Sooners Host TWU In Home Finale

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 04, 2004

Meet 10 vs Texas Woman's

Sunday, March 7, 2004 
3:30 p.m. CST
Columbia, Mo. (Hearnes Center)

No. 10 OU vs. Texas Woman's Preview
The  No. 10 Sooners host their final home meet of the season on Sunday, March 7, at 3:30 p.m. (CST) against Texas Woman's University.  The meet will mark the final appearance in the Lloyd Noble Center for three OU seniors: Kasie Tamayo, Leah Mueller and Karina Agafanova.

OU is coming off a tough loss that saw it build a lead after three rotations at Missouri, only to fall by 0.250 in the Big 12 regular season finale.  The Sooners (9-9) went 0-3 in the Big 12 this season, losing each of the meets by narrow margins.   They will travel to Iowa State on March 20 for the Big 12 Championships.

The Pioneers won their last time out against Air Force at home by a score of 194.600-193.675.  The defending USAG National Champions have struggled this year going 3-15 against numerous Division I programs.  They will face Arkansas and Southeast Missouri on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., before coming to Norman.

Head coach Frank Kudlac has produced seven national titles since 1992 at TWU and in last year's championship run the Pioneers featured nine all-americans.  They have had the task of replacing seven graduating seniors from last year's squad.  This season, the roster is composed of two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen.

OU is ranked No. 10 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.725.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 5 Stanford, No. 13 Oregon State, No. 22 Denver, Southern Utah (twice), Air Force (twice) and TWU (twice).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 10: No. 3 Alabama, No. 2 Georgia (twice), No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Iowa State, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 12 Washington, No. 16 Iowa and No. 18 Missouri.

Gates will open one hour prior to the meet and OU students are admitted free with a valid OU ID. Tickets are $5 per adult and $2 for children.  The first 250 fans will receive team photos, and an autograph session will be held after the meet.  Group rates can be obtained 24 hours in advance for 10 or more people ($2 per ticket) by calling the OU ticket office at 800- 456-GoOu.

The Sooners conclude the regular season with a trip to University Park, Pa., to take on current-No. 24 Penn State on March 13.

Complete Release | Season Statistics

Senior Night
Three OU seniors conclude their gymnastics careers at home this weekend when Kasie Tamayo, Leah Mueller and Karina Agafanova take the floor against TWU on Sunday.

Tamayo has been one of the Sooners most consistent performers throughout her OU career.  She is one of six Sooners to ever record a perfect 10.000, which she did on the balance beam in 2002.  That is a school record and so is her 39.675 in the all-around, which she recorded for the first time last season and tied that mark this year at home against Air Force.  Mueller joins Tamayo as one of six Sooners to record a perfect 10, she did so on the vault in 2002.  This season Mueller has been solid on the uneven bars scoring a 9.9 or higher on five occasions.  Agafanova's time at OU extends back to just last season but she has been a permanent fixture on the floor among other events for OU.  This season she recorded a career-high on the floor exercise with a 9.900.

Last Time Out (At Missouri | 2/29/04)
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team lost a heartbreaker in Columbia, Mo., on Sunday by falling 0.250 short of No. 14 Missouri’s 197.000. OU led after three rotations going into their final event but opened the door for Missouri having to count two falls on the balance beam.

OU came roaring out of the gates scoring their second highest vault tally of the season, a 49.225.  They also posted  a season-best 49.525 on bars and a 49.475 on floor.  However, OU’s 48.525 on the balance beam was its third lowest score on the season on the apparatus and it was also the only event the Sooners fell short on, Missouri recorded a 49.325.

“We had a great meet going into the last rotation and were looking like we might break the school record (197.725),” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “We just had a couple of mishaps on beam which is uncharacteristic for us and that ultimately buried us in the end.”

Despite the loss, senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo was dominant again winning her third consecutive and sixth all-around title this season.  Tamayo’s 39.650 was 0.025 short of the school record that she has posted on two occasions.  She also took first on the parallel bars, tying her career-high of 9.950 and in addition tied for first on the beam (9.950) and on the floor (9.950, ties career-high).

“Another great performance from Kasie and that is her third all-around title in a row,” exclaimed Nunno.  “Today might have been her best performance of the season.  She was very confident out there and very excited about every one of her routines."

The Sooners, ranked No. 2 in the nation on the uneven bars, posted a season-high 49.525 on the apparatus led by Tamayo’s 9.950.  Three other Sooners tied for second on the bars, senior co-captain Leah Mueller, freshman Ashley Cooney and sophomore Tara Anderson all scored 9.900.

Freshman Ashley Cooney has broken or tied a career high in every meet this season.  That includes her impressive performance at Missouri in which she recorded two new highs (9.925 on vault and 9.900 on uneven bars) and tied another (9.925 on floor).

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has been the Big 12 conference’s Gymnast of the Week twice this season.  The only other gymnast in the conference to do so is Iowa State's Erin Dethloff.

Tamayo won her third consecutive all-around title at Missouri.  She has now won six all-around titles this season and overall has finished first in the all-around and other four events 26 times.

“Kasie has been a model of consistency all season,”  said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “She is one of our team captains and Kasie has been proving that this year by setting the example in each competition.”

The Sacramento, Calif., native has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in eight out of ten meets this season.  She has won the all-around title six times this season and her average ranks her third in the nation, first in the South Central Region and first in the Big 12.  Below is a look at how Tamayo ranks in the five events in the nation, region and Big 12:

All-Around     Floor Exercise     Balance Beam      Uneven Bars     Vault      
National     4th t-13th t-8th t-4th nr
Regional 1st 3rd 2nd 1st t-13th
Big 12 1st 2nd 1st 1st 11th

For the second week this season, OU found itself ranked in the top 20 in every event and is now in the top 10 on bars and floor.  Not till last week did the Sooners' vault team crack the top 20.  It averages a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 49.095 and is ranked No. 17.

The Sooners remain in the top five on uneven bars, tied at the No. 2 spot (49.365) and are also No. 6 on floor (49.420) and No. 15 on balance beam (49.105).

Besides Tamayo, two other Sooners rank in the top 20 individually around the nation.  Senior co-captain Leah Mueller is No. 15 on the uneven bars while junior Erin LaBarr is ranked No. 18 on the same apparatus.

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics remained in the No. 2 spot in the nation on the uneven bars averaging a RQS of 49.365.  For six consecutive weeks, the Sooners have been ranked in the top five on the apparatus.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are not far behind the nation's best, just 0.045 below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA (49.410). 

OU has scored better than its competition on bars in eight meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring its 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.

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.  OU can finish above .500 this season with a win against TWU, they are currently 2-2 inside the Lloyd Noble Center.

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.

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. 8, averaging 196.795.  The Cyclones are followed by Oklahoma at No. 10 (196.725), Nebraska at No. 11 (196.625), Missouri at No. 18 (196.330).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

Overall Record     Big 12 Record     High Team Score    
Iowa State     8-0 3-0  197.625
Nebraska 8-2 2-1 197.750
Missouri 9-3 1-2 197.350
OKLAHOMA     9-9  0-3 197.300

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.  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 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.  In her second all-around competition against Stanford, Cooney took second with a career best 39.375 and won her first event, tied for first on the floor with a 9.925.

She won her second consecutive event at Southern Utah with a 9.900 on vault.  The streak continued as Cooney won the vault at Missouri with a 9.925 (career-high).  She also finished tied for second on bars with a 9.900 on bars and tied her career high on floor with a 9.925.

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.





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