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Sooners Close Road Stand at Metroplex Challenge
January 27, 2010

Jan. 27, 2010

 


 No. 2 Oklahoma at Metroplex Challenge
 Date  Saturday, Jan. 30 | 7:30 p.m. (CT)
 Location  Dallas | Dallas Convention Center (4,500)
 Tickets  $15 - DCC Box Office (Day of the Meet Only)
 Live Stats  Metroplex Challenge (OU Routines Only)
 Online  None
 Meet Notes  Sooners 

DALLAS - The second-ranked OU women’s gymnastics squad closes its current three-meet road stand at the Metroplex Challenge in Dallas, Texas, on Jan. 30. The quad meet features Alaska-Anchorage, N.C. State and TWU alongside Oklahoma and begins at 7 p.m. (CT) inside the Dallas Convention Center.

Tickets to the event are $15 and can be purchased the day of the meet at the Dallas Convention Center Ticket Office.

The Sooners improved to 3-0 on the year with a 196.650-194.425 win at No. 25 Illinois on Jan. 23, in Champaign, Ill.  The victory was Oklahoma’s third straight over a top-25 opponent to begin the 2010 campaign.  Two of those victories have come on the road, where the Sooners have excelled again.  Last season, OU was the only school in the country to have its top two scores in road meets. 

OU won team titles in its final three events against the Fighting Illini, including a season-high 49.500 on beam in its best team score since Feb. 27, 2009. Oklahoma’s beam tally was its second highest event total under Kindler, just behind OU’s 49.525 on beam at TWU on Jan. 17, 2009.

Live scoring of OU’s routines from the Metroplex Challenge can be found on SoonerSports.com. 

Oklahoma Roster | 2010 Schedule and Results | Intro Video

WEEKEND ACTION AROUND THE BIG 12 
Friday, Jan. 29:
Michigan and BYU @ Iowa State - 7 p.m. (CT)  

Saturday, Jan. 30:
Missouri @ Nebraska - 7:30 p.m. (CT)  


 

MEET NOTES:

KNOW THE FOE
Oklahoma and TWU have competed six times previously during K.J. Kindler’s tenure, with the Sooners winning every meeting.  OU is 55-3 all-time against the Pioneers dating back to the first meeting in 1984.    TWU returns 10 letterwinners from the 2009 squad that placed third at the Midwest Independent Conference Championship under Frank Kudlac, who enters his 33rd season with the Pioneers in 2010. 

OU and Alaska-Anchorage’s only previous meeting came in 1983, where the Sooners defeated the Seawolves by a score of 188.300-176.050.  Alaska returns all 10 letterwinners from last year’s Mountain Sports Pacific Federation title-winning squad. 

Saturday marks the first meeting between the Sooners and N.C. State.  The Wolfpack are the reigning champions of the East Atlantic Gymnastics League and return 11 letterwinners from 2009. 

“ON” THE ROAD AGAIN
The Sooners seek some of the same road success in 2010 that they have exhibited in recent years. On the young season, both of Oklahoma’s top scores have come in road competition, including a 196.650 at No. 25 Illinois in its last outing. 

Five of OU’s top seven scores (including a season-high 197.175 at TWU) came away from Norman in 2009, a year after five of Oklahoma’s top seven scores (including three of the top four and a season-best-tying 196.750 at Arkansas) came on the road.  Oklahoma was the only squad in the top 10 to have both of its top two scores from 2009 come in road competition.  OU’s 197.175-189.600 victory at TWU last season marked its best team score since Jan. 24, 2004 (197.300).

SEE YA SOON
Oklahoma and TWU have squared off 58 times entering the 2010 campaign, which is tied for the second-most meetings between OU and any opponent.  The Sooners have also faced Missouri 58 times, with Oklahoma holding a 47-11 lead in that series.  Fellow conference-rival Nebraska and OU have met 80 times since Oklahom's program was founded in 1981. 

REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 44-6 in the regular season under K.J. Kindler, including a perfect 3-0 mark in 2010.  The Sooners went 10-4 during the regular season in 2009, with three of those losses coming on the road (Florida, Nebraska and Alabama). 

DAZZLING DEBUT
Twenty-three of Oklahoma’s 72 routines this season have been performed by freshmen (.319), including exactly half of OU’s uneven bars routines (nine of 18).  The group is a perfect 23-of-23 on the year.  Each freshman that has competed has scored at least a 9.8 in one of their routines, while Natasha Kelley has already tallied four 9.85s. 

BEAM QUEENS
Just like last season’s second road meet of the season, the OU beam squad provided its breakout performance of the 2010 campaign in its second road outing at Illinois with a team tally of 49.500 on the apparatus. 

OU reeled off five straight 9.85s or better after a fall from the first position on beam at Illinois.  Vise and Smith shared event honors with 9.95s, while Ferguson (9.9), Kelley (9.85) and Nowak (9.85) completed a sweep of the individual event standings on the apparatus.  

Oklahoma’s beam tally was its second highest event total under Kindler, just behind OU’s 49.525 on beam at TWU on Jan. 17, 2009.

 
 SOONER TO WATCH

Hollie Vise | Sr. | UB-BB-FX 
The Dallas native returns to her hometown after posting career highs on beam (9.95 - tied personal best) and floor (9.825) at No. 25 Illinois on Jan. 23.

The current Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week is ranked first in the country on beam with a season average of 9.908 and sixth on bars with a 9.875 average.

   

RACKING UP THE TITLES
The Sooners have collected 20 of a possible 24 combined individual and team event titles in 2010, including at least six combined individual and team event wins in each meet.  OU has won every team event title on bars, beam and floor in 2010.  

COMING FROM BEHIND
OU trailed for the first time after any rotation this season as Illinois opened with a 49.100 on vault, to OU’s 49.000 start on bars.  The Sooners overtook the Fighting Illini during the next rotation and cruised to their eighth-straight win over Illinois, remaining undefeated in the series and posting the second-largest margin of victory in any meeting between the two programs (+2.255). 

NO “I” IN TEAM
OU has found a way to win lately despite the lack of a true all-around presence.  Oklahoma did not have an all-arounder compete against Florida or Auburn, while the Sooners were the only squad ranked in the final 2009 top-15 GymInfo poll without a gymnast in the top-25 all-around rankings.   

Freshman Kayla Nowak was a last-minute addition to the vault lineup at Illinois and placed second in her first collegiate all-around appearance.  Nowak was competing in her home state for the first time in collegiate competition.

IN ELITE COMPANY
The Sooners are one of just six squads to advance to the NCAA Championships every year since 2004, joining Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Utah on that elite list.  OU’s six championship appearances in the last six years matches the other three Big 12 programs combined during that period.  Nebraska advanced to the NCAA Championships from 2004-07, while Iowa State made back-to-back appearances in 2005 and 2006 under K.J. Kindler.      

VISE “FLOORS” CROWD IN SEASON OPENER
Strictly a bars and beam specialist during her first three seasons in Norman, Hollie Vise performed her first collegiate routine on floor against the Gators.  The Dallas, Texas, native scored a 9.825 on the apparatus, OU’s third-highest score on the event in the season opener.  

FAMILIAR FACES
Oklahoma’s meeting with Auburn on Jan. 15, marked the 18th time the Sooners have faced a team from the state of Alabama since 2003.  AU and OU have squared off on three occasions since ‘03, while Oklahoma has faced Alabama, the other collegiate squad from the Yellowhammer State, 15 times during that period. 

CONSISTENCY
The Sooners are the only school in the country that has not counted a score lower than 9.7 this season. 
Oklahoma has hit 70-of-72 routines on the year, with just a single miss on beam and floor.
   

SEC FAMILIARITY
OU will face four teams from the Southeastern Conference during the regular season, including two straight to begin the 2010 season.  The Sooners have already defeated top-10 foes in Florida and Auburn.  Oklahoma faces Alabama in Norman on March 5, in the eighth meeting between the two programs over the last four seasons, before travelling to Arkansas on March 19.  

SOONERS AGAINST THE SEC
Oklahoma is 6-18 against teams from the Southeastern Conference under fourth-year head coach K.J. Kindler.  That figure is skewed slightly as 17 of the 23 meetings have come in NCAA postseason competition against the upper echelon of the SEC.  The Sooners are 3-4 against SEC foes in the regular season, with wins over Auburn (2010), Florida (2010) and Arkansas (2008).  

HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 23-2 in Norman under fourth-year head coach K.J. Kindler.  OU’s only two losses at home have come against SEC opponents in Alabama and Arkansas.  Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008, while OU’s loss to Arkansas in the 2009 home opener marked Oklahoma’s only regular season home defeat in Kindler’s tenure.      

Among the 55 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford and West Virginia.   

CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2010
The back-to-back Big 12 Champions open the 2010 season ranked ninth in the GymInfo preseason coaches poll, the highest ranking of any conference squad.  The Sooners return 11 members from last season's group that clinched OU's second straight conference title. 

Headlining OU's returnees is sophomore All-American Megan Ferguson.  The Olathe, Kan., native capped off her stellar freshman campaign by garnering All-America status on beam at the 2009 NCAA Championships.  She became the first freshman in Big 12 history to win multiple event titles at the conference championship (bars and beam).

Other returnees include All-Big 12 selections in Jackie Flanery (floor - 2008), Melanie Root (vault - 2009), Kristin Smith (floor - 2009) and Hollie Vise (bars - 2008, beam - 2008, 2009).  The quartet has combined for nine Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors in the past two seasons.

Also returning in 2010 are event title winners Mary Mantle (Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week on Feb. 12, 2008, after her vault win at Denver) and Sara Stone (three vault titles in 2009).

This season also marks the final send-off for Julie Kramer, while other returnees include juniors Candace Cindell and Natalie Ratcliff.  Ratcliff was a mainstay in the vault and beam lineup a year ago.

OU gymnastics fans also will have their first chance to see Oklahoma's freshman class of Bethany Neubauer, Kayla Nowak, Brie Olson and Nitya Ramaswami. The class was recently ranked No. 9 in the country by CollegeGymFans.com.

FOLLOWING THE SOONERS
The OU gymnastics program maintains its own Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, which are updated frequently with all of the latest news about the squad.  Links to each of those pages can be found at www.SoonerSports.com, the official site of the Oklahoma Sooners. 

KINDLER TABS THREE TO 2011 CLASS
Head Coach K.J. Kindler announced the signing of three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent on Nov. 11, the first day of the early signing period.  All hailing from the Lone Star state, the trio of Lauren Alexander (Plano, Texas), Hope Bruce (Denton, Texas) and Taylor Spears (Plano, Texas) will cross the Red River to join the Sooners next fall.

Bruce is a Junior International Elite qualifier, while Alexander and Spears both excelled at JO Nationals prior to signing with the Sooners. 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If the old adage rings true, the Sooners should be on top of their game in 2010 as the team recently moved  into of the top training gyms in the entire country.  OU recently completed a state-of-the-art 7,000 square foot addition and a complete overhaul of the existing Sam Viersen Gymnastics Center for the men's and women's gymnastics squads. 

Funded entirely by private donations without the use of any state or university appropriated funds, the project included a complete renovation of the current gym, locker rooms, sports medicine training rooms and the awards recognition room.  A new storage area, a reconfiguration of foam and resi pits and an outdoor patio also highlighted the renovation.

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