Women's Gymnastics Heads To Alabama For Super Six Challenge On ESPN 2

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 07, 2004

Fifth Annual Super Six Challenge
Friday, Jan. 9, 2004
7 p.m. CST
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Coleman Coliseum


No. 2 Georgia
No. 3 Alabama (host)
No. 7 Florida
No. 11 Oregon State
No. 18 Denver

*Live Stats Link:

*Delayed TV: ESPN 2, Jan. 11, 6:00 PM. CST
 Play by Play: Chris Marlowe
 Color: Kathy Johnson Clarke

The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program continues the 2004 season with their second appearance in the Super Six Challenge held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at Coleman Coliseum.  OU last competed on the floor of Coleman Coliseum at the 2003 NCAA Central Regional in which they finished fourth (196.300)  This year's meet features six of the country's premier teams, all of which are ranked in the top 20 of the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll.

"We have had some great practices this week and luckily we have one meet under out belts now," said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  "So hopefully we can learn from Cancun and improve upon our performances.  The Super Six will be very tough to win with perennial powers Georgia and Alabama involved and  Florida, Oregon State and Denver are also solid teams.  So it should be a great competition.  We are honored to be a part of it and it will be a great opportunity for the girls in what should be a tremendous atmosphere with 8,000-9,000 some people there and ESPN2 doing the broadcast."

Alabama, host of the Super Six, features six All-Americans returning from last year's NCAA runner-up squad.  The 2003 SEC Champions return last season's gymnast of the year, senior Jeanna Rice.  Sophomore Ashley Miles is another top performer for the Tide, she won the NCAA vault title in 2003.

The University of Georgia is led by six seniors this season, all of which are previous All-Americans. Marline Stephens was a 1st-Team All-American on vault in 2002 and on vault and floor in 2001. The remainder of the class includes Sierra Sapunar, Chelsa Byrd, Cory Fritzinger, Kinsey Rowe and Loren Simpson.

The 2004 Florida Gators return nine letterwinners from a team that finished seventh in the NCAA Championships last season. Five All-Americans key the Gators' lineup including senior captain Erin Dooley (all-around and vault) and senior Kara Waterhouse (all-around, balance beam).

Oregon State returns 21 of their 24 routines from last year's regional squad, including All-Pacific-10 all-arounder Annie Campbell. Perhaps the Beavers' top freshman, Chelsea Plourde, could make an immediate impact on all four events.

Denver returns just five gymnasts from a season ago and will look to seniors Emily Bankhead, Ashley Shible and Rose Kiernan to lead the pack. Denver does lose its top gymnast from last season and features a young lineup, including seven newcomers, including six freshmen.  The level of the Pioneers success could rest on the newcomers' production.

1.Katie Hostler
2.Erin LaBarr
3.Brittney Koncak
4.Tiffany Willin
5.Kasie Tamayo

1.Nicole Gause
2.Melissa Smith
3.Tara Anderson
4.Brittney Koncak
5.Erin LaBarr
6.Kasie Tamayo

1.Elizabeth Tandy
2.Tara Anderson
3.Melissa Smith
4.Erin LaBarr
5.Leah Mueller
6.Kasie Tamayo

1.Nicole Gause
2.Katie Hostler
3.Brittney Koncak
4.Kristen Cox
5.Erin LaBarr
6.Kasie Tamayo

The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team opened the 2003 season with a sixth-place finish in the fourth annual Super Six Challenge in front of a sellout crowd of 9,000, inside the Stegeman Coliseum in Athens Georgia.

Georgia (197.325) won the meet, followed by Nebraska (196.700), Florida (196.575), Alabama (196.000), and Penn State (194.375). Jeana Rice of Alabama won the all-around competition with a score 39.700. She was followed by Chelsa Byrd (39.600) of Georgia and Richelle Simpson of Nebraska (39.500). Aoki finished 11th in the all-around with a score of 38.800.

Oklahoma began the meet on the floor exercise after opening the afternoon with a bye during the first rotation. Freshman Meredith Fricke led the Sooners early, scoring a 9.900 on the floor exercise in her collegiate debut. In the end, the score would count as OU highest individual performance of the afternoon. Senior Patricia Aoki scored a 9.850 and freshman Katie Hostler scored 9.825.

On the next rotation OU was again led by a freshman, this time it was Hostler sticking her landing on vault and scoring a team-high 9.850. Fricke continued her solid debut with a 9.675 on the vault, while junior Kasie Tamayo rounded out the Sooners participation on the event with a 9.750.

Through two events the Sooners were in fifth place, with an overall score of 97.375 narrowly ahead of defending national champion Alabama (97.300).

Sophomore Erin Labarr scored a 9.825 on the uneven bars and senior Patricia Aoki recorded a 9.800. As a team, OU struggled on the uneven bars and was forced to count three falls. The overall event score of 47.175 dropped OU into sixth place after three events.

On the Sooners final event freshman Melissa Smith and Fricke turned in solid performances on the beam with scores of 9.825 and 9.775, respectively. Junior Kasie Tamayo closed out the meet for OU with a personal meet high of 9.800.

At Cancun Classic | 1/02/04

The 13th-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team finished third in the first annual Cancun Gymnastics Classic behind 15th ranked Washington and 12th-ranked Iowa.  The meet marked the opening of the season for the Sooners.
Washington scored 196.450 to take first-place honors in the meet, Iowa was second at 195.350, Oklahoma was third at 195.150 and Texas Woman’s University was fourth at 189.175.

"Overall things were good out in Cancun," said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  "We did not finish like would have liked, but we had 20 solid routines.  I felt like we were prepared and just a couple mental mistakes separated us from the top."

In comparison to last season, the Sooners 195.150 tonight topped the scores of their first two meets.

Freshman Brittney Koncak impressed in her first meet as a Sooner ending up tied for first on the beam (9.875) and the floor (9.925).  On both apparatuses, Koncak was tied with senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo and Iowa’s Alexis Maday.

Tamayo concluded her solid day by finishing third in the all-around, while Koncak was fourth.

In comparison to last season, the Sooners 195.150 tonight topped the scores of their first two meets.

Nunno added, "We did a good job in almost every event, with the vault being the exception and we posted the second highest total to start off a season in school history.  We showed we have the talent and potential to be successful, so a lot of positives arose from the meet."

Place Team          Total
1. Washington      196.450
2. Iowa                195.350
3. OKLAHOMA   195.150
4. Texas Womans 189.175

The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team, coming off an 18-11 season, was voted No. 13 in the GymInfo Coaches’ preseason top 25 poll.  All four teams from the Big 12 made the list, as Nebraska was No. 8, Iowa State No. 16 and Missouri finished off the list at No. 25. 

UCLA was voted No. 1 receiving 27 first place votes followed by Georgia (eight first place votes), Utah (one) and Michigan (one). 

Last season, UCLA was one of the teams OU defeated en route to their seven meet winning streak, at that time the Bruins were also ranked No. 1.

“This is one of the highest preseason rankings for us,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “Obviously we would like it to be higher, but we will have to earn that right.  We face a very tough schedule this season, probably the toughest since I have been here.  I think we will be able to prove how good we are especially in the first two meets when we face a lot of top ranked competition in Cancun and at the Super Six in Alabama.”

Two-time USA Olympic Coach Steve Nunno is one of the most successful gymnastics coaches in the United States.  His gymnasts have won more national and international medals than any other coach in the country.  Now at the helm of the University of Oklahoma, Coach Nunno has some lofty goals for his college team as well.

After three years as head coach at OU, many of his gymnasts have already entered the record books. In addition, his Sooner squads have been consistently ranked in the top 10 during the regular season for the past two years.

“It’s truly an honor to be the head coach at the University of Oklahoma,” said Nunno.   “Now that I am done traveling around the world with Olympic level gymnasts, it has been wonderful to be able to settle down with my family. The atmosphere and tradition at this University is second to none.”

“I really enjoy coaching the collegiate athletes. This year’s team is extremely talented and they are performing the skills that I’m used to coaching. We have an exciting but challenging schedule this year but I believe it could be our best result ever.




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