Jan. 14, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The seventh-ranked Oklahoma women's gymnastics team defeated N.C. State Friday after posting a season-high score of 196.175 in OU's first road meet of the year.
Oklahoma (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) won the team event title on all four events against N.C. State, and set a season-high score on bars (49.200), beam (49.025) and floor (49.025).
"This week I thought we had a stronger overall performance from top to bottom," OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. "I felt like the confidence level bumped up a lot."
OU took home at least a share of all four individual event titles as well. Sara Stone won the vault title (9.875), Kayla Nowak and Natasha Kelley took home a share of the bars title (9.875), Taylor Spears won beam (9.875), while Megan Ferguson and Nowak both won a share of the floor title (9.85).
N.C. State (0-1, 0-0 EAGL) scored a 195.150 against Oklahoma in the Wolfpack's first meet of the 2011 season.
The Sooners started the meet strong, scoring a 49.200 on bars to take the lead over N.C. State's 48.550 score on vault after the first rotation. The team vault score was OU's highest on any single event of the season.
"We saw some major improvements this week, bars was stellar," Kindler said. "Unfortunately Brie (Olson) wasn't feeling well today so Hayden Ward went in her place and did a phenomenal job jumping in at the last minute."
Sophomores Kelley and Nowak led the team on bars with scores of 9.875 on the apparatus. Nowak set a new career-high on the event, her previous best was 9.825 which she reached three times (Metroplex Challenge, Iowa State and Alabama) during her freshman campaign in 2010.
The OU newcomers continued to shine in the first event of the night. Spears posted a career-high 9.825 on bars, while Hayden Ward scored a 9.8 on the event in her first appearance in the lineup this season.
The Sooners posted a 48.925 on vault, paced by Stone's 9.875 in the anchor position. Stone won the individual vault title for the second-straight week, the junior also posted a 9.875 against Arkansas in OU's season opener.
"Megan (Ferguson) and Natasha (Kelley) showed a huge improvement from last week," Kindler added. "Sara (Stone)had a strong vault again this week, she's definitely showing a lot of poise in the anchor position on vault."
OU scored a 49.025 on floor in the third rotation. Nowak led the team for the second week in a row along with Ferguson, both gymnasts scored a 9.85 on the event. Ferguson's score set a new season-high for the junior.
Stone posted a 9.8 on floor in the anchor position for the Sooners. Stone has scored at least a 9.8 on all four of her routines this season.
The Sooners finished the meet with a 49.025 on beam to seal the victory over N.C. State. Spears led the team on the final event, setting another career-high and a new high-score by an OU freshman this season with a 9.875.
"I was really impressed with Taylor Spears," Kindler said. "She stepped in on beam for the first time and knocked out the highest score in our lineup. It was a nearly flawless beam routine. I was really proud of her, she competed on three events and did a phenomenal job."
Ferguson and Kelley both added a 9.85 on beam for the Sooners, it was Kelley's second-straight week to score a 9.85 on the event Ferguson's season-high on the apparatus.
With the win over N.C. State, OU improved to 31-5 in regular season road meets under Kindler.
Oklahoma returns home to the Lloyd Noble Center next weekend as the Sooners host a quad meet featuring Centenary, Denver and Oregon State on Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. (CT).