April 10, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The second-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad captured the NCAA Northeast Regional title at Penn State on Saturday night and in the process broke a school record with its sixth score of 197.000 or higher on the season.
“We had a lot of goals coming in and we met those goals,” said head coach K.J. Kindler. “One of our scoring goals was to hit a 197.000 which we met. I knew coming in that this was going to be one of the more difficult regions in the country. Travelling so far, with such great competition from Penn State, LSU and the rest of the Northeast region, we knew we had our work cut out for us. Overall, I thought they did a really good job of handling their bye’s which allowed us to be successful.”
Oklahoma shined on the ever-challenging beam in its final rotation, sealing its first regional title since 2006 with a 49.475 on the apparatus in the Sooners highest event tally of the night.
“Wow, that beam ending was something out of a movie,” said Kindler. “It was amazing. I was energized by it and I know the athletes were as well. They were a model of consistency all night, which they have been all season.”
OU pushed its season record to 22-0 with a final tally of 197.250 that included a sweep of all four team event titles. Hollie Vise (beam – 9.95) and Jackie Flanery (floor – 9.95) added more hardware with individual event crowns.
The Sooners and LSU (196.400) advance to the NCAA Championships out of the University Park region, while meet host Penn State placed third with a 196.050.
NCAAs will have a Big 12 feel as both Missouri and Nebraska are among the 12-team field with Iowa State still competing at UCLA.
Oklahoma opened on floor after a bye in the first rotation and Flanery brought the crimson and cream contingent to its feet with a 9.95 that received a perfect 10.00 from one member of the judging panel. Kristin Smith was right on her heels with a 9.9, while Vise scored a 9.85 en route to a 49.300 team score.
The result continued Oklahoma’s strong showing on the apparatus where they are averaging a 49.350 this postseason.
The Sooners matched their floor score with another 49.300 on vault. Capping the rotation was Natasha Kelley's stuck 9.9. The rest of the lineup had some minor steps but solid amplitude throughout the entire rotation resulted in good scores. Mary Mantle posted a 9.875, while Brie Olson and Natalie Ratcliff added a pair of 9.85s.
OU lost a bit of intensity on bars but still managed a 49.175, capped off by a 9.9 from Vise. Kelley and Olson added a pair of 9.85s, while Root scored a 9.8.
Clinching the fourth regional crown in program history, the Sooners closed the beam rotation with a 9.95 (Vise) and a pair of 9.925s (Smith and Ferguson). Kelley posted a 9.85, while Ratcliff closed the scoring with a 9.825.
“Kayla (Nowak) and Natalie started off huge with such poise and confidence,” said Kindler. “I thought our freshmen competed like seniors tonight…Brie as well. She was a bundle of energy coming off of bars and vault. They showed me a lot tonight.”
Oklahoma is now averaging a 197.350 in its last five outings which includes three road events, two of which have come in postseason competition.
The NCAA National Championships will be held in Gainesville, Fla., on April 22-24.