Sooners Top Preseason Poll for Third Straight Season
|2017 Preseason Coaches Poll|
|1||Oklahoma (47 first-place votes)||1,769|
|* indicates 2018 opponent|
NORMAN - For the third consecutive season, the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team has been picked No. 1 in the preseason poll, the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W) announced. The Sooners received 33 of 50 first-place votes in the ranking.
“It’s an honor to be at the top, but we have to work for it and earn that No. 1 spot,” senior Natalie Brown said. “We have to keep working on the details because that’s what really matters and sets us apart. This team needs to keep building on what we’ve been doing in practice and what we did in the intrasquad and improve from that.”
Oklahoma (2,519 points), the defending national champion, is followed in the poll by No. 2 Florida (1,728 points), No. 3 LSU (1,692 points), No. 4 Alabama (1,584 points) and No. 5 Utah (1,544 points).
This season’s poll marks the eighth straight year that the Sooners have been ranked in the top five nationally to begin the season. OU was slated No. 1 in 2016 & 2017, No. 2 in 2015, No. 3 in 2014, and No. 4 in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Oklahoma has now opened 13 consecutive seasons ranked in the top 10 nationally and the last 18 years in the top 25. The Sooners have been ranked in the preseason top 10 every season under Kindler.
Overall, 12 of OU’s 13 regular-season opponents are ranked in the poll, including six squads in the top 10 nationally and eight within the top 25. The Sooners will face a pair of top-five teams in No. 2 Florida and No. 4 Alabama.
The Sooners will open the season at No. 16 Georgia at 1 p.m. CT on Monday, Jan. 15 in Athens, Ga. A top-five showdown will take place on Jan. 26 when OU travels to Gainesville, Fla. to face No. 2 Florida. The Sooners are also set to face No. 6 UCLA (Feb. 4) and No. 4 Alabama (March 16) in road matches.
The home schedule opens on Jan. 21 at 2:45 p.m. CT against No. 29 Iowa State and TWU for the Beauty and the Beast meet with OU Wrestling. Other ranked competitors coming to Lloyd Noble Center include No. 36 North Carolina (Feb. 11), No. 28 West Virginia (Feb. 23) and No. 7 Michigan (March 3). The final home meet will be a tri-meet on March 9 with No. 8 Denver, No. 19 Arkansas, and No. 31 Arizona State). OU will also take on No. 9 Nebraska at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Feb. 16.
OU’s roster this season includes 10 returners from the 2017 national championship squad, including four gymnasts who combined for 10 All-America honors in seniors Stefani Catour and A.J. Jackson, junior Nicole Lehrmann and sophomore Maggie Nichols. Lehrmann and Nichols were also co-national champions on the uneven bars in 2017. In addition to the returners, the Sooners also add junior transfer Asley Hiller and freshmen Jordan Draper, Evy Schoepfer, Anastasia Webb and Carly Woodard.
Season tickets for the 2018 campaign are currently available for purchase. Tickets cost $40 for general admission, $25 for youth and senior citizens and $60 for reserved seating, which will reserve a seat location for the entire season. Fans can order online through SoonerSports.com or over the phone at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at 800-456-GoOU.