Jan. 20, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma moved up to No. 3 in the latest national rankings this week as the Sooners host Centenary, No. 23 Denver and No. 6 Oregon State on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m., at the Lloyd Noble Center for "Stick it With the Stars" night.
Oklahoma improved to 2-0 last weekend after beating N.C. State, 196.175-195.150, in the Sooners first road meet of the season. OU won all four team event titles while a Sooner gymnast won at least a share of all four individual event titles.
Freshman Taylor Spears won the beam title against N.C. State with a 9.875 showing on the apparatus in her first appearance in the beam lineup. With the 9.875, Spears now leads the nation on beam.
The Sooners are 29-2 at home and 57-6 in the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler. OU currently leads all three all-time series with Friday's opponents, OU is 18-1 against Centenary, 22-8 against Denver and 7-5 against Oregon State.
ON THE WEB:
Friday's quad meet can be seen via a live web cast with commentary from OU gymnastics All-American, Kasie Tamayo, and former women's gymnastics sports information director, Phillip Rogers, on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's premium site. During coverage of a quad meet, the webcast will feature mostly OU routines, with coverage of the other teams in between. Live stats for all meets can be found on SoonerSports.com.
For tickets, call (405) 325-2424 or toll-free (800) 456-GoOU. Tickets can also be purchased at the main ticket office in Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium or at the Lloyd Noble Center on the day of the meet.
Friday's meet is "Stick it With the Stars" night at the Lloyd Noble Center. Fans can take their picture with their favorite celebrity cardboard cutouts and can enter to win one of the cutouts at the end of the night. Attendees can also enter to win an Apple iPad. Additionally, the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free popcorn and small coke.
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FIRST TIME'S THE CHARM
In her first appearance in the OU beam lineup, freshman Taylor Spears scored a 9.875 on the event against N.C. State. With the score, Spears won the individual event title on the apparatus and is now ranked No. 1 in the nation on beam.
For the second week in a row, an OU gymnast was recognized as the best in the Big 12 conference. Sophomore Kayla Nowak was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week while Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. Junior Sara Stone earned the first conference honor for the Sooners when she was Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 11.
MOVING ON UP
With their 196.175 score against N.C. State, OU improved to a 195.825 season
average and moved up to the No. 3 spot in this week's national rankings. OU has been ranked in the top three spots in 15 of the last 17 national polls.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 29-2 in Norman under fifth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. OU's only two losses at home have come against SEC opponents in Alabama and Arkansas. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008, while OU's loss to Arkansas in the 2009 home opener marked Oklahoma's only regular season home defeat in Kindler's tenure.
Among the 62 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010 as well as wins over Auburn, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford and West Virginia.
Fifteen of OU's 48 routines this season were performed by freshmen. Madison Mooring competed on three events (vault, beam and floor) in OU's first two meets after joining the team less than a month ago following her December high school graduation.
Taylor Spears competed on two events in the season opener and three events against N.C. State. Spears scored a 9.875 on beam in Raleigh to win the event title, the score was the highest by an OU freshman this season.
BACKING IT UP
Following Friday's quad meet, the Sooners head to Denton, Texas, for a dual meet with Texas Woman's on Sunday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. This weekend will be the first time Oklahoma has competed in two team events within a three-day span in the regular season since 2007 when the Sooners had a two-meet road trip to Iowa State (Feb. 16) and Iowa (Feb. 18).
A GROUP EFFORT
Oklahoma did not have an all-around competitor against Arkansas or N.C. State, which is nothing new for the Sooners. OU had an all-arounder just twice during OU's record-breaking 2010 season (Kayla Nowak at Illinois and Hollie Vise vs.
Washington). The Sooners are the only squad currently ranked in the top 15 nationally that does not have a gymnast in the top 25 all-around rankings.
REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 57-6 in the regular season under Kindler. The Sooners finished the 2010 regular season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA at 14-0. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.
The Sooners face 10 teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25, including four top 10 teams and five programs that competed at the 2010 NCAA
Championships. CollegeGymFans.com recently ranked OU at No. 10 nationally in strength of schedule.
Oklahoma opened its 2011 road season strong with a 196.175 showing against N.C. State last weekend. The Sooners are no strangers to road success, in 2010, five of OU's highest scores came on the road. OU scored above a 196.500 in eight of its 10 road meets.
In 2009, the Sooners set their season-high team score on the road (197.175 at TWU). OU posted five of its seven highest scores away from Norman in both the 2009 and 2008 seasons.
The Sooners are 31-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler.
CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2011
Oklahoma started the season ranked No. 4 nationally, the highest preseason ranking in program history. The back-to-back-to-back Big 12 Champions return nine members of the record-breaking 2010 squad, as the team looks to make its second-straight NCAA Super Six in 2011.
Headlining OU's returnees are Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley. Ferguson is a two-time All-American and was named All-Big 12 on both bars and beam in 2010. Kelley was named the 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 on vault and bars. The redshirt-sophomore enters the 2011 season with a career-high 9.925 on vault and 9.9 on both bars and beam.
The Sooners welcome four newcomers for the 2011 season. Hope Bruce and Taylor Spears joined the team in the summer of 2010, while Madison Mooring and Hayden Ward began training with the team in December.
The Oklahoma coaching staff swept the 2010 national coaching awards. Head Coach K.J. Kindler was named National Head Coach of the Year, South Central Region Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year. OU's assistant coaches Lou Ball and Tom Haley were named National Co-Assistant Coaches of the Year and South Central Region Co-Assistant Coaches of the Year.
Last season Kindler also made coaching history, becoming the only head coach in the NCAA to take two separate programs to the NCAA Super Six (Iowa State - 2006, Oklahoma - 2010).
IN ELITE COMPANY
Oklahoma is one of just five programs to advance to the NCAA
Championships every year since 2004. OU joins Alabama, Florida, LSU and Utah on the elite list.
2011 SIGNING CLASS
K.J. Kindler announced the signing of five gymnasts to join OU's roster in 2011. Madison Mooring and Hayden Ward joined the team in December for the 2011 season, while Erica Brewer, Rebecca Clark and Haley Sorensen join Oklahoma in the summer of 2011.
CHAMPIONS IN THE CLASSROOM
For the fourth-straight season, five Sooners earned National
Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches All-American Scholar Athlete Awards. Nitya Ramaswami finished the academic year with a 4.0 in chemical engineering, she was one of just 67 gymnasts in the country and was the only gymnast in the Big 12 to finish with a 4.0.