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No. 8 OU Takes on Central Michigan
January 10, 2008

Jan. 10, 2008

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Fresh off its title at the season-opening Cancun Classic, the No. 8 OU women's gymnastics squad travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas at 6 p.m. (CST) inside Rose Arena.

The Sooners opened the 2008 competition slate in grand fashion, defeating No. 22 West Virginia, Iowa and UW-Whitewater in Cancun, Mexico on Jan. 4.

Oklahoma (3-0) all-but sealed the victory in the third rotation after scoring a 49.425 on beam, which tied the second-highest score in program history on the apparatus.

Senior All-American Kiara Redmond-Sturms took home the seventh all-around title of her OU career at the event, while Ashley Jackson finished third in her first collegiate all-around competition.

Central Michigan opens its 2008 season against Oklahoma after going 16-10 last year. The Chippewas return nine of 11 letterwinners from a squad that finished third in the Mid-American Conference under Jerry Reighand who enters his 23rd year at the helm of the CMU gymnastics program.

Live scoring will be available at www.SoonerSports.com.

Meet NotesLive Scoring | Roster | Schedule | Stats

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
New for 2008, junior Haley DeProspero will give OU gymnastics fans a glimpse into life on the road for the Sooner squad through her blog that will be featured on SoonerSports.com during every road event.

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THE BEAM DREAM TEAM
Oklahoma posted a staggering 49.425 score on beam at the season-opening Cancun Classic. The mark tied the second-highest score in program history and was the highest by an OU beam team since April 3, 2004.

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A CAREER NIGHT
Numerous Oklahoma gymnasts either tied or posted career bests at the season opener. Haley DeProspero's 9.925 on beam tied her career high. Hollie Vise set a career best on beam (9.875). Redmond-Sturms matched her career best on floor (9.925). Rounding out the career best's was Kristin Smith's 9.850 on beam.

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AT THE ROOT OF THINGS
Freshman Melanie Root jumped into the starting lineup, competing on vault and floor in Mexico. The Cartersville, Ga., native posted a 9.700 on floor, the Sooners third-best score in the event.

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CANCUN CLASSIC RECAP

Jan. 4, 2008

CANCUN, Mexico -The No. 8 OU women's gymnastics team rang in the new year in style with a season-opening win over Iowa, West Virginia and Wisconsin Whitewater at the Cancun Classic, held at the Hilton Golf and Beach Resort in Cancun, Mexico.

The Sooners swept all four event titles to best second-place Iowa 195.175 to 192.875. No. 22 West Virginia finished third with a team total of 192.125 while Wisconsin-Whitewater rounded out the competition at 181.550.

Senior All-American Kiara Redmond-Sturms took home all-around honors after winning three-of-four individual event titles, highlighted by a career-best-tying 9.925 on the floor. Junior Ashley Jackson tied for third in the first all-around competition of her career.

"Anytime you come out with a victory it builds confidence for the rest of the season," said head coach K.J. Kindler. "At this point of the season, confidence is what they need and tonight's victory will benefit us as we move forward throughout the rest of our season."

Along with the colder-than-normal temperatures that have welcomed the Sooners during their stay in Cancun, OU took some time to heat up for the capacity crowd, finding themselves in second place after their 48.225 first rotation on vault.

The Sooners pulled away on the uneven bars, winning the title with a 48.750 mark, and never trailed again.

In all, the Sooners won three event titles outright (vault, bars, beam) and tied for top floor honors to complete the sweep.

Oklahoma swept the beam standings after a team total of 49.425, tying its highest score since April 3, 2004 and marking the second-best beam score in OU history. Junior Haley DeProspero stood atop the podium after tying her career best at 9.925. Senior All-American Stephanie LoPiccolo was second at 9.900. Sophomore Hollie Vise and Redmond-Sturms capped off the sweep with a pair of 9.875s to tie for third.

"Today is a day that you dream of as a beam coach," said Kindler. "I don't think we had one wobble and counted very little in deductions on landing. This is what they have trained for, know they are capable of and to come out and display it like we did tonight, you know we are going to have a great beam team this season."

Ending the night on floor, the Sooners finished with a 48.775 to clinch the win.

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KINDLER SIGNS THREE FOR 2008
The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team posted its best finish in NCAA history last spring and recruits are taking notice. Head coach K.J. Kindler announced one of the most decorated classes in OU history during the early announcement period, signing three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent. Megan Ferguson, Natasha Kelley and Sara Stone will join the Sooners in the fall of 2008.

"We feel that this signing class will be instrumental in the future of the Sooner Gymnastics Program," said Kindler. "Megan, Natasha and Sara bring with them numerous accolades including many National titles both in the Elite arena and at the Junior Olympic level. All three of these women have displayed an absolute desire to be Sooners and we salute their enthusiasm for the University and our program."

Ferguson, a Level 10 from Blue Valley High School in Olathe, Kan., trains at Eagles Gymnastics, the former club of current OU gymnast Jacqueline Flanery. Ferguson was two-time Junior Olympic Nationals beam champion and five-time J.O. Nationals qualifier. She has dominated state competition, winning the level 10 all-around title in 2005, `06 and `07 while sweeping every individual event honor all three seasons as well.

Kelley enters the OU program as a four-time U.S. National Team member. The senior elite gymnast from Katy, Texas, has found success on both the international and national stage, finishing second in the all-around of the 2006 Visa Championships, after capturing the all-around title a year prior in the junior division of the Visa Championships. In her `06 Visa Championships runner-up finish, Kelley finished second on the uneven bars and beam, and fourth on the floor exercise. Kelley shared all-around honors at the 2006 U.S. Classic, placing first on the uneven bars, second on vault and fourth on beam and floor. At the 2007 Visa Championships, Kelley finished 10th in the all-around after placing sixth on the beam and ninth on the uneven bars. On the International stage, Kelley won the all-around title at the 2007 Houston International Invitational, placing first on the beam, floor, uneven bars, and second on the vault. The 17-year old placed second at the 2007 Tyson American Cup and fourth in the all-around of the `07 USA vs. Great Britain International Competition in Lisburn, Ireland. She also captured all-around titles at both the `05 Junior Gymnastics Competition in Yohohama, Japan, and the Olympiad Elite in Ensenada, Mexico, a year prior. Kelley helped the U.S. squad to a silver medal at the 2006 World Championships as a finalist on floor.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Stone is a member of Metroplex Gymnastics where she is coached by Bryan Streeter, Dave Marus, and Jana and Marcus Harlin. The Spring Creek Academy senior and junior elite gymnast is a two-time qualifier for the U.S. Classic. She won the all-around title at the 2005 Metroplex Challenge and won the beam title at the 2006 level 10 Texas state competition.

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