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Nunno Finalizes Class with Mantle
April 12, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team and head coach Steve Nunno are proud to announce the signing of Mary Mantle of Bellevue, Colo., to a National Letter of Intent.

Mantle is a fourth cousin to baseball legend Mickey Mantle.  Her great-great grandfather was the brother of Mickey Mantle’s grandfather.

She is the two-time reigning champion in Colorado in the all-around and has won five individual vault titles at Level 10.  In this year’s championships, she recorded a career-best 37.025 in the all-around to earn first-place honors and also added an individual title on vault and floor exercise, while finishing second on the uneven bars.

“We are really excited that Mary has signed with us,” said head coach Steve Nunno.  “She has ties with Oklahoma and is the distant relative of the great Mickey Mantle.  She is a strong competitor and really performs well in the classroom.  I think she will be a great fit for the program.”

Mantle will join the Sooners next season and will look to make an immediate impact in all four events.  She is currently a senior at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo., and plans on majoring in business in the fall.

The 5’-4” gymnast trained at GK Gymnastics where vault proved to be her best event.  Her most memorable moment in gymnastics was when she won the 2004 JO National Championships on vault.  Following the win, she had a skill on the apparatus named after her called the “Mantle”.

"Mary is very solid on vault, bars and floor and will fill in the gaps from the loss of our three seniors,” Nunno said.  “She has a lot of enthusiasm and is excited to be attending Oklahoma."

Mantle most recently qualified for the USA Gymnastics JO National Championships which will be held on April 28-30 in Oklahoma City at the Cox Convention Center. She qualified for the event by sharing a title in one event and finishing fifth in the all-around at the regional championships last month in Plano, Texas.

She tied for first place in floor exercise for Level 10 senior girls with a score of 9.5, placed third in the vault at 9.55 and fourth on the uneven parallel bars at 9.325. She finished with an all-around score of 36.350.

Mantle fills out a group of newcomers that make up arguably the best signing class in program history.  She will join Hollie Vise and Kristen Smith on next season’s squad. 

Vise, a native of Dallas, Texas, is the current World Champion on uneven bars and a four-time National Champion.  Smith, a native of Oklahoma City, has been a level 10 gymnast for five years and is the Oklahoma state champion.  She was a member of Dynamo Gymnastics where she trained under the tutelage of head coach Steve Nunno.

“This just finalizes an excellent recruiting class we have coming in next year,” Nunno said.  “We add three talented newcomers in Hollie, Kristen and now Mary to an already experienced team.”   

The Sooners will be heading to their third consecutive NCAA National Championships on April 20-22 in Corvallis, Ore. at the Gill Coliseum.  Oklahoma will be competing in session I on Thursday, April 20, with Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, LSU and Utah.  The top three teams will move on to compete in the “Super Six” on Friday, April 21.

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