Sooners Roll into Athens Regional Final
|Vault||Nichols (OU), Lehrmann (OU), Clausi (Cal)||9.95|
|Bars||Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.975|
|Beam||Carly Woodard (OU)||9.925|
|Floor||Olivia Trautman (OU)||9.975|
|AA||Brenna Dowell (OU)||39.550|
|OU Team Highs|
|Vault||Maggie Nichols, Nicole Lehrmann||9.95|
NORMAN – It wasn’t just win and advance for the No. 1 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team but win in dominating fashion as the Sooners rolled to a 198.300 in Session II of the NCAA Athens Regional. OU will be joined in the regional final on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT by California, Georgia and Kentucky.
The Sooners set regional program records on bars (49.650) and floor (49.625) to help them to the best regional score in OU history.
“I was very happy with where their heads were today,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “We need some more of that. We need to get some rest and come back in here and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Oklahoma swept the individual event titles and the all-around. Senior Brenna Dowell took home the all-around title with a 39.550, the best score of both sessions. On vault, senior Nicole Lehrmann and junior Maggie Nichols shared the title with matching 9.95s. Nichols also took home the bars title with a 9.975. Sophomore Carly Woodard earned the beam title with a 9.925 and freshman Olivia Trautman took home floor with a 9.975.
“I think we had good energy tonight,” Lehrmann said. “We have to learn that when we’re not feeling that energy, to make it happen. We felt good in warmups. Warmups weren’t perfect but they don’t need to be. Everyone had good energy and good attitudes – no one was being weird in the head. We just need to find that energy and ride it.”
The Sooners came out firing on all cylinders in the first rotation to post a 49.525 on vault, their third-best mark in program history at regional competition. Lehrmann started things off strong for the Sooners as she matched her career-high with a stuck Yurchenko 1.5.
“I think I’ve definitely grown a lot,” Lehrmann said. “Doing a 1.5 is really cool and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more confident being later in lineups and being the starter on vault is a big responsibility.”
Nichols, back in the vault lineup for the first time since Feb. 15, also posted a 1.5 on an incredible stuck 1.5. Trautman added a 9.9, her sixth score of 9.9 or better this season on the event. Junior Jade Degouveia added a 9.875 in the No. 3 spot and Dowell anchored with a 9.850.
“Vault was phenomenal,” Kindler said. “Nico started us off with her best vault of the season. That’s the way to start off regionals. We had really great landings. Maggie came back to vault for the first time this season and sticks it. You couldn’t ask for better than that. A 49.525 is a great way to start.”
OU was lights-out on bars, posting five scores of 9.9 or better en route to a 49.650 on the event. Webb set the tone early with a fantastic leadoff routine for a 9.9. Senior Alex Marks notched a career-high 9.9, her third 9.9 in a row in the No. 2 spot.
Sophomore Karrie Thomas set her career-high with an incredible performance for a 9.95. Lehrmann added a 9.925 in the No. 5 spot, setting Nichols up for near perfection as the junior recorded her fourth 9.975 of the season.
“We have more in us on bars,” Kindler said. “There’s a couple angles we can still steal. There’s a little bit more we can do, but it was a phenomenal rotation. Kudos to Alex Marks who basically has had very limited practice time because of an injury – really proud of her stepping up on that event for us.”
Keeping the momentum rolling, the Sooners headed to their third rotation and posted a 49.500. For the third consecutive event, OU notched a leadoff score of 9.9 or better, this time coming from Trautman’s leadoff 9.9. Dowell added a 9.850 in the No. 2 spot, while Lehrmann wrapped up her night with a 9.9.
Sophomore beam specialist Carly Woodard was exceptional in the No. 4 spot, earning a 9.925. Webb followed up with a 9.875 in the No. 5 position, while Nichols anchored with a 9.9.
“On beam, again, very good performances,” Kindler said. “I think we have more in the tank there and I think we can get a little bit more out of everybody and we can be a little more perfect. Good landings and I was really excited about dismount landings. They weren’t giving anything away.”
The Sooners wrapped up a top-notch performance with a 49.625 on floor. Webb led off the rotation with a 9.9, followed by a 9.85 from sophomore Jordan Draper. Degouveia notched a 9.9 in the No. 3 spot, setting up the season debut of sophomore Evy Schoepfer who added a 9.9 of her own.
Dowell and Trautman once again ended things with a bang for Oklahoma. Dowell notched a 9.95 and Trautman anchored with a 9.975, earning a pair of perfect 10s from the four judges.
“We made some changes on floor with Evy stepping into the lineup for the first time this season,” Kindler said. “She did a phenomenal job and I’m really proud of her. Our whole floor lineup, person after person, was spot on.”
The top two teams from Saturday’s regional final will advance to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, April 19-20. Should the Sooners advance, they will be in Semifinal II on April 19 at 6 p.m. CT.