|Vault||Brandie Jay (UGA)||9.95|
|Bars||Lindsey Cheek (UGA)
Kristina Vaculik (STAN)
|Beam||Taylor Spears (OU)||9.925|
|Floor||Maile'ana Kanewa (OU)
Haley Scaman (OU)
Joanna Sampson) (UM)
|AA||Joanna Sampson (UM)||39.550|
|OU Team Highs|
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - It was a super afternoon for the Oklahoma women's gymnastics team, and it was only the beginning.
The Sooners posted a program-best NCAA Championship score of 197.500 in session I to take first place and advance to the Super Six team finals. OU now owns four Super Six appearances in the last five seasons.
Joining Oklahoma in advancing to the Super Six is Georgia (197.300) and LSU (197.100).
"I think today is the meet that has the most nerves because you want to qualify on," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "Tomorrow, I think, is a lighter day - it's everything or bust. Everybody just has to put it on the line. If you don't put it on the line, you're not going to have the opportunity to win that championship. I think the athletes feel that and they will just go for it tomorrow."
The Sooners captured a total of nine All-America honors from six gymnasts as the squad continued to highlight its extraordinary depth across the board.
Senior Taylor Spears led the way, capturing first-team All-America awards on both balance beam (9.925) and uneven bars (9.9). Spears is now a four-time All-American and finished first overall in the session on beam.
Sophomores Maile'ana Kanewa and Haley Scaman both shone for the Sooners, with each capturing first-team All-America awards on both vault and floor. The duo both posted efforts of 9.95 on floor to tie for first in the session with Michigan's Joanna Sampson, and followed up with 9.9s on vault.
Senior Lara Albright earned her first career All-America award on floor exercise (9.925), finishing as a first-team honoree. True freshman Chayse Capps also became a first-team All-American on beam with a 9.9, while classmate Kara Lovan earned second-team All-America honors on floor (9.9).
Oklahoma kicked off the afternoon on what many consider to be its signature event: balance beam. The Sooners earned a 49.350, starting strong on a challenging and mental event. Spears led the way with her gorgeous 9.925 effort in the No. 5 position. Capps glided through her routine in the No. 4 spot and stuck her dismount for a 9.9. Madison Mooring put her steadiness and experience on display in the lead-off position, capturing a 9.85 to set the tone for OU's efforts, and Erica Brewer picked up a 9.85 in the No. 3 spot. Lovan was the first OU freshman to see the action on the day and picked up a 9.825 to contribute to her team's efforts.
"We were actually very excited to start on beam and I was very impressed with how the team kept their wits about them," Kindler said. "I thought they were aggressive and I thought that was really the key to our success today."
OU emerged focused from a second rotation bye, channeling its collective energy into an enormous 49.575 on floor exercise. The mark was Oklahoma’s second-highest of the season and the best in program history at an NCAA Championship. The Sooners were led by 9.95s at the back of the lineup from sophomore stars Kanewa and Scaman. Albright was better than consistent, tying her career-high of 9.925 in the No. 4 spot, while Lovan also tied her career-best for a 9.9 in the No. 3 spot. The Sooners continued the upward trend on floor, with every score in the rotation going equal to or higher than the routine before it.
"I thought they were awesome on floor," Kindler said. "They were eating up the crowd. I really felt like they were playing up to the crowd, and that's fun."
OU moved directly to vault in the fourth rotation, soaring to a 49.325. The Sooners were strong with room for improvement tomorrow, showing powerful vaults but missing a few landings that limited scores. Kanewa and Scaman led the way for the second consecutive rotation, earning identical 9.9s in the back of the lineup. Capps snapped up a 9.875 on a strong vault in the No. 5 position, while Keeley Kmieciak picked up a 9.85 to boost the squad. Lovan and Mooring led off for Oklahoma with equal 9.8 efforts and the Sooners continued to shine with only one event remaining.
The Sooners finished with a 49.250, battling a bit of uncharacteristic tightness in the last rotation of the afternoon. Spears was tops again for the Sooners, hitting a smooth routine in the No. 6 spot to finish with a 9.9 and earn a spot in event finals. Clark, Kmieciak and Scaman were also solid for OU, with each earning a 9.85. Brewer made her return to the Sooner bars lineup, hitting a 9.8 effort for Oklahoma.
OU's 197.500 gave them first on the afternoon and secured the squad's fourth Super Six appearance. In a tight battle for the other two spots, Georgia (197.300) and LSU (197.100) emerged victorious. Stanford finished fourth (196.600), Michigan took fifth (196.425) and Illinois came in sixth (195.800).
Oklahoma will compete in the Super Six team finals tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CT with a shot at its first-ever NCAA title. The meet will be streamed live on ESPN3 at ESPN3.com.