Feb. 5, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. – The second-ranked OU women’s gymnastics squad remained undefeated on the year (8-0, 1-0 Big 12) with a wire-to-wire triangular victory over No. 10 Nebraska (6-1) and TWU (3-5) in front of 1,405 fans at Lloyd Noble Center on Friday.
The Sooners scored a season-high 196.825 despite counting a fall on beam, outdistancing Big 12 rival Nebraska and TWU, who posted scores of 196.225 and 192.575, respectively.
OU won team event titles on vault, bars and floor and swept all four individual titles with event wins on vault (Jackie Flanery – tied with a 9.9), bars (Hollie Vise – 9.9), beam (Megan Ferguson – 9.925) and floor (Kristin Smith – 9.95).
The Sooners didn't compete an all-arounder for the fourth meet this season, while a different OU gymnast led the team on each event.
Oklahoma had to outmatch a Husker squad that also posted a season high team tally on Friday and the result was in question until the final routine. After counting a fall on beam that tightened the team standings, OU closed the meet with a season-high 49.600 on floor, marking the Sooners highest event total under fourth-year head coach K.J. Kindler.
“Overall, it was a great performance on floor and vault but the detail-oriented events, like bars and beam, we suffered and suffered a great deal," said Kindler. “We were clearly panicking in warmup and it's not because we don't know how to do these routines. If there was one thing I would change, it would have started with our warmup and I think we would have had a much different meet here tonight."
Oklahoma opened with a season-high 49.375 on vault, easily eclipsing its previous high of 49.075 at last week’s Metroplex Challenge. Flanery (9.9), Natasha Kelley (9.875) and Brie Olson (9.875) set career highs, while Melanie Root (9.85) and Sara Stone (9.875) posted season bests. Mary Mantle turned in a 9.825 from the anchor position as the entire Sooner vault lineup scored at least a 9.825.
"I really thought that vault and floor were some of our best performances of the year,” said Kindler. “In particular, on vault the way we started out with Jackie Flanery. That was actually our best vault in the lineup and she nailed it. It was a great start for our team on that event. We kind of got on a roll from that."
The Sooners started a bit slow on bars, before Kelley and Vise capped off the rotation with scores of 9.85 and 9.9, respectively. It was Vise’s fifth straight win on the apparatus dating back to Oklahoma’s season opener against Florida. OU posted a 48.975 on the apparatus, marking the first time this season the Sooners haven’t scored a 49-plus on the event.
Ferguson (9.925) and Kelley (9.875) finished one-two in the individual standings on beam, but the Sooners were forced to count their second straight fall on the apparatus. From the start, it appeared that OU would post one of its higher scores on beam this year after Natalie Ratcliff and Kayla Nowak preceded Ferguson and Kelley with a pair of 9.85s, but both Vise and Kristin Smith fell in the final two routines for a team score of 48.875.
OU still led 147.225-146.975 through three rotations over the Huskers.
The Sooners swept the podium on floor, closing the rotation with five straight scores of 9.9 or higher. Oklahoma picked up career highs from Smith (9.95), Nowak (9.925), Vise (9.925), Ferguson (9.9), while Flanery sealed the win with a 9.9 in the final routine of the night.
"I thought floor was very impressive,” said Kindler. “We had a little falter at the beginning of the lineup, which is always hard, but I didn't feel like they tightened up at all. I thought they were very relaxed. Every routine after that was very solid and very clean."
It was the second meet this season that Oklahoma has posted a team event score of at least 49.500, as the Sooners posted a 49.500 on beam at Illinois.
OU improved to 49-6 in the regular season under Kindler, including a 25-2 mark in Norman.
The Sooners are at home again on Feb. 12, hosting Iowa State in OU’s annual “Beauty and the Beast” night, competing side-by-side with the nationally-ranked Oklahoma wrestling squad.