Sooners Rise Past Arizona in Road Win

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 25, 2014

(3-0, 1-0 Big 12)
  Vault Bars Beam Floor Total
 Oklahoma 49.450 49.450 49.525 49.150 197.575
 Arizona 49.200 49.250 49.050 49.425 196.925

Results | Photo Gallery

(2-2, 0-1 Pac 12)


 Event Winners
 Event  Gymnast  Score
 Vault Keeley Kmieciak (OU)  9.925
 Bars Taylor Spears (OU)  9.925
 Beam Taylor Spears (OU)  9.95
 Floor Kristin Klarenbach (UA)  9.925
 OU Team Highs
 Event  Gymnast  Score
 Vault Keeley Kmieciak  9.925
 Bars Taylor Spears  9.925
 Beam Taylor Spears   9.95
 Floor Lara Albright  9.9

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Sooners were locked in.

It was the first road meet of the season against a No. 17 Arizona team that would challenge the top-ranked Oklahoma women's gymnastics team throughout the night. In a situation that could have been fraught with nerves, the Sooners were focused, earning a 197.575-196.925 victory over a tough Arizona team that battled to the final routine. 

"This was a great road score," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "The highlights for tonight were most definitely bars and beam. Those were our strongest performances across the board. " 

Senior Taylor Spears led the way for OU, earning titles on bars (9.925) and beam (9.95) for the Sooners. Sophomore Keeley Kmieciak paced a strong outing on vault for Oklahoma, capturing the event title with a 9.925. 

"I thought this was Taylor's best meet on bars and beam," Kindler said. "She's a leader for our team, and that's very important. Keeley also did a remarkable job on both events in the lead-off position."

Equally stunning for the Sooners was freshman trio Chayse Capps, Kara Lovan and McKenzie Wofford. Each posted at least one career-high in their first road competition of the season, highlighting a group of newcomers who earned opportunities when OU opted to rest all-arounder Erica Brewer on vault, beam and floor.

"The freshmen really stepped up," Kindler added. "That's exciting when they get their first chance out there and they just nail it like that. I think they realized how incredible it is to be out there representing Oklahoma. It's fantastic for them." 

Oklahoma opened the meet with a season-high 49.450 on bars, capped by Spears' beautiful 9.925 routine in the No. 4 slot. The team fed off one another's momentum throughout the lineup, building up to a strong showing. Four OU gymnasts earned or tied their best mark for the season, including a 9.9 from Wofford and 9.875s from Rebecca Clark and Haley Scaman. 

A last-minute change to the vault lineup was no problem for the Sooners, who picked up a near-season-best of 49.450 on the event. Oklahoma continued to showcase its power on the event with its third 49.400+ performance of the season. Another four team members earned or tied their season or career-high, including Kmieciak's career-high-tying 9.925. Two Sooner freshmen were particularly impressive for OU, with Chayse Capps and Kara Lovan each tying their career-high marks of 9.875. 

A freshman and two seniors shone for Oklahoma on floor, with Albright, Capps and Spears leading the team to a 49.150 on the event. The defending Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week, Albright's 9.9 tied her career-high for the second week in a row. Capps and Spears each added 9.85s for the Sooners. 

The Sooners closed the night with a fearless rotation on beam, tackling the mental event with finesse and poise from the top to the bottom of the lineup. Spears led the way with her beautiful 9.95 routine, while Wofford responded to her first appearance in the lineup with a stunning 9.925. Capps and Rebecca Clark each added 9.9s to push the Sooners to a 49.525, their highest total of the season and the nation's best beam score this year. 

Next weekend's meet will be a battle of NCAA gymnastics titans, with the Sooners facing off against defending NCAA champion and fourth-ranked Florida. The meet is set for a 6 p.m. CT start in Gainesville, Fla., on Jan. 31. 



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