Jan. 25, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's gymnastics team is in Norman this Friday for the first time this season OU will Texas Woman's University at 7 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center in its first coed gymnastics home meet. OU's men's gymnastics squad will face Ohio State. The women's team, currently 2-0 on the young season, and the T.W.U. last squared off the first meet of the season when the Oklahoma defeated T.W.U. 191.425 to 188.150.

The Sooners last defeated the Pioneers Sunday, Jan. 22, 191.425 to 188.150 in Denton, Texas. Oklahoma opened its first schedule with a strong performance by garnering the top spots in every event.

Senior Amber McCracken, captain of the squad, won the all-around title with a score of 38.875. Redshirt freshman Leticia Ishii and newcomer Patricia Aoki showed their flair by placing second and third in the all-around with scores of 38.675 and 37.775.

McCracken continued her victory spree as she finished first in the floor and vault competitions. Terri Runciman was the only gymnast from T.W.U. to win an event title. Runciman claimed the first-place beam finish with a score of 9.850 followed by teammate Michelle Hepner, who took second-place honors.

Oklahoma moved their season record to 2-0 with a 193.300 to 191.000 victory against the University of Illinois-Chicago last Saturday in Chicago, Ill. This was the first of two meetings between these teams this season.

Redshirt freshman Leticia Ishii claimed her first collegiate all-around title with a score of 39.100 against U.I.C., while seniors Amber McCracken (39.050) and Ginger Russell (39.025) followed closely with second and third place honors.

Russell's razzle-dazzle performances scored her both the vault and balance beam titles for the Sooners. McCracken and Russell were the only gymnasts to win two events overall. Both Ishii and McCracken dominated remaining competition finishing in the top three on the floor, uneven parallel bars and vault events. U.I.C.'s Kim Ball tied McCracken for first place in the vault scoring 9.750.

Leticia Ishii's dynamic performance against Illinois-Chicago landed her the Big 12 Gymnast of the Week award.

Ishii posted her career and season highs against U.I.C. in every event with an all-around title (39.100), second-place finishes on vault (9.825), floor exercise (9.800) and third-place finishes on bars (9.725) and beam (9.750).

The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native has finished in the top three in the all-around, vault, bars and floor in the past two competitions. Also a standout in the classroom, Ishii was one of four Sooners to be named an Academic All-American last season carrying a 4.0 grade point average.

Amber McCracken's sights are set to move up in the women's gymnastics national poll which will be released this week. McCracken was listed as the No. 5 vaulter in the country Jan. 18. She recorded two first-place finishes in the vault event in both the T.W.U. and U.I.C. meets.

McCracken led the O.U. squad to a second- place Team V ranking in the same poll conducted by the Troester website. Both national, regional and conference rankings can be found at www.troester.com.