Dec. 13, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. – The ninth-ranked OU women’s gymnastics squad wrapped up its final intrasquad in its home-away-from-home on Sunday evening at the Sooners temporary training facility.
The highlight of the night was Hollie Vise’s 9.825 on floor exercise for the Sooners. The Dallas, Texas, senior would be making her first collegiate appearance on the apparatus in 2010, after serving as a bars and beam specialist for Oklahoma during her first three years in Norman.
“With a couple of people out, tonight was a chance for a lot of others to step up and show what they can do and I thought overall they did a respectable job of that,” said head coach K.J. Kindler. “I think they are learning that they need to be ready when called upon.”
Opening the night in Olympic rotation on vault, senior Mary Mantle led the way with a 9.875. Jackie Flanery (9.85) and Natalie Ratcliff (9.8) also posted solid vaults for the Sooners.
OU received four scores of 9.8 or higher on bars, led by Vise’s 9.825 from the anchor position. Reigning Big 12 bars co-champion Megan Ferguson, Jackie Flanery and Kristin Smith all posted 9.8s. Smith has never competed a collegiate bars routine, while Flanery hasn’t seen action on the apparatus since midway through her sophomore season.
Ferguson and Vise led the way once again on beam, posting a pair of 9.85s. Smith was right on their heels with a 9.825 of her own.
Closing the evening on floor, Flanery anchored the Sooners with a 9.85, marking OU’s highest score on the apparatus. Freshman Kayla Nowak scored a 9.8, placing third behind Vise.
Nowak was solid throughout the night, also scoring a 9.75 on bars, while fellow freshmen Bethany Neubauer and Nitya Ramaswami showed glimpses of their bright potential.
Oklahoma was without the duo of Brie Olson and Sara Stone on Sunday, as both are resting minor ankle sprains. Natasha Kelley competed bars and beam without dismounts after an ACL injury last month.
“Tonight showed that there is a lot of depth on the current squad, which will make for some fierce competition in the coming weeks in order to earn a spot in the lineup,” said Kindler. “I was pleased with the results, but there is always plenty to work on and needed improvement across the board.”
The gymnasts will now turn their attention to the books with finals week commencing on Monday.
After the holiday break, the Sooners will relocate back to the newly renovated Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center. The home of OU gymnastics has undergone a state-of-the-art 7,000 square foot addition and a complete overhaul of the existing gym over the past eight months.
Oklahoma’s regular season schedule features regular season events against nine teams ranked in the preseason GymInfo top-25 poll and commences Jan. 8 at home against Florida, a Super Six qualifier at last year's NCAA Championships.