Flanery and Denver’s Amanda Johanson.  Flanery made sure Smith wasn’t the only one to walk away with a pair of honors for the Sooners, sharing the vault title with freshman Sara Stone (9.85).  Hollie Vise capped off the Sooner sweep with the bars title after a career-best-tying 9.9. 

OU holds the top RQS average of the four teams on all four events (tied for 10th on floor with Missouri). 

The Sooners defeated both Missouri and West Virginia twice last season, while their match-up with Brown is the first under third-year OU head coach K.J. Kindler. 

 Sooner to Watch 

 Hollie Vise | Jr. | UB - BB
After scoring a 9.875 on bars in three of her last four meets, Vise broke the streak with a career-high-tying 9.9 against Denver.

It was the fourth bars title of the season for the Dallas, Texas, native, who also shared the beam title earlier this year at TWU (9.925) with teammates Haley DeProspero and Megan Ferguson.


• MEET INFO            
Live scoring and a webcast with commentary (Oklahoma All-Access subscribers)will be available on  Following the meet, a complete recap, photos, video highlights and official scores will also be posted on the site, the official home of OU women’s gymnastics.

Friday, Feb. 20:
Iowa State vs. Minnesota (7 PM)
Oklahoma vs. Missouri, Brown and West Virginia (7 PM)

Sunday, Feb. 22:

Nebraska vs. Minnesota, N.C. State and UCLA (1 PM)

• DOMINATING THE BIG 12                                                                                        
The Sooners have reeled off an 11-2 record versus Big 12 opponents since the start of the 2007 schedule, including a 6-1 mark during regular season action. 

Prior to OU’s loss to Nebraska, its last regular season defeat to a conference opponent was Feb. 10, 2006, against Iowa State. 

• REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS                                                                                                          
Oklahoma has won 34 of its last 38 regular-season matchups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. 

• STILL NEAR THE TOP                                              
OU’s team tally of 197.175 at TWU on Jan. 17 is the second-best mark in the NCAA this season.  Only Georgia, winner of the last four NCAA Championships, has bested the Sooners’ score (197.250). 

• HOW THE TEAMS STACK UP                                                             
The Sooners lead the South Central Region on vault and beam, while standing second on bars and third on floor exercise. Competing in the same region, Missouri is third on vault, fourth on bars, fifth on beam and tied with OU for third on floor.

In the North East Region, Brown is sixth on beam and seventh on the other three events, while West Virginia
holds the third spot on three events in the South East Region and a fourth-place mark on beam.

PROTECTING THE HOUSE                                 
The Sooners are 14-1 in their last 15 regular season home meets.  Before Oklahoma’s loss to Arkansas earlier this season, its last home defeat before the postseason came at the hands of an Iowa State team that was coached by K.J. Kindler - OU’s current head coach.

SMITH AND FLANERY BOTH WIN TWO                                                                                             
Juniors Kristin Smith and Jackie Flanery both left Denver with a pair of titles against the Pioneers.  Smith nabbed her first event titles of the year, winning the beam title outright with a season-high 9.9 and sharing top honors on floor with Flanery (9.85).  Flanery also took home a share of the vault crown with Sara Stone (9.85).    

Of the 42 routines that have been competed by gymnasts making their first collegiate appearance on the respective apparatus in 2009, a remarkable 24 (.571) have gone for a 9.8 or better.  The respective group hit three routines at that mark in Denver after scoring a 9.8 or higher in 10 of the last 14 routines leading up to OU’s meeting with the Pioneers.

RACKING UP THE VAULT TITLES                                                                                                            
Sometimes overshadowed by fellow freshman Megan Ferguson’s strong start to the year, Sara Stone won a share of her fourth vault title of the young season at Denver with a 9.85.  The Dallas, Texas, native stands 25th on the apparatus in the latest RQS rankings (9.83), including a second-place spot in the Big 12 behind Missouri’s Sarah Shire.

ROAD SWEET ROAD                                                                                                                            
Posting a then-NCAA-best 197.175 in Denton, Texas, on Jan. 17, it appears that the road could be kind to the Sooners again this season.  Their top three scores have all come in road competition in 2009, after five of OU’s top seven scores (including three of the top four and a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas) came outside of Norman a year ago.

A TRUE TEAM EFFORT                                                                                                                                 
Oklahoma is one of only two squads ranked in the latest top-15 to not have an all-arounder in the top-25 RQS all-around rankings (No. 3 UCLA is the other). 

CONFERENCE ALL STARS                                                                                                                            
Oklahoma holds the top spot in the team RQS and in three of four event rankings (vault, bars and beam).  The Sooners are the only Big 12 squad to hold a 49-plus RQS rankings on any event (vault - 49.060).

FRESHMEN PHENOMS                                                                                                                         
OU’s Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have either led the Sooners outright or tied for the team event high on six occasions already this season.  Ferguson paced the Sooners on bars against Florida (9.85), tied for the beam crown against TWU (9.925) and shared top beam honors for the Sooners against Minnesota (9.875), while Stone’s 9.85 on vault at Denver shared the event title.  Stone also posted a team-high 9.875 against Arakansas, a week after sharing vault honors with Ashley Jackson at TWU.    

University of Oklahoma senior all-arounder Ashley Jackson was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 10.  It’s the first conference honor of the season for the Hudsonville, Mich., native who posted career highs on vault (9.925) and the all-around (39.375), capturing the two titles at No. 12 Nebraska on Feb. 8.

The weekly conference honor is the second of Jackson’s career, as she was also named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week the first week of February a year ago. The honor comes a week after fellow Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week.

Roster | Schedule | Notes | 2009 Media Guide | 2009 Intro Video

• THREE IN A ROW FOR VISE                                                                    
Hollie Vise won her third-straight bars title with a 9.875 against Minnesota on Jan. 30, and also picked up the event win on the apparatus at Denver (9.9).  Also earning a share of the win on beam against TWU, Vise has tallied five event wins during 2009 action.  The Dallas, Texas., native is well ahead of her pace last season, when she claimed seven titles on the year (four on bars, three on beam). 

• KINDER STEPS UP                                                                                                                                        
The fifth-year senior entered the year without a collegiate event title to her credit, but has already snagged a pair of titles on the young year.  Kinder’s lastest event crown came on bars against Nebraska, after a career-high 9.85.  The feat is even more remarkable considering Kinder hadn’t event competed on bars until this season.  The Kansas City, Mo., native also posted a career-high 9.9 on floor against Minnesota for her first collegiate victory.    

• ROOT GARNERS FIRST CONFERENCE HONOR                                        
University of Oklahoma gymnast Melanie Root was named co-Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week by the conference office on Feb. 3.  It’s the first conference honor for the Cartersville, Ga., native who tied career highs on vault (9.875) and bars (9.825) against No. 21 Minnesota en route to her first collegiate event title (vault).  Root shared the Big 12 accolade with Iowa State’s Ceilia Maccani, who scored a career-best 9.85 on beam and a 9.75 on vault in the Cyclone’s loss to Michigan.

• CAREER HIGHS FOR A PAIR                                                                                                                            
Along with Melanie Root’s career-high 9.875 on vault, Jessica Kinder posted a personal-best 9.8 on bars against the Golden Gophers.  Kinder, a fifth-year senior in the Oklahoma program, just started competing on bars in 2009.  The Kansas City, Mo., native has posted scores of 9.7 or better all three times on the appartus. 

• NATALIE’S NIGHT                                                                
While many Sooners had trouble on beam against the Razorbacks, the same cannot be said of Natalie Ratcliff.  The sophomore posted a 9.825 on the apparatus in just her second collegiate beam routine - a week after posting  a 9.875 on the event in her beam debut at TWU.   Ratcliff also posted a career-high 9.825 on vault for the Sooners against Arkansas.

• BUST OUT THE BROOMS                                                                                          
OU swept all individual and event titles against TWU, marking the first time this season that it had won every crown of the dual meet.  The Sooners swept all four team event titles seven times a year ago. 

• CAREER BESTS APLENTY                                                                                            
Nine Oklahoma gymnasts either set or tied a total of 12 then-personal bests against TWU on Jan. 17.  Below is a run-down from OU’s spectacular night:
Haley DeProspero (1): Beam - 9.925 | Megan Ferguson (3): Bars - 9.85, Beam - 9.925*, Floor - 9.775*
Jackie Flanery (1): Floor - 9.9 | Ashley Jackson (1): Floor - 9.95* | Natalie Ratcliff (1): Beam - 9.875*
Melanie Root (1): Bars - 9.825* | Kristin Smith (1): Floor - 9.9* | Sara Stone (2): Vault - 9.875*, Floor - 9.775*
Hollie Vise (1): Beam - 9.925*

* - Established new career best

• NATASHA KELLEY TO REDSHIRT                                                        
OU freshman Natasha Kelley will redshirt the 2009 season after an achilles injury sustained during the fall training period.  The Katy, Texas, native is Oklahoma’s most heralded recruit since NCAA Champion Kelly Garrison after spending 2004-2008 as a member of the US Elite National Team.  The ‘05 USA Elite Junior National champion (all-around, beam, floor) was also the silver medalist at the 2006 World Championships and ‘07 American Cup.

• MEET THE NEWCOMERS                              
OU gymnastics fans also will have their first chance to see OU’s freshman class of Megan Ferguson, Natasha Kelley, Sara Stone and Hailey Wagner in collegiate action at the Lloyd Noble Center in 2009.  While Kelley is redshirting the year after an injury during the fall, Ferguson and Stone are inked into the tentative starting lineup against Minnesota. Baylor transfer Julie Kramer also joined the Sooners over the summer and will provide depth to the vault lineup. 

OU’s 2008-09 recruiting class of Ferguson, Kelley, Stone and Wagner was the sixth-best group in the country, according to a Top-10 Women’s Recruiting Classes poll.  The Sooners ranked behind No. 1 UCLA and ‘08 NCAA Championships Super Six squads Georgia (second), Alabama (third), Florida (fourth) and Stanford (fifth).  Oklahoma was the only squad from the Big 12 Conference and South Central Region named to the list.

• THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR                                                          
The Sooners welcome back 18 routines from last season’s 2008 NCAA Championships. Below is an event-by-event breakdown of returners for the 2009 year that competed in Athens, Ga.

Vault (5): Flanery, Kinder, Jackson, DeProspero, Mantle
Bars (4): Mantle, Jackson, DeProspero, Vise
Beam (4): Kinder, Jackson, Vise, DeProspero
Floor (5): Smith, Kinder, DeProspero, Jackson, Flanery

• BOWLING INTO THE NEW YEAR                                                     
Although the gymnastics schedule was set months before the bowl lineups were announced, the OU gymnastics squad opened up its season slate with Oklahoma’s football bowl opponent for the second straight year.   The Sooners squared off with the Gator gymnastics squad on Jan. 9, less than 24 hours after meeting Florida in the BCS National Championship game.  Oklahoma and West Virginia met in the second session of the Cancun Classic in their season opener a year ago, a day after OU’s football squad faced the Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl. 

• OKLAHOMA INKS THREE TO 2009 CLASS                                                                                                      
Head Coach K.J. Kindler and the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad announced the signing of three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 12, the first day of the early signing period.  Oklahoma native Bethany Neubauer (Edmond, Okla.), Kayla Nowak (Algonquin, Ill.) and Brie Olson (St. Cloud, Minn.) will join the Sooners next fall.

• KIARA REDMOND NAMED TEAM MANAGER                                                                                                  
Former OU All-American Kiara Redmond has re-joined the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad as team manager for the 2008-09 season.  The appointment was announced Aug. 8 by head coach K.J. Kindler. Redmond, one of the most decorated gymnasts in program history, completed her eligibility last May after earning All-America honors on vault, beam, floor and in the all-around at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.

• SHOWING OFF THEIR SMARTS                                                                           
For the second consecutive season, five members of the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team earned National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches All-American Scholar Athlete Awards, the NACGC announced Aug. 6.
Haley DeProspero, Caitlin Hinkis, Jessica Kinder, Gina Lesko and Mary Mantle garnered Oklahoma’s accolades with Hinkis and Kinder both earning perfect 4.0 GPA’s for the academic year.  The pair was the only gymnasts in the Big 12 to notch 4.0’s during both semesters. OU recorded a team GPA of 3.25 for the year, up from last season’s 3.20.

• VISE AND COMPANY NAMED TO USAG HALL OF FAME                                                                             
University of Oklahoma gymnast Hollie Vise was named to the 2008 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as part of the 2003 U.S. Women’s World Championships Team, in a ceremony on June 22nd in Philadelphia, Pa., in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Trials.
The 2003 World Champion on bars, Vise was a member of the `03 squad that claimed the USA’s first world team title.

An International Elite gymnast since the age of 11, Vise was a two-time National Champion on bars and balance beam and won a silver medal in the all-around at the same competition on three occasions.
A member of the U.S. National Team for six years, the Dallas, Texas, native won two bronze medals at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Australia.

• A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR                                                                        
Last season proved to be a storybook year for OU women’s gymnastics as the team cemented itself as one of the program’s all-time best. Etching its name in the record books on multiple occasions, the Sooners clinched their first Big 12 title since 2004 in dramatic come-from-behind fashion and placed eighth at the NCAA Championships - tying the ‘07 squad for the best finish in program history at the season-ending event.  OU made its fifth-straight NCAA Championships appearance, adding to its program-record streak.  Prior to the current five consecutive showings, the Sooners hadn’t been in the field in back-to-back seasons in the 27-year history of the program.

The Sooners claimed a conference-leading nine spots on the 2008 Gymnastics All-Big 12 Team.  The Big 12 Conference awarded the top four Big 12 gymnasts with the highest regional qualifying score (RQS) in each event, excluding the all-around. Leading the way for OU was Kiara Redmond who earned a spot on vault, uneven bars, beam and floor exercise. The Los Angeles, Calif., native was the only Big 12 gymnast to garner four accolades. 

Vise was also a multiple winner, clinching a spot on both uneven bars and beam. Leading the Big 12 on beam (9.895), DeProspeo was named to the beam team while Jackie Flanery and Ashley Jackson were honored for their efforts on floor.



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