Sooners Set For Big 12 Championships

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 18, 2004

Big 12 Championships
Saturday, March 20, 2004
7 p.m. CST
Des Moines, Iowa (Knapp Center)

No. 7 Iowa State
No. 11 Nebraska
No. 14 Missouri

The Sooners begin the postseason on Saturday, March 20, at 7 p.m. (CST) in Des Moines, Iowa for the 2004 Big 12 Championships. All four members of the conference come in ranked in the top 25, including OU who enters at No. 16.

OU is coming off a win that saw Kasie Tamayo dominate again in the all-around with a 39.550 (fifth straight) at Penn State.  Tamayo also won the uneven bars with a 9.900 and the floor exercise with a 9.925.  Melissa Smith and Ashley Cooney tied for first on the balance beam with identical 9.900s, the 9.900 for Smith marked the first time in her career that she finished first on an event.

OU is 0-3 this season in Big 12 competition and each time they have faced a Big 12 opponent, the Sooners have been extremely close to victory.  Most recently at Missouri, OU led going into the last rotation before missing some routines on beam and leaving the door open for Missouri to win the meet with its floor routine.  OU loss by 0.250 to the Tigers.  At home against Nebraska and Iowa State, OU lost by 0.250 and 1.100 respectively.

OU (11-9) is ranked No. 16 in the GymInfo Poll, averaging a team score of 196.317 and hold a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.745.  The Sooners have defeated current No. 6 Stanford, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 18 Denver, Penn State, Southern Utah (twice), Air Force (twice) and TWU (three times).  All of the Sooners' losses have come to teams that are currently ranked in the top 25: No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia (twice), No. 8 Florida, No. 7 Iowa State, No. 11 Nebraska, No. 12 Washington, No. 17 Iowa and No. 14 Missouri.

The first event for each team is as follows: Vault - Oklahoma, Uneven Bars - Nebraska, Balance Beam - Iowa State, Floor Exercise - Missouri. Live stats will be available on the Iowa State web site at or the Big 12 web site at Television coverage will be provided by FOX Sports Net on a tape-delayed basis. Check local listings for telecast dates and times in your area.

Tickets can be purchased through the Iowa State Athletic Ticket Office at (888) 478-2925 or (515) 294-1816. Ticket prices are $7 for adult general admission and $5 for youth/senior general admission.

Complete Big 12 Championship Release | 2004 Statistics

Did You Know?
Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has hit 46 of 48 routines this season.  No other gymnast in the history of the program has been that consistent.  Tamayo has competed in every meet this season as an all-arounder and has scored below a 39.000 only once.

Last Year's Big 12 Championship
Ranked No. 6, the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team finished just short of its first ever Big 12 Championship in Columbia, Mo., tonight behind No. 2 Nebraska Cornhuskers, 197.500-197.025. Missouri (196.700) and Iowa State (195.700) rounded out the competition in third and fourth, respectively. Oklahoma improved to 15-9 on the season.

“We had a great meet and finished second,” said OU Head Coach Steven Nunno. “That is probably where we should have finished because Nebraska is No. 2 in the country. We didn’t count any falls and we had one of our best bars nights of the season. We continue to score well and build momentum with regionals right around the corner.”

Oklahoma extended its school scoring record to five consecutive meets with at least 197 points. No other OU team has scored above the 197 mark in three straight outings.

Results     VT     UB     BB    FL     Total
Nebraska 48.700 49.600 49.550 49.650 197.500
OKLAHOMA     49.075    49.450      49.075     49.425     197.025
Missouri 49.175 49.175 49.075 49.275 196.700
Iowa State 49.050 49.250 48.125 49.275 195.700

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team landed four members on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. Senior Leah Mueller earned her fourth such honor, while sophomores Katie Hostler, Melissa Smith and Tara Anderson all collected their first such accolade.  OU was second behind Nebraska, which led the conference with five first-team selections. 

Mueller, a human relations major, was the only gymnast in the Big 12 to maintain a perfect 4.00 grade point average in 2004.  She has competed primarily on uneven bars for the past two seasons.  A redshirt her freshman year, Mueller has been on the All-Big 12 Academic Team all four years of competition.

A native of St. Charles, Mo., Hostler is studying health and sports science and has competed in every meet this season primarily on the floor exercise and vault.

Anderson has been competing on three events this season, the uneven bars, balance beam and vault.   The Phoenix, Ariz., native is an elementary education major.

Finally, Smith is another two-event competitor for the Sooners performing on the balance beam and uneven bars.  She is a business major and came to OU from King, N.C.

Senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo has been the Big 12 conference’s Gymnast of the Week twice this season.  The only other gymnast in the conference to do so is Iowa State's Erin Dethloff.  Tamayo is a finalist for Big 11along with Erin Dethloff-Iowa State, Lauren Schwartzman-Missouri, Libby Landgraf-Nebraska.

Tamayo won her fifth consecutive all-around to close out the regular season at Penn State with a 39.550. 

Tamayo's Bio | 2004 Statistics

The Sacramento, Calif., native has scored the top all-around score for the Sooners in ten out of twelve meets this season.  She has won the all-around title eight times this season and her average ranks her seventh in the nation, first in the South Central Region and first in the Big 12.  Below is a look at how Tamayo ranks in the five events in the nation, region and Big 12:

All-Around     Floor Exercise     Uneven Bars     Balance Beam      Vault    
National     7th 15th 4th 15th na
Regional 1st 3rd 1st 3rd 11th
Big 12 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 9th

Two weeks ago the University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics fell out of the top five in the nation on the uneven bars and now are averaging a RQS of 49.365, good for sixth in the nation.  For six consecutive weeks, the Sooners were ranked in the top five on the apparatus.  Oklahoma is also No. 1 in the south central region and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The Sooners are not far behind the nation's best, just a over a tenth below the top average held by defending national champion UCLA (49.520). 

OU has scored better than its competition on bars in ten meets this season and placed second in the other two.  Nebraska broke OU's streak of five consecutive weeks of outscoring its opposition.  The Washington Huskies are the only other team to score higher in a competition against the Sooners, the first meet of the season at the Cancun Classic.

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.

Going into the conference meet, if there is a favorite it would be Iowa State.  It has defeated everyone in the conference and sits atop the standings at 3-0-1.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska (2-1-1), Missouri (1-2) and Oklahoma (0-3).  Nationally, Iowa State is the highest ranked Big 12 school at No. 7, averaging 197.210.  The Cyclones are followed by Nebraska at No. 11 (196.960), Missouri at No. 14 (196.775) and Oklahoma at No. 16 (196.745).  The conference title will be determined at the Big 12 Championship held this year in Des Moines, Iowa on March 20.

Standings     Overall     Big 12     High Team Score   
Iowa State 9-1-1 3-0-1 198.000
Nebraska 9-2-1 2-1-1 198.000
Missouri  15-3 1-2 197.475
OKLAHOMA     11-9 0-3 197.300

The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team added a new member before its home opener with Air Force on Jan. 23, freshman Ashley Cooney.  Ever since then, the Plano, Texas native has been improving her scores in competition each time out.  She is a finalist for this season's Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

Cooney has finished tied for first on six occasions this season (twice on vault and four times on balance beam).  Cooney has also finished in the top five 18 other times, including five second place finishes.  Among those second place finishes are her 39.375 in the all-around against Stanford and 39.500 against Penn State. Since she started competing in the all-around, Cooney has scored above a 39.000 in four of her six competitions.  In Big 12 competitions, Cooney owns two first place finishes and has placed on three other occasions.

As of March 15, Cooney is ranked among the best in the region and Big 12.   In the South Central Region Cooney ranks 16th on the all-around (38.945), No. 9 on the floor (9.895), No. 15 on vault (9.840), No. 29 on bars (9.815) and No. 59 on beam (9.655).  In the Big 12, Cooney also ranks No. 9 in the all-around, No. 24 on beam, No. 20 on uneven bars, No. 10 on floor and No. 13 on vault.

Record Crowd
When the women opened their season at home on Jan. 23, they competed in front of a new regular season record crowd for an Oklahoma Gymnastics meet.  Some 1,475 fans attended the meet against Air Force, also featuring the OU men against the Falcon men.  The old record for a Sooner gymnastics meet was set last year when the men hosted Ohio State and the women hosted Penn State on March 7, 2003 in front of 1,227 at the Lloyd Noble Center. 

Last Time Out (At Penn State | 3/13/04)
The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team scored a 196.175 to defeat No. 25 Penn State  (195.775) at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa., on Saturday.  The Sooners got off to a rocky start on the uneven bars (48.575), typically their strongest event, but rebounded strong tying their season-high on the balance beam with a 49.250.

“We had a tough start to the competition having to count some falls on bars,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno.  “But we rebounded by hitting five of our beam routines.  I am extremely proud of the way we were able to dig ourselves out of a hole and pull off this victory, especially on the road. ”

Keying the win on the balance beam were freshman Ashley Cooney and sophomore Melissa Smith.  Cooney and Smith both managed identical 9.900s to tie for first place.  It marked a career-high for Cooney and tied a career best for Smith, who finished first for the first time in her career. 

Also playing a large factor in the Sooners’ victory was senior co-captain Kasie Tamayo, a candidate for Big 12 Gymnast of the Year.  Tamayo was solid again as usual for OU, winning the all-around (39.550) for the fifth straight time and the eighth overall this season.  The Sacramento, Calif., native also took first on the uneven bars (9.900) and floor exercise (9.925).  She has finished first in the all-around and other four events a combined 34 times this season.

Cooney finished second behind Tamayo in the all-around with a career-high 39.500.  Sophomore Kristen Cox matched her career-best on the floor exercise with a 9.875 which put her in a tie for third place.

The No. 12 Sooners outscored the Nittany Lions on the balance beam (49.250-48.525) and the floor exercise (49.375-49.175), while PSU bested OU on the uneven bars (48.925-48.575) and the vault (49.150-48.975).





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