NORMAN, Okla. - Head Coach K.J. Kindler and the reigning Big 12 Champion Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad announced the signing of three gymnasts to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.
 
Oklahoma native Bethany Neubauer (Edmond, Okla.), Kayla Nowak (Algonquin, Ill.) and Brie Olson (St. Cloud, Minn.) will join the Sooners next fall.

When asked about her philosophy in targeting prospects for the 2009 recruiting class, Kindler responded, "the intention of our staff was to recruit all-around athletes who were particularly dynamic on bars and vault. In addition, we were looking for strong leadership and many other intangibles such as drive, motivation and focus.  We believe these women have it all, including a well built foundation and the support of their family, coaches and friends. The character they will bring to the OU squad will only enhance the team chemistry and their physical talents will assist our program in taking the next step."

 2008 Women's Gymnastics Signing Class | Photos Recruiting Trip Photos
Bethany Neubauer 
Edmond, Okla .
Kayla Nowak
Algonquin, Ill.
Brie Olson
St. Cloud, Minn.


"This entire class (and their families) has displayed a certain amount of sacrifice when it comes to their dedication to gymnastics," added Kindler. "Both Kayla and Brie travel a considerable distance to their workout gyms each day (approximately two hours roundtrip) while Bethany's family relocated to Oklahoma in order to continue training with her current coaches Dennis and Shannon Harrison (Dynamo Gymnastics), who moved to Oklahoma City from Kansas City, Kan.  All three athletes train over 25 hours each week in addition to any travel time to and from the gym." 


 

 
 Bethany Neubauer | Edmond. Okla. 

High Scores
Floor - 9.70   
Bars - 9.75     
Beam - 9.7 
Vault - 9.85 
AA - 38.45

Favorite Event: bars

   

Edmond, Okla., native Bethany Neubauer trains out of Dynamo Gymnastics, the same club gym as Oklahoma junior Kristin Smith.  Coached by Dennis and Shannon Harrison, Neubauer was the Level 10 Oklahoma state champion in 2008.

The daughter of Matthew and Natalie Neubauer, Beth will graduate from Edmond North High School this spring.  One of four children (Sarah, Luke and Cassie), Beth was the 2006 Level 10 Regional beam and vault champion. 

"I loved the coaches and the other gymnasts," said Neubauer, on her decision to sign with Oklahoma. "It is a great school and I love how the team is like a big family. I will have three previous teammates from my club gyms already there, so I have built-in friendships established. OU is also close to home so I know I will have the support of my family and friends the whole time."

Asked about her recruiting visit to Oklahoma, Neubauer responded, "I was most impressed about how much they want me to succeed. They will do everything they can to help me with anything I need to excel in academics, gymnastics and life."  

Said her parents, "We are so proud of her and pleased that she chose OU for her collegiate academic and gymnastics experience.  Bethany's hard work, dedication and discipline have given her the opportunity to go to one of the best state schools in the country.  We are excited to be close enough to OU for us to attend the home meets and support our daughter in the stands."

Kindler on Beth Neubauer:

Bethany will be a hometown favorite from right up the road in Edmond, Okla. Beth is technically precise and clean in her execution and will be an immediate asset to the Sooners on all four events.  She is a diligent worker, very often training twice a day in the gym and has had the opportunity to lead a group of young team members at Dynamo Gymnastics. Her entire family has been involved in  gymnastics, with her siblings competing and her mother coaching preschool children. It is especially exciting to keep the very best athletes from Oklahoma right here at OU.  I know her family, coaches, friends and teammates will be cheering her on as she takes on new challenges in the Big 12 and NCAA gymnastics.

 


 

 
Kayla Nowak | Algonquin, Ill. |  Signing Day Article

High Scores
Floor - 9.675
Bars - 9.6 
Beam - 9.475
Vault - 9.8
AA - 38.25

Favorite Event: to train - bars, to compete - floor.

   

Kayla Nowak will enter the Oklahoma program from Algonquin, Ill., where she trains at the Illinois Gymnastics Institute under Amy Blackburn, Todd Gardiner, Steve Lopaki and Gina Wills.  The daughter of Scott and Donna Nowak, Kayla placed second in the all-around at the 2008 Illinois state meet after top-three standings on all four apparatuses.  

At the ’08 Junior Olympic Regional meet, Nowak finished second on floor en route to a 10th-place finish in the all-around.  A year prior, Nowak stood ninth in the all-around at JO National’s thanks to top-five finishes on floor (third) and vault (fourth). 

“OU was the place for me,” exclaimed Nowak. “Everything about it was welcoming. I love the coaches and the great environment that OU has to offer. The campus was beautiful and the girls were a great fit for me.”  

"It is truly a reward of all her hard work," added her parents.

Earning a Citizenship Award and a spot in the National Honor Society, Nowak was named to the Principals Honor Roll all four years at Huntley HS. Nowak was also recruited by Denver, Illinois, Michigan, Stanford and Utah.

Kindler on Kayla Nowak:
Kayla impacted me immediately with her outgoing personality and obvious motivation to be her absolute best.  She can perform every release move in the book on bars and will be a big score for the Sooners on this event.  Kayla's energy is electric and she 'rocks' in the leadership category (she is a member of the 'link crew' at her high school to assist with acclimating freshmen students to high school).  She is a master organizer who is involved in everything...from working at the polls on election day, to car pool driver, to student and gymnast. 

 


 

 
 Brie Olson | St. Cloud, Minn.

High Scores
Floor- 9.65    
Bars- 9.7      
Beam-9.55   
Vault-9.750   
AA-38.425

Favorite Event: I like to train beam, but I love to compete bars!

   

Brie Olson, a Level 10 gymnast from Rocori High School in St. Cloud, Minn., trains at Twin City Twisters under the guidance of Mike Hunger, Rich Stanger, Sammy Wozney and Kim Wozniak. A recent addition to the JO National Team, Olson placed third in the all-around at the 2008 JO Nationals, highlighted by a tie for third on bars.

The daughter of Rob and Clare Olson, Brie garnered Minnesota's Junior Olympic Gymnastics Athlete of the Year award in 2008 after winning the Level 10 Regional Meet, capped off by event titles on bars, vault and floor. Olson was the Minnesota state champion on bars and vault in ’08 after capturing the all-around title in the 9-16 age bracket a year prior.

Also named Student of the Month during her prep career, Olson was recruited by Arizona, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, UCLA, and Utah.

On selecting Oklahoma, Olson responded, "I chose OU because I felt like it was the perfect fit. The girls and coaches are so nice. The team has a ton of talent and the potential to be No. 1. I was impressed how well the coaches and gymnasts worked together and was also impressed by all the help OU offers to student athletes." 

Brie's parents added, "We are extremely proud of Brie.  Even though OU is far from us, she is excited and following her dream. Also, K.J. (Kindler) is from Minnesota and there is no place like home."

Kindler on Brie Olson:

Brie is an incredibly dynamic athlete.  All her skills are done with amazing amplitude that definitely give her an edge in the 'wow' factor. She recently earned a spot on the JO National Team which places her amongst a very elite group of athletes in the USA.  Brie has a special perspective on life.  Her brother was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy and was only expected to live a short time after birth.  He has beat the odds and in doing so has become an inspiration to Brie.  I know that her strength and courage stems from a strong family bond and an admiration for her brother.  I believe she has been shaped through these experiences and will inspire all those around her to have the same positive outlook that she possesses.