NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 3 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team posted its highest season-opening score in program history Friday night, earning a 197.700-196.500 victory over the No. 8 Georgia Gym Dogs in Norman. An energetic crowd of 2,007 fans cheered the Sooners on to victory at the Lloyd Noble Center.
"I was very excited about the energy in building," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "The crowd was amazing and we were really fortunate to have all those people come out so we hope everyone comes out again next week and continue to follow our team. It was incredible out there.”
A dynamic team effort paved the way for OU's victory, with a mix of seasoned upperclassmen and energetic freshmen contributing to the victory. Sophomore Haley Scaman earned titles on vault (9.95) and floor (9.95), and Erica Brewer captured the uneven bars (9.925) and all-around (39.450) titles. Kindler's beam squad shone again, with Rebecca Clark, Madison Mooring and Taylor Spears tying for top honors (9.925).
"This is huge for us," Kindler added. "This is something that will definitely build their confidence for down the road, and it’s only the beginning. It’s hard to remember that because all those great feelings of getting out there and competing are coming back. The anticipation of it is so great and you want that first time out to be amazing. I feel phenomenal about it."
The Sooners opened with an explosive 49.475 performance on vault, led by a trio of talented sophomore performances. Scaman led the way at the No. 5 spot with a career-high 9.95, while Keeley Kmieciak and Maile'ana Kanewa each contributed gorgeous 9.9s.
Chayse Capps was fearless in her first performance as a Sooner, picking up a 9.875, and all-arounder Brewer started the night right with a 9.85.
The Gym Dogs posted a 49.250 on bars in their first rotation, giving OU a 49.475-49.250 lead after one event.
OU followed with a solid 49.350 outing on bars. Anchor and returning All-American Brewer led the way with a high-flying 9.925, and Kmieciak continued her outstanding evening with a 9.9 lead-off. OU's second returning bars All-American Clark made her presence known with a 9.875, while McKenzie Wofford continued a night of freshman excellence with a 9.85.
Paced by 9.9 routines from Brandie Jay and Lindsey Cheek, the Gym Dogs picked up a 49.250 on vault for a running total of 98.500. With two events down and two to go, the Sooners led Georgia by a mark of 98.825-98.500.
Experience was the winner of the day on balance beam, with a trio of upperclassmen leading the way to a 49.375. Mooring sparked her team on the event with a 9.925 in the No. 3 spot, and Spears and Clark matched her efforts with identical 9.925s. OU's depth on the event was evident, as powerful returners Kmieciak and Brewer each picked up 9.8 routines to aid the Sooners.
Georgia's Cat Hires posted a 9.85 on floor exercise to lead the Gym Dogs on the event. With only one rotation remaining, Oklahoma held a 148.200-147.525 advantage on the night.
Oklahoma finished strong on floor, coming back from a tough first performance to earn an outstanding 49.500. Scaman led the way in the anchor position with her second 9.95, capping an incredible opening meet for the sophomore. Capps didn't miss a beat in the No. 3 spot, making her 9.9 routine look effortless. Spears earned a 9.9 as well, while Brewer and Mooring each added 9.875 performances.
The Gym Dogs closed their evening with a 48.975, giving the squad a 196.500 overall. The Sooners powered past Georgia to go 1-0 on the season.
"It was awesome," Brewer said. "When we started on vault, I could feel a major vibe and it was incredible. There isn’t anything that can describe it. To start the season like this? It is just amazing. We can only go up from here and I can’t wait to see where this takes us.”
The Sooners will remain in Norman next weekend, facing conference foe Iowa State at the Lloyd Noble Center on Friday, Jan. 17. The meet is slated for a 6:45 p.m. start and will be broadcast live on SoonerSportsTV.