DENTON, Texas -- The No. 3 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team soared to a 198.150 victory on Sunday afternoon, topping Minnesota (196.275), TWU (194.775) and Michigan State (194.350). The meet marked OU's second 198+ effort this season and the Sooners won or tied for top honors on all four apparatuses.
Taylor Spears capped her outstanding weekend with a career and meet-best 9.975 on uneven bars, her second routine to earn at least one 10.0 this weekend. Sophomores Haley Scaman and Maile'ana Kanewa tied for top honors on vault and floor exercise, posting 9.95s on both events. Freshman Chayse Capps rounded out the event title-winning efforts for OU, earning a 9.925 on balance beam to take the top spot on the afternoon.
Of all the difference-makers for the Sooners during the meet, perhaps nothing stood out more than a big start on bars to open the meet.
"Bars set the tone for the meet and set the tone for our team's cohesiveness moving forward," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "That made a huge difference. We still have new people out there on multiple events, and gives us an opportunity to put the best team out there as we move forward."
The hot start gave OU plenty of early momentum as the team soared to its second-highest effort of the year, a 49.525. Spears' career mark of 9.975 led the way in the No. 5 position, while Keeley Kmieciak tied her career-best of 9.925 to boost her team. A trio of Sooners posted extremely solid 9.875 routines, including Rebecca Clark's lead-off effort and showings by freshmen Charity Jones and McKenzie Wofford. OU bounced back from its first fall of the year on bars Friday night to post six stuck routines on Sunday afternoon.
The Sooners jumped out to a strong lead after the first rotation, holding a 49.525 to sit ahead of Michigan State (49.275), TWU (48.900) and Minnesota (48.850).
OU's confidence carried over to beam as the Sooners posted a strong rotation across the board. The team finished with a 49.425, its third-highest mark of the season, behind Capps' meet-high 9.925 effort. Spears continued her outstanding weekend with a 9.9 in the No. 5 position, while Maile'ana Kanewa burst back into the lineup with an identical 9.9. Freshman Kara Lovan shone in only her second meet of the season on beam, earning a 9.875.
Oklahoma continued to lead after two, holding a 98.950 to sit in first overall. Minnesota slipped up to second at 98.300, Michigan State moved to third with a 98.225 and TWU was fourth at 97.150.
Momentum continued to power the Sooners in their third rotation as they picked up a 49.575, their second-best on the event this year. Sophomores Kanewa and Scaman capped the rotation in the fifth and sixth lineup spots, earning identical 9.95 efforts for their performances. Capps earned a career-best 9.925, while Lovan and Spears picked up 9.875 routines early in the lineup for Oklahoma.
With only one rotation to go, the Sooners extended their commanding lead out to a 148.550. Minnesota followed in second (147.750), Michigan State third (146.800) and TWU fourth (146.000).
OU exploded for a 49.625 on vault, its highest score of the season and best since Feb. 9 against LSU. Kanewa and Scaman were huge for the Sooners again, each earning 9.95 efforts to pace the team. Madison Mooring tied her career-high while earning her new top score of the season, picking up a 9.925 in the lead-off position to give Oklahoma a big start on the event. Lovan also had a big showing, capping her strong weekend with a new career-best 9.925.
Over the course of two meets this weekend, Oklahoma posted nine routines of 9.95 or higher, including four that earned at least one 10.0 from one judge (Haley Scaman: 9.975 UB, 10.0 FX; Taylor Spears: 9.975 BB, 9.975 UB).
OU's seniors were huge for the team all weekend, posting big scores and crucial routines in both of the Sooners' wins. Spears' weekend was especially notable as the senior standout earned career-highs on bars (9.975) and beam (9.975) in two meets.
"I think Taylor was really on point this whole weekend," Kindler remarked. "The seniors are obviously celebrating senior weekend this weekend, but it's also senior year. This greatness that is coming from them should continue on for the rest of the year."
Oklahoma will head east to face No. 13 Arkansas next weekend for its regular season finale. The meet is set for a 7 p.m. start on Friday, March 14 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.