March 10, 2013
OU swept each team event to go to 19-0 on the season, the most regular season wins in program history, including 5-0 in four home meets this season.
After the meet, seniors Kayla Nowak, Brie Olson and Lauren Smith were honored. Olson competed on all four events and Smith exhibitioned on bars for OU while Nowak has been out this season with a career-ending injury.
"It was incredibly difficult to watch them walk out onto the home floor for the last time," said OU head coach K.J. Kindler. "I know our emotions were high. It was especially tough for Kayla not having the opportunity to compete, but she has been an incredible leader this season and an inspiration to us all."
OU was also without freshman Keeley Kmieciak due to illness, forcing Oklahoma to shuffle its lineups late. The Sooners didn't miss a step, highlighted by junior Hayden Ward stepping in on bars with a 9.9 and sophomore Becca Clark earning a 9.775 on beam.
"We had a lot of things that we had to address because we had an illness with one of our athletes," Kindler said. "We placed some people in that have experience. All of them have experience competing, so it really shouldn't have been any different. They know that sometimes they'll need to step in and as alternate, that's where you need to be mentally."
The Sooners also claimed every individual event, with freshman Haley Scaman earning the vault and floor titles, Olson claiming the bar title and junior Taylor Spears earning the top score on beam.
""It was so surreal," Olson said of the meet. "Kayla and I have been here for four years, and Lauren came last year, so this is her second year, so we are a really close senior group. It makes it even harder since we are great friends. We just want the best for each other, so I think that was part of the emotions that were coming out, especially for me just knowing that it's gone by so fast."
Oklahoma, which will retake the No. 1 ranking on Monday, will close out the regular season at No. 5 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. CT.