Nichols' Record Night Fuels Sooners

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Chelsey Kraft
By Chelsey Kraft
Assistant Director of Communications
JANUARY 21, 2017
Oklahoma
197.925
195.550
West Virginia
Team Scores
  Vault Bars Beam Floor
OU 49.550 49.250 49.475 49.650
WVU 48.950 48.800 48.600 49.200
Event Winners
Event Gymnast Score
Vault Maggie Nichols (OU) 10.0
Bars Maggie Nichols (OU) 9.925
Beam Maggie Nichols (OU) 9.975
Floor Maggie Nichols (OU) 9.975
AA Maggie Nichols (OU) 39.875
OU Team Highs
Event Gymnast Score
Vault Maggie Nichols 10.0
Bars Maggie Nichols 9.925
Beam Maggie Nichols 9.975
Floor Maggie Nichols 9.975
AA Maggie Nichols 39.875

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — For the first time this season, the No. 1 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team hit the road, taking on Big 12 opponent West Virginia. The Sooners handled the challenge well, rolling to a 197.925 to 195.550 victory against the Mountaineers on Saturday night inside WVU Coliseum.

The meet was highlighted by an incredible performance from freshman Maggie Nichols, whose 39.875 set the OU program record. Nichols soared to the highest score of the meet on each event, posting her first 10.0 as a Sooner on vault with her Yurchenko 1 1/2. She also added marks of 9.975 on both floor and beam and 9.925 on bars en route to the record.

According to records from RoadtoNationals.com dating back to 1998, Nichols’ all-around score ties the best ever by a freshman. Both April Burkholder of LSU and Ashley Kelly of Arizona State set the mark on March 21, 2003.

"The meet was magical. I could see our team completely unified and fighting for every tenth. Truly extraordinary," OU head coach K.J. Kindler said. "What can you say about Maggie's performance?" Kindler continued. "Her first collegiate 10.0 and an all-around school record. What a night!"

As the road team, the Sooners opened the meet on bars. After some uncharacteristic mistakes, OU recorded a season low on the event but still took a 49.250 to 48.950 lead into the second rotation. Nichols scored a 9.925 as the anchor, her third score of at least 9.925 on bars this season. Sophomore Nicole Lehrmann recorded a solid 9.9 in the No. 3 spot, and junior Stefani Catour tallied a 9.875 as the second competitor.

The Sooners next moved to vault, where they responded by tallying a season-best 49.550, matching the eighth-best total on the event in program history.

Nichols became the second true freshman in program history to post a 10.0 on any event, joining teammate Brenna Dowell, who recorded one on bars in 2014. The vault was the eighth perfect one in OU history, the second in the nation this season and the first-ever by a visiting team inside WVU Coliseum.

"Tonight went amazing," Nichols said. "I was just really excited for my first away meet and I just wanted to help the Sooners out best as best as I could and go out and hit all my routines like I've been doing in practice. I'm just really happy with how I performed."

OU enjoyed four scores of at least 9.9 on the apparatus, including a pair of 9.9s from Capps and Dowell in the third and fourth spots, respectively. Junior AJ Jackson took just a small hop on her landing but earned a big 9.95. In the No. 2 spot, freshman Jade Degouveia became the 11th Sooner to appear in the OU lineup so far this season as she scored a 9.8 in her debut in the Crimson and Cream.

On floor, the Sooners picked up right where they left off, with all six competitors scoring at least a 9.85 on their way to a huge 49.650, the highest mark in the nation this season and tied for the fifth-best total in program history.

Senior Charity Jones opened the rotation with a 9.875, and junior Natalie Brown followed with a 9.85. The Sooners continued to build from there, with Dowell recording a 9.9, Capps and Jackson both tallying season-best 9.95s and Nichols closing with a big 9.975. Jackson's score also matched her career high.

The Sooners concluded the meet on a solid note, scoring a 49.475 on beam. Jones contributed a 9.825 as the leadoff on the event, while Catour added an identical mark in the No. 3 spot. Brown posted a 9.9, and Nichols scored a meet-best 9.975. Capps was her usual steady self on beam, earning a 9.95 for her beautiful routine.

Up next, the Sooners will face a Big 12 foe on the road for a second straight weekend, taking on Iowa State at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday, Jan. 27, in Ames, Iowa. The Oklahoma wrestling team will compete at the same time as the meet is part of Iowa State’s Beauty and the Beast event.

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