Feb. 3, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma men's and women's gymnastics team will host the University of Nebraska this Friday, Feb. 4, at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Sooner gymnastics legends Kelly Garrison and Bart Conner, former Olympians and NCAA champions, will also take center stage as OU will pay tribute to the duo in a dedication ceremony before the start of the competition.
The fourth-ranked Oklahoma men's team, 4-2 on the year, will face eighth-ranked NU for the second time this season. In their last meeting, the Sooners placed second (222.875) behind Nebraska (222.975) at the Rocky Mountain Open. The Sooners will rely on freshman Daniel Furney to continue posting high scores on each event. Furney is currently ranked second nationally in the all-around. Nebraska will be lead by senior All-American Marshall Nelson, who is currently ranked first nationally on the horizontal bar, and Derek Leiter on the vault and in the all-around. Oklahoma's other key contenders will be juniors Steve Van Etten and Brendan O'Neil. Van Etten and O'Neil are two of nine OU men's gymnasts ranked among the nation's top 20 gymnasts. Cornhusker Jason Hardabura, the 1999 NCAA all-around and floor exercise champion, will miss competition for the second straight week due to a lower-back injury.
In its first Big 12 dual meet this season, the OU women's squad, ranked 15th nationally, looks to move its overall record to 4-0. Nebraska holds a season record of 8-3 and is 2-0 in Big 12 action. Oklahoma continues to dominate its opponents in every event. The Sooners garnered 10 of 12 event titles in their last three outings, including three all-around top finishes. Senior Amber McCracken and Leticia Ishii will lead the Sooners. McCracken holds two all-around titles for the season, while Ishii has claimed one to her credit. Nebraska's newcomer A.J. Lamb and senior Heather Brink, both named Big 12 Gymnasts of the Week this season, will head the Husker lineup of 10 gymnasts. Lamb made her home debut last Saturday winning three events and claiming the all-around title in NU's victory over Missouri, 195.70-194.325. OU will also keep its sights on the performance of Ginger Russell, who rallied to win two event titles on the balance beam and the floor exercise in route to Oklahoma's win over Texas Woman's last Saturday. Russell is currently listed 14th nationally on the floor exercise. The Cornhuskers, who are ranked sixth in the nation, defeated the Sooners in their last meeting, 196.750 to 194.675, at the Big 12 Championships last year.