|2017 Big 12 Champions|
|Vault||Maggie Nichols (OU)||10.0|
|Bars||Brenna Dowell (OU), Maggie Nichols (OU), McKenzie Wofford (OU)||9.95|
|Beam||Natalie Brown (OU), Chayse Capps (OU)||9.925|
|Floor||AJ Jackson (OU)||9.95|
|AA||Chayse Capps (OU)||39.625|
|OU Team Highs|
|Bars||Brenna Dowell, Maggie Nichols, McKenzie Wofford||9.95|
|Beam||Natalie Brown, Chayse Capps||9.925|
FRISCO, Texas — For the sixth consecutive season, the Oklahoma Sooners are the Big 12 Champions.
Top-ranked Oklahoma recorded a 197.850 to take the title. Conference affiliate member and seventh-ranked Denver took second with a 196.475, while No. 22 West Virginia finished third with a 195.575. Iowa State rounded out the standings with a score of 195.500. The meet was held inside Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas.
The Big 12 Conference title is the 10th in program history for OU and the ninth under 11th-year head coach K.J. Kindler. OU is the first team to ever win more than three consecutive Big 12 titles.
"It's really exciting, but what's really exciting is to see the freshmen do it for the first time," Kindler said of the title streak. "For some of these other young ladies, they've been there and done that before, but this is their first taste of it and their first taste of championship season, and it's so fun to watch their faces light up in this kind of environment. It was also exciting to compete in front of such an energetic crowd."
The Sooners swept the individual conference titles. Freshman Maggie Nichols earned the vault honor with a perfect 10.0 and shared the bars title with teammates Brenna Dowell and McKenzie Wofford after they recorded a trio of 9.95s.
On beam, senior Chayse Capps and junior Natalie Brown split the crown with 9.925s, while junior AJ Jackson claimed the top spot on floor with a 9.95. Capps also took the all-around title for the second straight season, scoring a 39.625.
With the three wins on Saturday, the Sooners now hold an 18-0 record on the season, including a 13-0 mark against ranked foes.
Following the conclusion of the meet, Big 12 yearly awards were announced as well. Capps was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year for the second straight year, and Jackson was recognized as the Event Specialist of the Year for the second time in her career, also earning the award in 2015. Nichols earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Year status. Kindler was also recognized as the conference's coach of the year along with Denver’s Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart. This marks Kindler’s 11th Big 12 Coach of the Year honor of her career and eighth at Oklahoma.
OU opened the meet on beam for the first time this season and jumped out to an early lead with a strong 49.450. Denver added a 49.075 on floor, West Virginia a 49.050 on vault and Iowa State a 48.750 on bars in the first rotation.
Brown and Capps paced the Sooners with identical marks of 9.925, which matched a season best for Brown. Sophomore Nicole Lehrmann and junior Stefani Catour added back-to-back 9.875s in the second and third spots, respectively, while senior Charity Jones and Nichols both posted totals of 9.85.
"It was so important for us to start on balance beam that way. It set the tone for the meet," Kindler said. "We haven't started on balance beam yet this year, so I was really excited to see them perform that way. It brought tears to my eyes."
At the midway point, the Sooners held a 0.675 lead after recording a 49.375 on floor. Denver was on vault, West Virginia on bars and Iowa State on beam in the rotation, posting totals of 49.075, 48.550 and 48.775, respectively.
Jackson anchored the rotation with a huge 9.95, the seventh straight meet the junior has scored at least a 9.95 on the event. In the No. 5 spot, Capps contributed a 9.9, while Brown and senior Nicole Turner posted consecutive 9.85s. Sophomore Brenna Dowell recorded a 9.825 as the fourth competitor.
The Sooners maintained their lead with a 49.400 on vault. The rotation was highlighted by a 10.0 for Nichols, the second of her career on vault. The perfect score was her sixth overall this season, giving her the OU career record for 10.0s. It was also the first perfect score on vault in Big 12 Championship history.
Capps continued her solid night by posting a 9.9 in the second position, while Jackson contributed a 9.875 in the No. 5 spot. Jones led off with a 9.825, and Dowell scored a 9.8 for the Sooners.
In the third rotation, Denver was on bars (49.150), West Virginia on beam (48.825) and Iowa State on floor (48.925).
The Sooners saved their biggest score of the afternoon for last as they recorded a 49.625 on bars, their second-best total of the season on the event. Other team scores included a 49.175 for Denver on beam, a 49.150 for West Virginia on floor and a 49.050 for Iowa State on vault.
Dowell, Wofford and Nichols led OU with a trio of 9.95s, which matched Dowell’s best score of the season. In the leadoff position, Capps set the tone with a season-high-matching 9.9, while Catour contributed a 9.875 and Lehrmann a 9.825.
"A lot of our athletes that only do bars or have to sit most of the meet, they had to sit cold the whole meet. So they did a really good job staying warm and staying ready to compete," Kindler said. "Three 9.95s in the rotation is phenomenal. We couldn't ask for anything more.
"In the middle of the meet we obviously had some great performances, including Maggie that 10.0 on vault and Chayse Capps on all four events" Kindler continued. "When Chayse is on fire, you know it."
Oklahoma will receive its regional assignment on Monday. The selection show will air live on NCAA.com at 3 p.m. CT. NCAA Regional competition is set for Saturday, April 1, at six campus sites around the country (Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, Washington, West Virginia). The top two placing teams from each regional will advance to the 2017 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo., on April 14 and 15.