OU Tops Michigan With Nation's Highest Score
|Vault||Maggie Nichols (OU)||10.0|
|Bars||Nicole Lehrmann (OU), Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.95|
|Beam||Maggie Nichols (OU)||10.0|
|Floor||Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.95|
|AA||Maggie Nichols (OU)||39.900|
|OU Team Highs|
|Bars||Nicole Lehrmann, Maggie Nichols||9.95|
NORMAN – The Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team dazzled Saturday afternoon, posting the third-best score in program history. The No. 1 Sooners took down No. 7 Michigan, 198.375-197.175. The mark is the highest this season by any team and is OU’s fifth score of 198 or higher this season.
Sophomore Maggie Nichols posted two perfect 10s in the meet to take home the all-around title, tying her season best with a 39.900. Junior Nicole Lehrmann had yet another breakout performance in the all-around, besting her previous score with a record 39.675. As a team, the Sooners set a new season high on vault with a 49.650, the second highest score in program history.
"Overall this was a fantastic meet for us,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “Starting on vault, it was really important for us to get started off strong. Bre (Showers) did that tonight. Anastasia (Webb) is still getting better and better every week on vault so we are excited about that. We had a couple of sticks in there which is always good. We had some clean vaults; vault was great.”
The Sooners came out firing on all cylinders, putting up a huge 49.650 on vault. At press time, it’s the highest score on vault in the nation this season. The rotation was highlighted by a 10.0 in the anchor spot from Nichols, her third career perfect score on the apparatus. Junior Brenna Dowell was phenomenal in the No. 3 spot with a near perfect Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.975.
Senior AJ Jackson and freshman Anastasia Webb put up matching scores of 9.9 to pace the Sooners to an outstanding score. Junior Nicole Lehrmann matched a career high in the No. 2 spot with a 9.875 on her Yurchenko full.
The momentum carried into the second rotation as OU put up a 49.500 on bars, its fifth score of 49.5 or higher this season. The defending co-national champions, Lehrmann and Nichols, shared the event title with matching scores of 9.950. Dowell scored a 9.900 in the No. 4 spot, her sixth score of 9.9 or higher this season.
Senior Stefani Catour was steady and poised as always in the No. 3 spot, adding a 9.875 to the Sooners’ total. Webb contributed a 9.825 in the No. 2 spot, adding to her all-around score.
OU topped the 49.700 mark on beam for the second time this season in a huge third rotation. Every gymnast scored at least a 9.900, meaning the Sooners counted five scores of 9.9 or higher. Nichols tallied her third 10.0 of the season on the apparatus, and sixth all-time with a perfectly executed routine that included her front tuck upgrade.
“Wow. It is amazing,” Kindler said. “Like I said, starting with a 9.950 it makes them stand a little taller and be a little more aggressive. Beam is an aggressive event, I always tell them that. Pulling back is an absolute no-no to do. I feel in that starting position, if you start like that, you can just pick it all up from there. That says volumes about what they are capable of.”
Catour led off the rotation by matching her career high with a 9.950. The high scores didn’t stop there as sophomore Bre Showers delivered a 9.925 in the No. 2 spot on yet another superb routine. Lehrmann added to her all-around title with a gorgeous routine for a 9.925. Senior Natalie Brown was exquisite in the No. 4 spot, putting up a season high 9.9. Webb continued to show how solid she is on beam with a 9.9 as well.
“You definitely live for those moments,” Catour said. “To come off the beam and stick the landing, stick the routine and be super excited about it. Each week means fewer and fewer meets are coming, senior night is coming up, so those types of moments just mean so much more. I think I felt the most confident in that routine.”
The meet was wrapped up with a 49.525 on floor, highlighted by an impressive showing from Lehrmann in just her second time competing the event. The junior tallied the second highest score on the team with a 9.925, her career high. Nichols took home the event title with a 9.950 in the anchor position, adding her full in into her routine for the first time this season.
“I am really excited about how floor is developing,” Kindler said. “We have changed a lot of things. We have given a lot of people opportunities. I want to talk about Jordan Draper on exhibition and alternate. She killed it. I love the way she performs, and she is showing us that she is ready to go. I feel like a lot of people have stepped up, including Nicole Lehrmann, on that event that have built our depth there. I think this was our best floor performance from top to bottom, just from a performance standpoint and the way they handled themselves. That score is amazing. I am impressed with that and very excited."
Showers led off floor with a strong 9.875, and Webb added a 9.900 to give her an all-around total of 39.525. Jackson contributed a solid 9.875 in the No. 5 position.
“It was hard being on the sidelines last year,” Showers said. “I love supporting my teammates, but it is just a totally different feeling. That atmosphere is so different, and it is so exciting. It is a lot more fun to be out there competing.”
The Sooners will wrap up their home schedule Friday, March 9, at 6:45 p.m. in a quad meet against Arizona State, Arkansas and Denver. The final meet will be senior night and Natalie Brown, Stefani Catour, Sam Craus and AJ Jackson will be honored in a post meet ceremony.