NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team landed four members on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. Senior Leah Mueller earned her fourth such honor, while sophomores Katie Hostler, Melissa Smith and Tara Anderson all collected their first such accolade. OU was second behind Nebraska, which led the conference with five first-team selections.
Mueller, a human relations major, was the only gymnast in the Big 12 to maintain a perfect 4.00 grade point average in 2004. She has competed primarily on uneven bars for the past two seasons. A redshirt her freshman year, Mueller has been on the All-Big 12 Academic Team all four years of competition.
A native of St. Charles, Mo., Hostler is studying health and sports science and has competed in every meet this season primarily on the floor exercise and vault.
Anderson has been competing on three events this season, the uneven bars, balance beam and vault. The Phoenix, Ariz., native is an elementary education major.
Finally, Smith is another two-event competitor for the Sooners performing on the balance beam and uneven bars. She is a business major and came to OU from King, N.C.
“First of all, I am obviously very proud of our girls academically as a team,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno. “Last semester they had the highest GPA this program has seen and it is great to see these girls trying to be the best they can be in the gym and in school.
“This is a testament of their great work ethic and of them achieving their goals. The team has been great this year in competition and it is nice to see that they are successful in the classroom as well.”
Nominated by each institution’s director of student-athlete support services and the media relations offices, the women’s gymnastics academic all-league squad consisted of 13 first-team members combined with five on the second team. First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better grade-point average, while the second team are those who have a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify student-athletes must maintain the required grade point average as cumulative or over the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of her team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are eligible.
The No. 16 Sooners (11-9) begin postseason play on March 20 with the Big 12 Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by Iowa State.