April 16, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - Despite a third-place team finish at regionals two weeks ago, the Oklahoma women's gymnastics team qualified two indivudials for the NCAA Championships on April 18-20 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Senior Mariana Goncalves and sophomore Kasie Tamayo will compete in the all-around at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at the Coleman Coliseum on the campus of the University of Alabama.
Goncalves, who ended the season ranked third in the all-around, will rotate with Alabama. They begin competition on the floor exercise after a bye. Tamayo, ranked 10th, will rotate with Oregon State beginning on the floor exercise. Other session II teams include Minnesota, Florida, Stanford and UCLA. Teams competing at 1 p.m. include Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Arizona, Utah and Nebraska. The top three teams from each session will advance to the team finals on Friday at 7 p.m.
"We expect them to do what they've been doing all season long," said OU head coach Steve Nunno. "Mariana (Goncalves) is such a fantastic performer and she has experience and maturity. We're looking for both her and Kasie (Tamayo) to be All Americans in the all-around. I think individually, Mariana has a good shot on the uneven bars, while Kasie will have a good chance to finish high on the balance beam."
The all-around awards will be determined on Thursday night, with the top eight finishers being named All Americans. Oklahoma has not had an All American since Cassie Frey earned the honor on the bars in 1989. If either gymnast finishes in the top eight on the individual events, they will advance to the finals on Saturday, April 20, at 7 p.m.
"I couldn't have picked two better people to represent the University of Oklahoma this week at nationals," added Nunno."
The Sooners went to nationals as a team last year, finishing in 10th place. Live coverage of the 2002 NCAAs will be available on Alabama's website, www.rolltide.com.