Jan. 25, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. – The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad held steady at No. 2 in Monday's week three Troester rankings after improving to 3-0 on the year with a 196.650-194.425 win at No. 25 Illinois on Jan. 23, in Champaign, Ill.
OU won team titles in its final three events against the Fighting Illini, including a season-high 49.500 on beam en route to its best team score since Feb. 27, 2009. Oklahoma’s beam tally was its second highest event total under Kindler, just behind OU’s 49.525 on beam at TWU on Jan. 17, 2009.
Alabama posted the highest score in the NCAA this season (197.400) last Friday, overtaking the top spot after entering the weekend ranked third. The Crimson Tide has posted a season average of 196.458, just eclipsing OU’s 196.400 average.
Previously top-ranked UCLA tumbled to seventh (195.744), while Utah (195.992), Florida (195.967) and Stanford (195.833) comprise the top five.
Oklahoma has hit 70-of-72 routines on the year, with just a single miss on beam and floor. The Sooners are the only school in the country that has not counted a score lower than 9.7 this season.
OU is ranked first in the nation on beam with a season average of 49.183, which is higher than the top score posted by every Big 12 foe on the apparatus this season. The Sooners also hold top-five spots on bars (second-49.133) and floor (fifth-49.067).
Individually, OU’s Hollie Vise is ranked first in the country on beam with a season average of 9.908, while teammate Megan Ferguson is ranked fourth on the apparatus (9.883). Kristin Smith, fresh off a career-high 9.95 on beam at Illinois in the event win with Vise, is also ranked in the top 25 on beam at No. 22 (9.825).
Jackie Flanery is No. 14 in the latest rankings on floor (9.875), while Kayla Nowak is ranked 22nd in the all-around (39.050).
OU closes its current three-meet road stand at the Metroplex Challenge in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 30. The quad meet features Alaska-Anchorage, N.C. State and TWU alongside Oklahoma and begins at 7 p.m. (CT) inside the Dallas Convention Center.
Every Monday throughout the season, senior gymnast Kristin Smith will give OU gymnastics fans an inside glimpse into the Sooner program with weekly recaps, meet previews and insight into life outside of the gym for the reigning Big 12 Champions. This week's installment focuses on OU's wins over Illinois and a Q&A with some fellow gymnasts.
WEEK 3 | JAN. 23, 2010
Hey Sooner Fans! Hope everyone has had a fantastic week. I am writing this week’s entry on the airplane on our way back to Oklahoma…It’s always nice to get back to the Sooner state!
We started the week with our first day of classes on Tuesday. With the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, were able to get organized before the first day of class, so that made our transition back into the classroom much easier. We are looking forward to a great semester and accomplishing our semester GPA goal that we have set for ourselves.
On Thursday night we had a guest speaker, Joe Ehrmann, co-founder of Building Men and Women for Others, which addressed issues of masculinity and feminity, violence, and child advocacy. It also sought to redefine and reframe the social responsibility of sports, coaches, and parents. Every OU student-athlete attended the lecture and we all really seemed to enjoy it. He was a powerful speaker and very motivating!
We all went home that evening and began packing for our competition in Illinois. We woke up Friday morning and headed to the airport. Our trip went well, other than having to taxi in the air for about 30 minutes because it was too foggy to land in Chicago, but other than that it went great.
We got to the hotel and enjoyed a nice team meal at a restaurant in downtown Champaign. The next morning we got up and had breakfast in Jen’s room (our athletic trainer). We then boarded the bus, went to check out the arena, followed by a few mental sets to get our minds prepared for competition.
The highlight of the night was the way we ended the competition on beam. I don’t think we could of asked for a better ending to a great weekend! Everyone came together and felt so confident in one another. It was an awesome feeling. This team is definitely on a mission this year.
Special thanks to all the fans at the meet this weekend. We had a lot of fans travel to Illinois to watch us compete, with about a quarter of the crowd sporting the crimson and cream. What a great road crowd! Ya’ll were awesome as it made us feel like we were competing at home with most of the cheers coming from OU fans.
We are very excited to get back into the gym this week and work on our corrections from this past weekend. We are heading to Dallas this weekend for the Metroplex Challenge against the University of Alaska-Anchorage, N.C. State and Texas Women’s University.
We are looking forward to having a great crowd full of family, friends, alumni and supporters of the program.
Enjoy your week and we look forward to seeing you in Dallas.
-- Kristin Smith
GETTING TO KNOW OKLAHOMA ON THE ROAD:
What are your pre-meet rituals?
"At the hotel, Beth (Neubauer) braids my hair and Brie (Olson) always does my messy bun! Then I always have to triple check my backpack to make sure I have everything, because I usually forget things. When we get on the bus, I like to take a few pictures with my teammates and then I bust out my Ipod and listen to my latest play list.”
-- Julie Kramer
What is your favorite pre-meet meal?
“Tuna and a salad.”
-- Natalie Ratcliff
What is your favorite thing to do on a plane?
“I like to listen to Snow Patrol and read. I also like taking pictures with Kristin on her computer. We have so much fun. The pictures are classic!”
-- Sara Stone
What is your favorite thing about being on the road?
“The team bonding that I experience with every single teammate. Even with traveling troubles, we find a way to keep each other entertained and excited about the trip. There is never a dull moment with Oklahoma Gymnastics!”
-- Bethany Neubauer