March 21, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- The fifth-ranked Oklahoma women's gymnastics team will host No. 7 Utah, No. 17 Washington, New Hampshire, Missouri and North Carolina at the NCAA Norman Regional on April 2 at 4 p.m., at the Lloyd Noble Center, announced by the NCAA Monday.
"We are honored to welcome this extremely strong field to Norman for the first round of the Championships," OU Head Coach K.J. Kindler said. "The fans can expect to see some of the best gymnastics in the country.
"Utah has tremendous tradition and has set the bar for every other female sports program in the country in regards to attendance," Kindler added.
Norman is one of six regional sites with competition being held nationwide on April 2. The other five regional sites include Ann Arbor, Mich., (Michigan), Athens, Ga., (Georgia), Corvallis, Ore., (Oregon State), Denver, Colo., (Denver), and Tuscaloosa, Ala., (Alabama).
"I am looking forward to filling the stands in the Lloyd Noble Center," Kindler said. "We are aiming for a record crowd of over 3,000 people. The fan support will play a role in this Championship, and we certainly want to have that advantage."
The top two teams from each regional will advance to the 2011 NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 15-17.
Tickets for the Norman regional are $12 for general admission, $8 for youth and OU students and $5 for groups of 10 or more. Fans can order tickets online at SoonerSports.com or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405)325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU.
The Sooners open the meet on floor, receiving their rotation via a blind draw conducted by the NCAA office. OU's rotation order will be floor, vault, bye, bars, beam, bye. The individual all-arounder competing with Oklahoma is Brittany Johnson of Texas Woman's.
|Official NCAA Regional Annoucement | PDF of all competitors|
Oklahoma (17-1) received the No. 1 seed for the Norman regional with its No. 5 ranking in the latest national poll released Monday. The Sooners clinched their third perfect regular season in four years on March 11 with a 196.875-194.800 win over Michigan State.
OU finished second at the 2011 Big 12 Championship with a 196.500, behind No. 10 Nebraska's 196.775. Three OU gymnasts won individual Big 12 titles. Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley tied for the beam title with a pair of 9.925s on the event, while Kayla Nowak won a share of the floor title with a 9.9.
The Sooners have wins over 10 top 25 teams, including three in the top 10, this season. OU has eight gymnasts ranked in the top 25 over four events. Ferguson is No. 5 on beam and No. 22 on floor, Kelley is No. 6 on beam and No. 11 on bars, Sara Stone is No. 11 on vault and No. 22 on floor, Nowak is No. 12 on floor while Taylor Spears is No. 17 on beam.
OU has qualified for seven-straight NCAA Championships, one of just five schools in the country to do so (joining Alabama, Florida, LSU and Utah).
Utah (8-3) is the No. 2 seed and is currently ranked No. 7 nationally with a 196.570 regional qualifying score (RQs). Utah is one of the most-storied programs in women's gymnastics history. The Utes have won a record 10 national championships and have been the runner-up eight times. Utah has a record 312 All-Americans in school history and is the only team in the NCAA to qualify for every NCAA Championship (35 times).
The Utes average home attendance in 2011 was over 13,000 and Utah hosted the largest crowd in women's gymnastics history with 15,558 in attendance for the Utes meet vs. No. 1 Florida on March 4, 2011.
Utah's three losses this season were to No. 1 Florida, No. 3 Oregon State and No. 4 Stanford.
Washington (16-10) earned the No. 3 seed in the Norman regional and is currently ranked No. 17 in the country. The Huskies tied their program-best finish at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships last Saturday, placing third behind No. 3 Oregon State and No. 6 UCLA.
The Huskies scored a 196.025 in the Pac-10 championship meet, it was the second time this season that UW broke the 196 mark. Washington posted its season-high beam score at the conference championship as well with a 49.275 on the apparatus.
New Hampshire (17-10) the No. 4 seed is coming off a second-place finish at the 2011 East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) championship last Saturday. With their second-place finish, the Wildcats gave head coach Gail Goodspeed her 500th career victory with UNH.
The Wildcats' finish at the EAGL championship meet was its best finish since winning the conference championship in 2003.
Missouri (9-9) is seeded fifth for the Norman regional. The Tigers finished fourth at the 2011 Big 12 Championship with a 194.975, trailing No. 10 Nebraska, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 21 Iowa State.
Mizzou's Mary Burke won the Big 12 all-around title with a 39.300. Burke is currently ranked in the top 30 nationally in the all-around with a 39.155 RQS. Burke's high score in the all-around this season was a 39.450.
North Carolina (18-7) earned the No. 6 seed for the Norman regional after the Tar Heels won their second-straight EAGL Championship last Saturday with a 195.300.
The Tar Heels were seeded fifth in the conference championship, becoming the lowest seed to win the title in EAGL history.