Sooners Soar to Victory Over ISU, TWU
|Vault||Brenna Dowell (OU)||9.925|
|Bars||Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.950|
|Beam||Maggie Nichols (OU)||9.925|
|Floor||AJ Jackson (OU)||9.925|
|AA||Maggie Nichols (OU)||39.625|
|OU Team Highs|
NORMAN—The No. 1 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team soared to a 197.525 victory Sunday over Iowa State (194.975) and Texas Woman’s (191.425). As part of the annual Beauty and the Beast meet, the Sooners competed alongside the wrestling team, who secured a victory over Northern Colorado.
“Overall, I thought it was an exceptional meet for our first time being home,” head coach K.J. Kindler said. “With wrestling it was pretty chaotic with a lot going on. If they can handle the motion and wildness in the room then that’s good for them down the road.”
Maggie Nichols took home the all-around title with a 39.625. The sophomore also picked up two event titles, recording a 9.950 on bars and a 9.925 on beam. Junior Brenna Dowell earned the event title on vault with a 9.925 and senior AJ Jackson won the floor title with a 9.925.
Oklahoma came out strong, matching its season opening score on vault with a 49.450. The Sooners counted five vaults of at least 9.875, including a phenomenal 9.925 from Dowell. Dowell’s stuck Yurchenko 1 ½ had the team and crowd chanting for a 10 and the Sooners fed off the momentum to secure the top mark in the nation.
“To start the meet was super strong,” Kindler said. “I’m looking at the score sheet 49.45… I think that’s the same score we got last week. I did think the vaults were better. Still obviously working on landings. We had a lot of front landings. The landing forward is always a little more difficult to control and they’re kind of getting their bearings. I know Maggie had a step today, but normally she’s a sticker. Just a few little things here and there. But on vault, a really dynamic performance.”
With five 10.0 start values in the vault lineup, the Sooners had the crowd on their feet for every competitor. Freshman Anastasia Webb wowed the home crowd with her Omelianchik for a career-high 9.875. Freshman Jade Degouveia would tie her career high on vault with a 9.875, while Nichols anchored with a matching score. Jackson’s power would be on display as she nailed her Yurchenko 1 ½ for a solid 9.9.
The Sooners carried the momentum over to bars where they put up a season-high 49.500. The defending co-national champions on bars, Nichols and junior Nicole Lehrmann looked incredible in front of the home crowd, each nailing their dismounts. Lehrmann recorded a 9.9 to set up Nichols, who anchored with a team-best 9.950. Dowell once again shined with a 9.900 on a beautiful routine and stuck landing. Seniors Stefani Catour and Jackson tallied matching 9.875s, while Webb looked steady for the second week in a row with a 9.825.
“Bars was phenomenal,” Kindler said. “Very well done. AJ had a rough touch but really came back strong. I was very impressed on her mental strength on that. You’re seeing a lot of the best bar swingers in the country. The environment is obviously a little more chaotic because the bars aren’t usually where they are but the team handled that great.”
On beam, the Sooners relied on the underclassmen for a big 49.400, a nation-leading score. Sophomore Bre Showers once again looked like a veteran in the No. 2 spot for a 9.875. In her collegiate debut, freshman Carly Woodard was graceful and poised as she picked up a 9.875. Webb kept up her steady pace with a 9.825 and Nichols anchored with a season-best 9.925.
“It was really fun and exciting,” Woodard said. “It’s a lot different than club. I feel like it’s a much more team environment. The team has your back and the team is constantly cheering you on. It’s definitely something I am looking forward to the next four years.”
Oklahoma had a bit of an uncharacteristic night on floor, tallying a 49.175. Webb entertained the home crowd with her exciting routine, setting a new career high with a 9.875. Nichols, who recorded a 9.875, impressed as always, getting the crowd on their feet with each of her tumbling passes. It was Jackson who would anchor with her energetic and electrifying choreography and powerful tumbling passes. Jackson would have the OU faithful on their feet as she closed out the meet with a 9.925.
“Floor was a little uncharacteristic,” Kindler said. “There were a lot of bounces on landings. It definitely wasn’t an endurance thing; it’s just getting your feet underneath you. We’ll just get better at that.”
The Sooners will be back on the road Friday, Jan. 26, to take on the No. 5 Florida Gators. The meet is slated for a 5:45 p.m. CT start at the Stephen O’Connell Center and will air on the SECNetwork+.