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Closer Glimpse at OU Senior Trio
March 05, 2008

March 5, 2008

NORMAN, Okla. - As the University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad (15-0) welcomes No. 11 Auburn to the Lloyd Noble Center on Friday for Senior Night at 7 p.m., SoonerSports.com sat down with OU's three seniors to chat about a variety of topics including gymnastics, career aspirations and little-known tidbits about the trio.


SoonerSports - "You guys are off the best start in program history.  What goals do each of you have in closing out the 2008 campaign?"

Caitlin Hinkis - "I want to continue coming back from my injury, so I can contribute to the team lineups in all ways possible. I want to join my teammates in becoming Big 12 Champions. I hope to continue being a team leader/motivator and let the nation see the Sooners' maximum potential. Ultimately, I want to end my career qualifying to the Super Six.

Stephanie LoPiccolo - "Personally, I would like to be a Big 12 Event Champion.  Like Caitlin mentioned, for the team it would be to achieve our best score possible and to place in the top six at the National Championships."

Kiara Redmond-Sturms - "Closing the '08 Season, I am looking to go out with a team that has reached the goal of being Big 12 Champions and placed fourth at the NCAA Championships. For myself, it would be Big 12 all-around title and at least in the top four in the all-around at NCAA's. 
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SoonerSports - Why did you choose the University of Oklahoma?

Redmond-Sturms - "I chose Oklahoma because I wanted to experience a college town. In California, every college is usually built around or in a huge city. There is always something going on in or around it and it takes away from the whole university atmosphere."

Hinkis - "I chose Oklahoma because of the superior level of athletics combined with excellence in academics. I wanted the complete package that would cater to me as an athlete and cater to me in pursuing my future ambitions."

LoPiccolo - "I had no idea that college sports even really existed until Peggy Liddick (the Austalian head coach of women's gymnastics) suggested that I should apply to an American university. Unable to come on a recruiting trip, I spoke to many coaches from different U.S colleges. Based on my conversations with them, I really felt that OU was the place for me. The coaches were incredibly helpful and friendly, and they made me feel as though they would take great care of me being so far away from home."
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SoonerSports - How has the program changed since your freshman year?

Hinkis - "The program has flourished. The coaching staff has taken its athletes, assessed their potential and saw to it that the potential would be unveiled. A new era in Oklahoma gymnastics has dawned and I foresee a bright, promising future."

Redmond-Sturms - "The new coaching staff has held us all to a very high standard. They set the bar high their first season with the program and this year we have set it even higher. The coaches have worked extremely hard, putting in numerous hours into making OU gymnastics successful and will continue to do so."
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SoonerSports - What is the best thing about being an OU athlete?

LoPiccolo - "I feel so grateful to have been offered a scholarship at OU. It has been an amazing experience and I have met some really incredible people. There are so many resources made available to the student-athlete and OU has provided me with the best support in numerous ways. The memories that I have as an OU student and gymnast will remain with me for a lifetime."

Hinkis - "OU provides the opportunity to be surrounded by the elite athletes in the nation, while pursuing my own personal athletic and academic goals. Oklahoma is untouchable in terms of school spirit and tradition, and it is exactly where I was meant to be."

Redmond-Sturms - "The best part of being an OU athlete is the connections you make with other athletes, traveling the country to compete and making so many priceless memories."
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SoonerSports - What are your plans after this season comes to a close?

Redmond-Sturms - After this year, I plan to go to the Art Institute in Tennessee and then to start my surf clothing line. I am going to be traveling a lot first though, surfing around the world!"

LoPiccolo - "I plan to graduate in May `09. In the meantime, I just want to enjoy my final year of college in the U.S as much as I can. After I graduate, I plan to return back to Australia and apply to Nursing school."
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SoonerSports - What is something that the general public doesn't know about you?

Hinkis - "The general public may not know that my glowing paleness is all natural, no tanning beds necessary!"

Redmond-Sturms - "I doubt that too many people know that I have six tattoos."
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SoonerSports - What has been your most memorable moment as an OU gymnast?

LoPiccolo - "Being the Big 12 Champion on the uneven bars in 2006 and claiming All-America honors on that same event at the National Championships that same year."

Hinkis - "Being a part of something larger than myself. Working hard together, to succeed together. Inspiring people who inspire me."

Redmond-Sturms - "Besides my two perfect 10's, it would be last season when we placed eighth at NCAA's, the highest finish ever for OU."
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SoonerSports - What has been your favorite moment while in college outside of competition?

LoPiccolo - "I would have to say that my favorite moment was living in the athletic dorms with former Sooner gymnast Coral Borda and Caitlin. We shared countless memories together, most of which I would have to say were funny ones that still make me laugh today. In the beginning, Coral didn't speak a word of English so I helped her out a lot. Occasionally when she speaks, she will use some of my Australian lingo which is really funny."

"Caitlin and I are the only two girls from our entire freshman class of eight that have made it through all four years. We have supported each other through the good times and the bad and we have developed a friendship that will last a lifetime."

Redmond-Sturms - "My favorite moment outside the gym is when the team's flight was re-routed to Houston last season from our meet at Alabama due to weather and then we decided to drive to Oklahoma. It was supposed to be a seven hour drive and all of us were split into two vans. KJ (Kindler) was driving and it was an experience I will never forget! We were a few hours outside of Norman and we had to stop because the roads were iced completely. We stopped at the only hotel in town, which had no vacancy, and we had to sleep in the arcade with the arcade game music and 80's music on the radio blaring all night! It was truly an unforgettable moment!"

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