March 20, 2003
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The Oklahoma women's gymnastics team jumped up to No. 9 in the most recent GymInfo poll thanks to a set of high scoring victories over No. 18 Arizona and No. 1 UCLA. OU now travels to Palo Alto, Calif., where it will face the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal Saturday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. (PST). OU will attempt to extend its win streak to eight meets and complete the sweep of the Pac 10 trio.
Remarkably, OU had a better meet against No. 18 Arizona than when it knocked off the top ranked Bruins in the UCLA Invitational. Individually, OU tied or set nine career-high marks in Tucson. The Sooners also broke the school beam and bars records against the Wildcats.
Oklahoma has steadily improved this season, both in the scoring column and the win column. OU has won seven straight meets, during which they have defeated 10 opponents. In the first seven meets head coach Steve Nunno's squad surpassed 196 points once. Since then, the Sooners have scored 196.950 or better in every meet. In 2002, Oklahoma topped out at 197.000 and missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships by a few tenths of a point.
Stanford excels on the balance beam and vault where it is ranked No. 3 and No.7, respectively. Individually, all-arounder Lise Leveille is ranked No. 14. On the balance beam, Stanford has three gymnasts in the top 25, with Lindsay Wing tops at No. 3.
OU will make a quick turnaround after the west coast swing and head to Columbia, Mo., for the Big 12 Championships March 29.
AGAINST THE TOP 10
While OU sports just a 1-5 record against the top 10 teams in the current GymInfo rankings, things may be changing soon. OU outscored every team in the top 10 last weekend, except conference foe Nebraska. In comparison, over OU's last three meets it has outscored every school in the top 10 except Nebraska in at least two of their three most recent meets. The Sooners are one of only three teams in the NCAA, Arizona State and Nebraska being the others, to have scored 197 or better during their last three meets.
OU's sixth-place finish in the season opening Super Six Challenge put the team in a hole record wise. One meet put the Sooners at 0-5 and it wasn't until the eighth meet that OU finally moved above .500. On the other hand, OU is 13-1 since the Super Six with six victories over ranked opponents. While the Big 12 does not keep regular season standings, the Sooners would be in second place.
The Sooners moved up to No. 9 in the GymInfo weekly poll, five spots better than last week. As a team OU moved up in every event. OU tops out at No.4 in the country on floor. They are also ranked No. 9 on beam, No. 10 on bars and No. 13 on vault. Individually in the national rankings senior Patricia Aoki is ranked No. 17 on the floor and freshman Meredith Fricke is ranked No. 22. Allison Landis is the highest ranked Sooner at No. 9 on bars, while freshman Kelly Haggerty jumped up to No. 14 on the balance beam. Aoki is also ranked No. 31 in the all-around.
Karina Agafonova - Coach's decision pulled Aoki from all-around and bars and put junior-transfer on event. It worked as she scored a 9.925 against Arizona. Tara Anderson - Recorded fourth-highest OU bars score (9.850) against UCLA. Patricia Aoki - Senior has not recorded a score below 9.825 in the last three meets. Kristin Cox - Scored 9.800 and 9.850 on vault over the weekend. Meredith Fricke - Ranked No. 22 nationally on the floor exercise. Nicole Gause - Coach Nunno said freshman was key against UCLA, starting off vault and floor with exceptional performances. Christy Gerard - Senior recorded two key scores of 9.925 in UCLA Invitational. Kelly Haggerty - Freshman scored a near perfect 9.975 on beam against Arizona. Katie Hostler - Freshman did not score below 9.775 last weekend. Erin LaBarr - Has not competed in the last three meets. Allison Landis - Landis is the top-ranked Sooner at No. 9 nationally on bars. Leah Mueller - Senior will likely end her career as a bars specialist. Melissa Smith - Has only scored below 9.800 on beam in two meets this season. Kasie Tamayo - Four of six scores were at or above 9.900 last weekend.
Perfect 10's are a rarity in the sport of gymnastics, but four Sooners had reached the mark, including current team members Leah Mueller and Kasie Tamayo, and were cemented into the Oklahoma record books forever before OU's home finale. Senior Night (March 7) was the first time in the Sooner history that two gymnasts posted 10's in one meet. Thanks to Allison Landis (bars) and Patricia Aoki (floor), no one will ever be able to break an individual event record. In the future Sooners can only tie the marks, since all four events are now set at 10.
Prior to last weekend, freshman Meredith Fricke was the only freshman to own a OU school record. Fricke shared the OU school floor record (9.950) with five other Sooners, including Patricia Aoki. She tumbled her way to another 9.950 against Texas Women's University and Centenary and doubled up her place in OU history. Apparently inspired by the rookie, Aoki, the next and final competitor of the meet, hit on her first career perfect ten. Now Fricke sits with five others in second place on in Sooner history, not a bad place for a freshman.
Around The Big 12
Iowa State Cyclones
In their final home meet of the 2003 season, No. 21 Iowa State recorded an all-time high score to defeat No. 19 Minnesota 197.425-195.800. The Cyclones claimed first place on every event. ISU's team score of 49.60 on floor was also a new all-time high and the team set season highs on vault (49.250) and bars (49.375). Abigail Richey won the vault with a career-high 9.950. Erin Dethloff won bars and floor. Her 9.950 on floor ties her career-high. Laura-Kay Powell won the beam and all-around titles. Her beam score of 9.90 ties her career-high and her all-around total of 39.550 is a career-high.
Alisha Robinson scored a 39.425 to win the all-around title against Arkansas. The mark ties Missouri's second-highest all-around score. Robinson also claimed first-place honors on the vault (9.875) and beam (9.875). Andrea Nervig scored a 9.900 floor routine against Arkansas to tie for first-place. The mark ties Nervig's career-high mark and the Mizzou junior record on the event. Freshman Lauren Schwartzman shared the vault and beam podium with Alisha Robinson tying for top marks with 9.875 scores. Her vault score is a new career-high. The Tigers scored a 195.875 to defeat Arkansas and record the third-highest score in the Mizzou program. The Tigers also scored the team's second-highest beam score with a 49.150. Missouri upped its national ranking to 23rd with a 195.590 regional qualifying score.
The second-ranked Nebraska women's gymnastics team improved to 16-1 on the season, defeating Michigan, 197.500-197.225, Friday evening in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Huskers secured the second-best away score on NU's all-time charts for the second week in a row. With another strong performance for the Huskers, junior Richelle Simpson won the all-around title with a score of 39.70 taking first-place honors on the vault (9.90), uneven bars (9.95) and floor exercise (10.00). Simpson, who has four perfect 10s this season, has captured seven individual all-around titles in 2003. Senior A.J. Lamb took third place in the all-around competition with a final all-around score of 39.60.