No. 1 Sooners Topple Tar Heels
|Vault||AJ Jackson (OU), Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.925|
|Bars||Nicole Lehrmann (OU), Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.950|
|Beam||Maggie Nichols (OU)||10.0|
|Floor||Brenna Dowell (OU), Anastasia Webb (OU)||9.950|
|AA||Maggie Nichols (OU)||39.675|
|OU Team Highs|
|Vault||AJ Jackson, Maggie Nichols||9.925|
|Bars||Nicole Lehrmann, Maggie Nichols||9.950|
|Floor||Brenna Dowell, Anastasia Webb||9.950|
NORMAN - The No. 1 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team put up yet another score of 198-plus to top North Carolina 198.150-195.750 at Lloyd Noble Center Sunday afternoon. The Sooners are the only program in the nation who have posted more than one score of 198 or higher this season.
“The culture of the program is that the expectations are (high),” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “They are not afraid of it. They are aggressive, athletic women performers. They are powerful. It just speaks to their ambition to be the best.”
Oklahoma has now put up at least a 197 or higher in 35 consecutive meets, with 11 scores of 198 or higher in that stretch. Today’s score was the third-straight mark of 198 or higher for the Sooners, who have now tied the top score in the country.
Sophomore Maggie Nichols won the all-around title with a 39.675, while putting up her second perfect 10 of the season on beam. The sophomore now has nine career perfect scores and five on beam.
Starting off on vault, the Sooners put up a 49.475, their third highest score of the season. Sophomore Brehanna Showers was steady in leadoff with a 9.850 on her Yurchenko full. Nicole Lehrmann tied her season high on vault with a 9.875 in the No. 3 spot. With three-straight 10.0 start value vaults in a row to end the rotation, the Sooners put up three scores of 9.9 or higher starting with junior Brenna Dowell’s 9.9 on her Yurchenko 1.5. Nichols and senior AJ Jackson recorded matching 9.925’s to share the event title.
The Sooners put up a new season high on bars with a 49.575, the second highest score in the nation thus far. Oklahoma has four of the top five scores on bars this season, not putting up a score lower than 49.425 this season. The Sooners counted four scores of 9.9 or higher, highlighted by back-to-back phenomenal routines from the reigning bar co-national champions Lehrmann and Nichols. The duo each put up a 9.950, hitting their handstands and sticking their dismounts. Dowell earned a season high 9.925 as she contributed to four consecutive stuck landings by Sooners. Senior Stefani Catour was beautiful and steady as always on bars, as she recorded a season high 9.900.
“On bars, once again very good,” Kindler said. “We had at least three stuck dismounts, maybe four. I’m very excited about Bre Showers. Jumping in as an exhibition on that event. She did an amazing job. That was the first time she’s competed on bars in four years. Really she did all-around tonight, so that was really exceptional.”
On beam, the Sooners once again showed why they’re the No. 1 team in the nation on the event. OU tallied a 49.600 on beam, their second highest score this season. The Sooners now own three of the top five beam scores in the nation, including the top mark. Once again, OU got a strong start from senior Stefani Catour as she tallied a 9.875. Showers was graceful and poised in the No. 2 spot, earning a 9.9 on her routine. Freshman Carly Woodard put up a beautiful and clean performance to earn a 9.9, leading up to a 9.925 from fellow freshman Anastasia Webb. Nichols put the exclamation point on another impressive beam rotation with her perfect 10 on an upgraded routine that featured a front tuck, nailed beautifully by the sophomore.
“We’re really knocking it out of the park on balance beam,” Kindler said. “Very consistent, super confident, just really attacking beam which what you have to do to be successful there. You can’t be cautious, you can’t hold back. Maggie’s beam routine was a great beam routine. She even upgraded from last week. Last week she got a 10 but she didn’t do the front tuck. The front tuck is an extremely difficult skill. That routine was definitely a highlight on beam.”
Oklahoma closed the meet on floor with an impressive 49.500 to seal the victory. Out of the gate, the Sooners put up four consecutive scores of 9.9 or higher, starting with a career high 9.9 from Showers. Dowell showed why she’s a crowd favorite with her incredibly powerful tumbling and entertaining choreography for a 9.950. Freshman Evy Schoepfer competed her best routine to date, getting the crowd clapping along as she tallied a 9.900. Webb set a career high with a 9.950 as she showed off her beautiful tumbling and choreography.
Up next for Oklahoma is the Perfect 10 Challenge at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Sooners will take on former Big 12 foe Nebraska on Friday, Feb. 16, at 6:45 p.m. in their first podium meet of the season.