April 7, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. –The second-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team won the 2012 NCAA Champaign Regional Saturday as the top-seeded Sooners posted a team score of 197.025 at Assembly Hall to advance to the 2012 NCAA Championships, April 20-22, in Duluth, Ga.
Two-seeded Stanford finished in second place with a 196.675, and will join the Sooners at NCAA Championships. Host Illinois finished in third with a 195.725 followed by Denver (194.875), Kentucky (194.750) and Illinois-Chicago (194.150) respectively.
Oklahoma (24-3, 2-0 Big 12) advanced to its ninth-straight NCAA Championships and won its third straight regional title with its first place finish Saturday, despite losing another gymnast (Hayden Ward) to a season-ending injury in the first routine of the night.
“I can’t begin to tell the team how proud we are of them,” OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. “They have overcome so much this season. In the first routine of the meet tonight we had another season-ending injury. For them to come back and fight the way they did was nothing short of magical. There are few teams that have experience a season so riddled with injuries.”
The Sooners added their eighth score of 197 or better this season as senior Megan Ferguson won the floor title outright with a 9.925 on the apparatus and won a share of the beam title with a 9.9.
Ferguson was also announced as the 2012 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year following the meet.
“I am so proud of them for sticking together and following through,” Kindler added. “We had so many people step up tonight. The entire bar squad had to really be tough after that injury. That was probably our best floor set of the year. Haley Sorensen stepped in on vault for the first time ever in her career and of course the usual suspects who keep doing it week-in and week-out.”
The top two teams from the other five regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships along with OU and Stanford.
NCAA Championships begins with two semifinals made up of six teams on Friday, April 20. The top three teams from each semifinal will compete in the NCAA Super Six on Saturday, April 21, for the 2012 national title.
Semifinal pairings are determined based on the National Qualifying Score (NQS) which is calculated by adding the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) to the team’s score during regional competition.
Once the NQS is calculated, teams are ranked based on their NQS from one to 12. The 1, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 12 seeded teams are placed in one session, while teams 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 are in the other.
OU posted a 49.150 on bars in the first rotation after a shaky start in the first two spots of the lineup.
Ward posted a 9.775 in the first routine but suffered a season-ending injury during the landing, while Spears followed with a 9.7 after a large step on the landing.
The Sooners recovered with four straight scores of 9.8 or higher, capped by a team-best 9.9 from Ferguson in the anchor position.
Candace Cindell posted a 9.85, her second-best career score, while Olson added a 9.825 and Brewer scored a 9.8.
The Sooners posted a 49.325 on beam in the second rotation to give OU a team total of 98.475 going into the bye before floor.
OU counted five scores of 9.825 or better on beam, including a pair of 9.875s from Olson and Stone and a 9.9 from Ferguson in the final routine of the lineup.
OU held first place at the halfway mark with the 98.475, in front of two-seed Stanford with a 98.025 and four-seed Illinois with a 97.775.
The Sooners tied their second-best score on floor this season with a 49.450 on the apparatus in the third rotation. Ferguson led the team with a 9.925 in the anchor position while Lara Albright and Spears both added career-highs of 9.9.
OU started floor with Albright’s career-high 9.9 in the opening routine. Albright’s previous best on the event was a 9.85, last set on Feb. 24 against Michigan and TWU.
Spears added another career-best routine for OU with her 9.9 in the third routine. Spears’ previous best was a 9.875 last set on Feb. 10 at the Perfect 10 Challenge.
OU added three additional scores of 9.8 or better to boost its first-place-lead, OU went into the fifth rotation with a team score of 147.925.
The Sooners ended the night with a 49.100-showing on vault, capped by a 9.875 from Stone.
OU added three additional scores of 9.8 or better from Spears (9.8), Mooring (9.825) and Olson (9.85).
Freshman Haley Sorensen scored a 9.7 in the final routine of the night in her first appearance in the vault lineup after stepping in for the injured Ward.