Dec. 1, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. - The 2010 NCAA Runner-Up Oklahoma women's gymnastics squad debuted at No. 4 in the GymInfo preseason coaches poll released Wednesday, marking the highest preseason ranking in program history.
OU will start the 2011 season as the highest ranked team in the Big 12 conference as the Sooners aim to win their fourth-straight Big 12 Championship. Nebraska came in at No. 10 in the preseason poll, while Missouri and Iowa State debuted at No. 13 and No. 22 respectively.
OU has started the season ranked in the top-10 for six-straight seasons and the top-25 for 11 consecutive seasons. The Sooners have been ranked in the top-10 every season under current head coach K.J. Kindler.
Nine of OU's 14 opponents in 2011 made the preseason top-25, including Oregon State, Michigan and Nebraska that will start the season in the top-10.
"To have nine of our opponents ranked in the preseason top-25 is an exciting challenge," Kindler said. "Competing against these teams will help prepare us for the postseason and is truly a testament to the strength of our schedule."
OU trails reigning national champion UCLA, Alabama and Florida, who came in at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 respectively. The Sooners received two first place votes in the preseason poll.
OU returns nine gymnasts from last season's team, including two-time All-American Megan Ferguson and 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Natasha Kelley. OU's returnees won 14 individual event titles last season, including the Big 12 Co-Champions on vault, Brie Olson and Natalie Ratcliff.
The Sooners start their quest for a second-straight NCAA Super Six appearance on Jan. 7, as they face No. 11 Arkansas at Lloyd Noble Center at 7 p.m.