OU's women's gymnastics and wrestling teams hold the fifth annual Beauty and the Beast competition Friday.
Jan. 25, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- The fifth-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team hosts No. 20 N.C. State for OU’s fifth-annual Beauty and the Beast competition alongside OU wrestling, Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma (6-1) enters Saturday’s meet following its first-place finish at TWU’s quad meet in Denton, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 21. The Sooners posted a 197.450 to become the first team in the NCAA this season to break the 197-mark on the road. OU’s score of 197.450 is the second-best score in the country this season, behind No. 1 UCLA’s 197.575 posted Sunday, Jan. 22.
N.C. State (2-1) is coming of its second straight win after losing to then-ranked No. 3 Florida in week one. The Wolfpack is currently ranked No. 20 in the country and is averaging a score of 194.308. OU leads N.C. State all-time, 2-0.
During Beauty and the Beast, the 10th-ranked OU wrestling team will battle No. 23 Virginia Tech. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free commemorative Beauty and the Beast poster. Fans in attendance will have a chance to win tons of prizes including a $100 Circle K Gas Gift Card, ping pong tables, gift cards for local restaurants and autographed team items.
ON THE WEB
Friday's "Beauty and the Beast" event can be seen via a live web cast with commentary from OU gymnastics All-American, Kasie Tamayo, and former OU wrestler, Kyle Terry, on Oklahoma All-Access, SoonerSports.com's premium site. Live stats for all meets can be found on SoonerSports.com.
GYMNAST TO WATCH - SARA STONE
Stone was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week for Jan. 24 after setting two career-highs and winning the vault title at TWU. Posted a career-high 9.925 on floor, 9.85 on beam and a season-high 9.925 on vault. Stone has scored a 9.9 or higher in three of her nine routines and has won two of the three individual vault titles this season.
OU will see two top five matchups in less than 48 hours next weekend. The Sooners host No. 4 Nebraska, Centenary and Minnesota next Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the LNC, before heading to Fayetteville to face No. 1 Arkansas on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
The Sooners posted a season-high, and current NCAA-best road score for 2012, 197.450 Saturday, Jan. 21 to finish first at the TWU quad meet ahead of the Pioneers (192.425), Utah State Aggies (192.325) and Centenary Ladies (191.450). OU posted a combined 10 career-highs and nine season-highs in 24 possible routines at TWU, while posting season-high team scores on all four events. OU won swept all eight event titles (team and individual) while OU’s Taylor Spears won the all-around with a 39.200.
197 AND COUNTING
With the 197.450 at TWU on Jan. 21, OU became the first program in the country to break the 197-mark on the road. Only five teams total have surpassed a team score of 197 this season (No. 1 Arkansas and UCLA, No. 3 Utah, No. 4 Nebraska and No. 5 OU) while only UCLA has scored higher than OU’s 197.450 with a 197.575 on Jan. 22. The 197.450 was the fourth-highest team score in school history and was the second-highest score in the Kindler era. OU’s program-best team score of 197.950 came on March 5, 2010 against then-No. 1 Alabama at the Lloyd Noble Center.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 42-2 in Norman under sixth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. OU’s only two losses at home have come against SEC opponents in Alabama and Arkansas. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008, while OU’s loss to Arkansas in the 2009 home opener marked Oklahoma’s only regular season home defeat in Kindler’s tenure. Among the 74 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010.
BIG 12’S BEST
OU has won four of the first nine Big 12 weekly awards of 2012. Brie Olson was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the week on Jan. 10, Taylor Spears was Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 17 and then Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 24 along with Sara Stone who was named Event Specialist of the Week. This week was the third time in conference history that an OU gymnast was named Event Specialist three weeks in a row (also happened in 2008 and 2010).
Seniors Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have provided consistency and stability for the Sooners in 2012 with no better example than the TWU quad meet on Jan. 21. Combined, Ferguson and Stone won three of the four event titles, set three career-highs and scored a 9.9 or higher in five of six routines. Ferguson has posted a 9.8 or higher in eight of her nine routines this season while Stone has scored a 9.9 or higher in three of her nine.
FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM
Taylor Spears made her first career appearance in the all-around on Jan. 21 at TWU. The sophomore won the all-around title Saturday with a career-high 39.200 and moved up to No. 18 nationally in the all-around and No. 8 on floor with her performance. At TWU, Spears posted a career-high 9.9 on vault to finish in second place on the event, tied her career-high on floor with a 9.875 to finish in third place on the apparatus, scored a 9.8 on bars and a 9.625 on beam. Spears is the first OU gymnast to compete in the all-around this season and Saturday marked just the fourth time a Sooner gymnast has competed in the all-around in the last three years.
TO BE THE BEST...
You have to beat the best. OU is no stranger to tough schedules and 2012 is no exception. The Sooners have four of the current top six teams on its 2012 slate, including No. 1-T Arkansas and No. 4 Nebraska on the same weekend. OU will see the Huskers on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Lloyd Noble Center before heading to Fayetteville, Ark., on Sunday, Feb. 5. OU will also see No. 6 Alabama on March 2 at the LNC and No. 1-T UCLA the following weekend on March 11 in L.A.
The Sooners lost their first regular season meet since 2009 last week as OU fell to No. 7 Oregon State, 196.525-195.975. OU’s last regular-season loss was to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13, 2009. With the loss, OU’s nation-leading regular season win streak of 32 ended. Despite the loss, Oklahoma is 70-7 in the regular season under Kindler. OU clinched its third perfect regular season in four years (and second straight) on March 11, 2011, with its 196.875-194.800 win over Michigan State in Norman.
CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2012
OU starts the 2012 season ranked No. 4 in the GymInfo preseason coaches poll, behind No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Florida. The Sooners received two first place votes in the poll and tied OU’s program-best preseason ranking. The Sooners add five newcomers for 2012 and return an impressive 18 of 24 routines from the 2011 lineup, including nine All-American performances. Headlining OU’s returners are five-time All-American Megan Ferguson, two-time All-American Kayla Nowak and All-Americans Brie Olson and Sara Stone. Ferguson, Nowak Olson and Stone provide veteran leadership and experience that will be vital for the young Sooners. OU will be tested in 2012 with the loss of All-American Natasha Kelley and a challenging schedule. Kelley, who consistently scored in the 9.9s on vault, bars and beam, suffered a season-ending injury during preseason practice. The loss of Kelley’s talent and experience will challenge OU’s depth throughout the 2012 schedule, which includes 10 teams ranked in the preseason top 25 and five top 10 teams.
FOLLOW THE SOONERS
The OU gymnastics program maintains its own Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts, which are updated frequently with all of the latest news about the squad. Links to each of these pages as well as a behind-the-scenes blog can be found at www. SoonerSports.com.