Sept. 3, 1999

Norman, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma womens gymnastics team has added two new faces to its program for the 2000 season. Head coach Becky Buwick announced the signing of Patricia Aoki, a member of the Brazilian national team, and Carley Smith, 1999 Texas state champion, as her newest recruits.

Aoki is the third Sooner from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to sign with the team in the past two seasons. Mariana Goncalves and Leticia Ishii are the other two Sao Paulo natives on OU's roster. Brazil won the bronze team medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, just two short years after receiving the silver team medal. In 1997, Aoki became a member of the World Championship team in Switzerland. Aoki will compete in the World Championships in China this October.

Patricia will bring international flair to the team, said Buwick. She has great skills and presence when she is out there competing. I expect her to bring experience to the program.

Smith, who is recovering from a stress fracture in her back, attended Westfield High School in Huntsville, Texas. As a Level 10 gymnast, she garnered the state crown in bar and floor competitions. Smith also received honors at the regional championships, placing second on the floor exercise, third on bars and seventh in the all-around. In addition, she competed at the Junior National Championships.

Carley is expected to contribute to the team after her recovery, said Buwick. She has beautiful artistic style that gives her a special place with this program.