NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team will make its fourth NCAA National Championship appearance April 15-17 in Los Angeles, Calif., at Pauley Pavilion at UCLA.
The No. 5 Sooners will participate in session I on Thursday, April 15 at 3 p.m., (CST) along with No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 Florida, No. 9 Stanford, No. 11 Nebraska and No. 19 Iowa. OU has faced all five teams in its session, holding a record of 2-5 against them this season.
The top three teams will advance onto the “Super Six” on Friday, April 16 at 9 p.m., (CST) against the top three teams from session II. The schools in the second session include No. 1 Utah, No. 3 LSU, No. 4 UCLA, No. 7 Alabama, No. 10 Arizona State and No. 11 Michigan. Saturday features the event finals with the top eight from both of Thursday’s sessions (including ties) competing for individual NCAA Championships at 9 p.m. (CST).
“The main thing going into this competition is that we know what to expect because we have met all these teams this season,” said Oklahoma head coach Steve Nunno. “The challenging schedule has paid off and this team has come a long way throughout this season. That is especially true over the last couple of meets where you can tell they are more comfortable competing.”
OU has only made three NCAA Championship appearances prior to the 2004 season with the last one coming in 2001 during Nunno’s first season. The other two representations occurred in 1989 and 1985 with the ninth place finish during the 1989 season as the school’s best finish.
“Ultimately, how we finish on April 15 comes down to us hitting all our routines because that is the key to advancing to the next day,” Nunno said. The one difference between this team and my past squads is that we have a wind in our sail after winning the past two meets (Big 12 and Regionals) and the girls’ confidence is high.
“This year we are not just happy to be at nationals, we have a goal of doing what no other team in the program’s history has done. All the pieces are in place, this team has the depth that has been lacking in recent years and the team is confident in their ability to succeed.”
In its 24th year of existence, the Sooners have made 21 postseason appearances, but until last weekend at Oregon State, OU had failed to capture a first place finish at a NCAA Regional.
Click Here for more information on the 2004 NCAA Championhips hosted by UCLA.
A complete team effort allowed the Sooners to advance further into the postseason and below are some of the team and individual highlights that keyed the victory at the 2004 NCAA West Regional:
* The 197.100 score was the Sooners’ second highest score of the season (197.300 at TWU).
* The Sooners’ 49.425 on the beam was a season-high.
* The Sooners outscored the opposition on the uneven bars and balance beam.
* In two events, the floor and beam, OU did not count a score lower than a 9.850 and did not count a score lower than a 9.750 throughout the whole competition.
* OU hit 23 out of 24 routines in the regional meet.
* Alabama’s second place finish was the first time in six years that the Crimson Tide did not win their region.
* Senior co-captain KasieTamayo won the uneven bars with a 9.900.
* Tamayo also finished fourth in the all-around with a 39.475.
* Freshman Ashley Cooney performed solid on the balance beam taking first place with a career-high 9.950.
* Cooney also positioned herself in second place in the all-around with a 39.525, also a career-high.
* Junior Erin LaBarr was also solid for the Sooners finishing tied for third on floor with a 9.900 (tied career high).
* LaBarr was also sixth in the all-around with a 39.425, 0.025 short of tying a career high.