No. 1 Sooners Dominate No. 5 Georgia
|Vault||Degouveia (OU), Snead (UGA)||9.950|
|OU Team Highs|
NORMAN - In front of an incredible crowd, Oklahoma put up yet another outstanding score that no team in the country could match as the No. 1 Sooners defeated No. 5 Georgia 197.825-195.300. The Sooners owned the moment in front of their home crowd as they once again proved why they’re the top team in the nation.
With the winning score, the Sooners now hold the record for the most consecutive meets with a score of 196 or better at 107 meets. The next closest team has a streak of just 44 such meets.
"For this early in the year, I think it's a great outing,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “I think Georgia is a storied program that came out with their highest score since 2007 at their home opener. They're a strong program. They came out on bars probably not exactly how they would like to, but they're a very good team. When you know you're going against a top team, there's that additional fire in you. You have to be that much better to come out ahead. I think the team took that as a challenge walking in here tonight.”
Once again, the Sooner secured at least a share of every event title. Junior Jade Degouveia earned a 9.95 on vault, senior Brenna Dowell and junior Maggie Nichols won with 9.95s on bars, sophomore Anastasia Webb tallied a 9.925 on floor and Nichols and freshman Olivia Trautman notched 9.925s on floor. Nichols also won the all-around with a 39.650.
The Sooners put up six 10.0 start value vaults in the first rotation with each gymnast competing a Yurchenko 1.5. With a 49.500, the Sooners have now scored better than a 49.475 in each of their first two meets. Before this season, OU had never scored better than a 49.475 before its third meet of the season.
"Isn't that cool? That's really cool,” Kindler said. “I believe we are the first team since the rule change to ever do that. That's a pretty cool thing, and Coach Lou Ball should be very proud. We're very methodical about what we do, and I can tell you that Coach Ball started this back in May. Nico didn't just start doing it last week. She's been working since last season to do this. He's (Ball) a very consistent coach. He's pushing every day, and these guys have benefitted from that. There's no doubt about it. I think even Olivia, who competed this vault last year, appears to be way more aware of her landing and is just automatic. She's on automatic pilot. I can see a big change for us on vault this year.”
Junior Jade Degouveia nailed her vault for the second-straight week, earning yet another 9.95. Senior Nicole Lehrmann earned a career-high with a 9.925 on her upgraded vault, and junior Maggie Nichols added a 9.9 in the No. 5 spot. Freshman Olivia Trautman led off with a career-high 9.875 and freshman Allie Stern made her collegiate debut with a 9.850. In the anchor spot, senior Brenna Dowell also added a 9.850.
"I told KJ, it goes on my bucket list to compete a one and a half,” Lehrmann said. “I worked really hard on it this past summer. It was not always easy, but my full is really solid so I just kept on pushing to get that one and a half because it is a really big goal I have."
OU kept up the momentum from vault, posting a 49.525 on bars. Nichols and Dowell shared the bar title, each notching the top mark of 9.95. Both gymnasts stuck their landings cold and had the crowd on its feet cheering at the end of their respective routines.
Senior Alex Marks set her career high on the apparatus with a 9.875 in the No. 2 spot and Lehrmann added a 9.9 in the No. 5 spot. Sophomore Anastasia Webb and junior Bre Showers each tallied a 9.850.
“Going to bars, the scores may not reflect it but my most impressive bar routine for me was Alex Marks, second of the lineup," Kindler said. "That was the best routine she has ever done in her career and I was immensely impressed with her strength. She was very strong on that and super aggressive which I love to see from her.”
On beam, OU tallied a 49.325 as Webb had the team-high with a beautiful 9.925 in the No. 5 spot. Nichols added a 9.875 in the anchor spot, while Lehrmann and Showers each tallied a 9.850. Leading off, Trautman set the tone with a 9.825 and nailed her roundoff 1.5 dismount.
“Balance beam, Olivia, this super freshman starting us off again very calm,” Kindler said. “I thought it was an amazing routine. I had a really good feeling after; it was excellent. The beam lineup just rolled along. We made small errors, little wobbles here and there, maybe small execution on landings, little things here and there, but overall a really strong performance.”
Trautman continued to show why she’s the anchor on floor, notching a 9.925 on her high-flying routine. The freshman stuck her opening double layout and finished with a bang with an incredible double tuck.
Sooner fans got to see the “Dowell” for the first time in collegiate competition as Dowell treated the crowd to her front double pike. The skill was named for the senior after she performed it at Worlds in 2015. The Odessa, Mo. native nailed her tumbling passes and earned a 9.875 in the No. 3 spot.
Webb led off the rotation with a 9.9 and was followed by a career-high 9.850 from Degouveia. Nichols added a season-high 9.925 in the No. 5 spot.
“I'll tell you something else -- we were excited about the crowd,” Kindler said. “The crowd was very good for our first opener, and I hope more and more people will come out because this is an event that you don't want to miss. I think that inspires our athletes. That gets them going. I think when they marched out and saw that pretty good showing out there that was pretty impressive."
The Sooners are back in action Saturday, Jan. 19, at North Carolina. The meet is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start time.