Sooners Return to Norman

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 20, 2005

NORMAN, Okla. The No. 9 University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team (9-1) returns to the Lloyd Noble Center for the first time in 30 days when they host Missouri, Texas Woman’s University and Centenary Sunday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m.

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Sunday’s meet will be the Sooners’ third in seven days. On Feb. 13, Oklahoma upset No. 7 Georgia before dominating No. 19 Auburn on Thursday, Feb. 18.

“I think we will be sharp on Sunday,” OU head coach Steve Nunno said. “We’re looking forward to coming home and performing again in Norman. We expect to take care of business as we head towards defending our Big 12 title.”

Last year, OU lost to Missouri in Columbia 197.0-196.75, but defeated the Tigers en route to winning the Big 12 Championship.

“Missouri will be our toughest competitor on Sunday,” Nunno said. “Missouri and Auburn were ranked similarly, but as long as we hit our routines, we should earn another win.”

The Sooners have already posted a win against Texas Woman’s University, defeating them in Denton 193.6-188.65.

OU last faced Centenary in 2003, winning 197.525-189.85 as former Sooners Patricia Aoki and Allison Landis scored perfect 10s.

The Sooners will see T.W.U. again later this season on Saturday, March 5, as the program has its Senior Night.

Four days removed from an upset of No. 7 Georgia, after a tough week of practice and then a same-day trek to Alabama, the weary Sooners were dominant in victory against No. 19 Auburn.

Oklahoma captured wins on three of four apparatuses en route to their 195.0-191.85 win Thursday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

“I felt like we dominated,” OU head coach Steve Nunno said. “We didn’t count a fall and took three of the four events.”

Senior Erin LaBarr claimed or shared individual titles on three events as she took the all-around crown with a 39.225 total score.

“Erin LaBarr was on fire tonight,” Nunno continued. “She won three of the four events as we took every individual title.”

Sophomore Ashley Cooney won vault and finished second in the all-around at 39.200.

OU trailed Auburn after the first rotation, after scoring a season-low 48.475 on the uneven bars while the Tigers used a 48.650 vault score to take an early lead.

Roles reversed, however, as Auburn struggled on bars in rotation two and the Sooners forged ahead 97.40-95.95. 

Cooney won her sixth vault title in seven meets with a 9.90 score. The defending Big 12 vault champion has scored 9.8 or better on each of her vaults this season.

OU gymnasts owned five of the top six vault scores.

“It seemed like we were a little flat in the beginning,” Nunno said. “We flew in at 1:30 p.m. and went straight to the competition. But, the girls rallied and notched another win against a ranked opponent.”

The Sooners then cruised to victory with LaBarr taking the bars, floor and beam titles. OU swept the all-around category as its four competitors LaBarr, Cooney, Brittney Koncak and Kristen Cox took the top four positions.

After rather unimpressive results on the balance beam early in the season, the Sooners have recently brought their game up to par with their performances on the other three apparatuses.

In Oklahoma’s first three meets the team’s average score on beam was 47.908.  In the last three meets the average in 49.0, highlighted by the team’s first score above the 49 benchmark, a 49.250, last time out versus Georgia.

On the season, OU averages 48.457 on beam.

The recent string of results has moved the Sooners from a No. 31 beam ranking in week four up 15 spots to No. 16 this week.

Poll No. 6: Feb. 14

1. Utah, U. of 196.35
2. Michigan, U. of 196.25
3. L.S.U. 196.158
4. Florida, U. of 195.958
5. Alabama, U. of 195.921
6. Nebraska, U. of 195.646
7. Georgia, U. of 195.604
8. Iowa State 195.45
9. Oklahoma, U. of 195.437
9. UCLA 195.437
11. Arkansas, U. of 194.979
11. Brigham Young Univ. 194.979
13. Denver, U. of 194.896
14. Penn State 194.7
15. Southern Utah Univ. 194.475
16. Oregon State 194.375
17. Central Michigan 194.35
18. Arizona, U. of 194.271
19. Auburn Univ. 194.262
20. Kentucky, U. of 194.187
21. Arizona State 194.037
22. Ohio State Univ. 194
23. Washington, U. of 193.862
24. Minnesota, U. of 193.792
25. Michigan State 193.687

Sophomore Ashley Cooney was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Week for Feb. 1 by the conference office. Cooney earned the honor for the first time in her career.

The sophomore from Plano, Texas, won her third consecutive all-around title with a 39.350 at the Ohio State Triangular. The scored matched her season-high set the previous week. In addition, Cooney won the vault (9.9) and floor (9.875) while helping Oklahoma to the team title. Her vault score also matched a season-high.

Cooney is the second Sooner to earn the honor this season. Senior Erin LaBarr was tabbed as gymnast of the week on Jan. 11.

Cooney is currently ranked No. 7 in all-around competition, sixth on vault and No. 8 on floor exercise.

Despite falling out of the undefeated ranks last week to Nebraska, the Sooners moved up in the polls one spot to No. 9.

OU recorded its second best start in program history at 7-0 before losing Saturday, Feb. 5, in Lincoln. The best start was recorded in 1985.

Coached by Becky Switzer, the 1985 team swept through their schedule with a 13-0 record before finishing in 10th place at the NCAA Championships.

Sophomore Ashley Cooney was the 2004 Big 12 and West Regional champion vault in her first year at OU and  it appears like the Texas native is picking up right where she left off.

Cooney opened the 2005 season with a first place victory on the vault and followed that with another victory last week. Cooney also won the all-around (39.025) against T.W.U.

Against, Kent State, she again won the all-around 39.350). Cooney was victorious in three events and scored a season-high 9.85 on the uneven bars. The Plano, Texas, native also won vault (9.80) and floor exercise (9.9).

At Ohio State, Cooney captured her third consecutive all-around title (39.350), matching her season-high score in the process. She also picked up wins on vault, with a season-high matching 9.9 stick, and floor exercise.

Recently, Cooney hit two career-high 9.95 routines on vault and floor, clinching victory for the Sooners in an upset win of No. 7 Georgia.

Erin LaBarr was named the first Big 12 Gymnast of the Week for the 2005 season, the conference office announced Jan. 11. LaBarr earned the honor for the first time in her career.

The senior captain from Bartlesville, Okla., put together an impressive performance to kick off the 2005 season.  LaBarr recorded the school’s seventh perfect score with her routine on the bars en route to a first place finish in the all-around at the Second Annual Gymnastics Classic. She led the Sooners with a 39.600 (career high) in the all-around and also won the balance beam (9.9) and floor exercise (9.925) at the Cancun Classic, helping Oklahoma to the team title against then-No. 18 BYU, George Washington and Gustavus Adolphus.

LaBarr is ranked No. 10 in the nation in the all-around, No. 8 on the uneven bars and 16th on the floor exercise.

LaBarr’s 10.0 on Jan. 7 was the first perfect score for a Sooner since the 2003 season (Allison Landis-uneven bars). It is just the seventh 10.0 in Sooners’ history and the second on the uneven bars.

She also becomes just the third Big 12 gymnast to record a 10.0 on bars since the inception of the conference, joining Nebraska’s Bree Dority (2001) and Landis (2003).

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team announced the signing of Ashley Jackson and Haley DeProspero (pronounced deh-PROSS-per-oh) to National Letters of Intent Nov. 12. Jackson, a native of Hudsonville, Michigan, is a 5-1 gymnast that placed fifth in the all-around at the 2004 Junior Nationals.  DeProspero, a native of McKinney, Texas, is a 5-0 elite gymnast who finished first in the all-around, balance beam and floor exercise at the 2004 Pike’s Peak Cup.

“We are excited today to announce the signing of these two exceptional gymnasts,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “Haley is one of the most talented athletes in the country and Ashley is one of the most powerful athletes to ever join our team.”

DeProspero competed in the 2003 and 2002 U.S. National Championships finishing 24th and 27th, respectively.  In addition to DeProspero’s three first place finishes at the 2004 Pike Peak Cup, she also finished in the top five on three events (3rd-AA, 2nd-beam, 3rd-floor) at the 2004 Sand Dollar Invite.  Haley is the daughter of Bob and Dayna DeProspero, both graduates of OU.

“Haley was one of the most highly recruited athletes this year and we are truly excited that she has chosen the University of Oklahoma,” said Nunno. “There is no doubt in my mind that Haley will become a record holder here for women’s gymnastics. She is coming in at the perfect time as we will probably have our most promising team ever in 2006.”

Jackson had a successful outing at the 2004 Junior Nationals in which she not only placed fifth in the all-around but  recorded three other top ten finishes.  Jackson took ninth on the uneven bars, third on the beam and fifth on the floor exercise at the meet.  In other action this year, Jackson was the Michigan State Champion and also placed third in the all-around at the 2004 Region 5 Regionals.  The Michigan native also has some international experience, competing with the Region 5 Team at meets in El Salvador and China this past year.  Ashley is the daughter of Francis and Minerva Jackson.

“Ashley has a wonderful personality that sparks excitement with everyone she meets,” said Nunno. “She is a great all-around performer and in the words of her coaches, she’s money in the bank’ when it comes to competing.”

OU's 2005 Schedule

Date Time Opponent Location
Jan. 7 8 p.m. Cancun Classic Cancun, Mexico
Jan. 15 7 p.m. at T.W.U. Denton, Texas
Jan. 21 7 p.m. vs. Kent State

Norman, Okla. (LNC)

Jan. 29 7 p.m. at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio
Feb. 5 7 p.m. at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb.
Feb. 13 4 p.m. vs. Georgia Oklahoma City (Cox)
Feb. 18 7 p.m. at Auburn Auburn, Ala.
Feb. 20 2 p.m. vs. Missouri, T.W.U. Norman, Okla. (LNC)
Feb. 25 7 p.m. at Iowa State Ames, Iowa
March 5 7 p.m. T.W.U., Centenary Norman, Okla. (LNC)
March 11 7 p.m. Louisiana State Tulsa, Okla.
March 18 7 p.m. at Southern Utah Cedar City, Utah
March 26 7 p.m. Big 12 Champ. Norman, Okla. (LNC)

*all times local and subject to change.



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