Oklahoma looks to remain unbeaten as the Sooners head to Ames, Iowa to face Iowa State.
Feb. 10, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -The fifth-ranked Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad heads to Ames, Iowa, to face No. 25 Iowa State in its fifth road meet in five weeks on Friday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. (CT).
Oklahoma (8-0, 1-0 Big 12) scored a season-high last weekend against then-ranked No. 10 Nebraska, beating the Huskers 196.300-195.800 in Lincoln. The win was OU's fifth against a top 25 opponent this season, and second against a top 10 team.
Iowa State (6-1-1, 1-1 Big 12) enters Friday’s meet after placing first against N.C. State and George Washington last Friday in Raliegh, N.C., the Cyclones scored a 193.250 in the meet.
The Sooners lead the all-time series with Iowa State, 42-13-1. In the teams' last meeting, the Sooners scored a 197.175 to win their third-straight Big 12 Championship, while ISU placed fourth with a 194.850 on March 27, 2010.
Oklahoma looks to continue its road success at Iowa State, the Sooners top four scores this season have come in their four away meets (N.C. State - 196.175, TWU - 196.175, Washington - 196.175, Nebraska - 196.300).
With eight wins this year, OU has extended its nation-leading regular season win streak to 22.
ON THE WEB:
Live scoring and live video for Friday's meet at Iowa State can be found at www.Cyclones.com.
FAMILIAR FACES, PLACES
Friday’s meet will be a homecoming of sorts for a few members of the Oklahoma gymnastics family. Current OU head coach, K.J. Kindler, spent four years as a gymnast, ten years as an assistant coach and six seasons as head coach for the Cyclones, while OU assistant coach Lou Ball served as an assistant coach for ISU for eleven seasons with Kindler. Kindler and Ball took Iowa State to its first ever Super Six appearance and the Big 12 Championship in 2006. With the Cyclones, they coached eight regional event champions, 11 NCAA individual championship qualifiers and 18 Big 12 champions (three all-arounders). One of Kindler and Ball's gymnasts at Iowa State is current OU volunteer assistant coach, Kelli Haley. Haley was a first-team All-American and two-time Big 12 Champion for the Cyclones. Lastly, OU gymnast Nitya Ramaswami hails from Ames, Iowa, and trained at Success Gymnastics in Ames.
LUCKY NUMBER FIVE
The number five is a familiar digit to the 2011 women’s gymnastics team. The team is currently ranked No. 5 overall. The floor squad is ranked No. 5 nationally on the apparatus. The Sooners have won five competitions against ranked opponents. An OU gymnast has earned a Big 12 conference weekly award five times this season. The Sooners are competiting in their fifth road meet in five weeks. An OU gymnast has scored a 9.9 or higher on vault five times this year. The Sooners have won five event titles on bars, beam and floor, while Sara Stone and Natasha Kelley have each won five individual event titles. OU is one of just five programs in the country to qualify for every NCAA Championships since 2004, along with Alabama, Florida, LSU and Utah. Finally, this is the fifth season for OU head coach K.J. Kindler.
VAULTING TO NEW HEIGHTS
Oklahoma scored a season-high 49.350 on vault against Nebraska. The Sooners have scored a 49.100 or higher in four-straight meets and are currently ranked No. 6 on the event nationally. OU has won the team event title on vault in all six meets. Three Sooners scored a 9.9 or higher in Lincoln, Sara Stone scored a season-high 9.925, while Brie Olson and Melanie Root also added season-highs of 9.9. It was the first time this season that OU scored three 9.9s on one event.
The Sooners were forced to count a fall on beam at Nebraska. With the two mistakes, OU managed a team score of 48.600 on the event with help from a 9.9 from Megan Ferguson and a 9.875 from Taylor Spears. Sunday's meet was the first time in four competitions that OU scored below a 49.025 on beam. Despite the score, the Sooners are currently ranked fourth-nationally on the apparatus and have two gymnasts ranked in the top 25 on the event (Natasha Kelley - No. 6, Taylor Spears - No. 8).
| SOONER TO WATCH
Taylor Spears | Fr. | UB-BB-FX
Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for the second time this season on Tuesday. The freshman scored a 9.775 on bars, a 9.875 on beam and a 9.85 on floor in Lincoln. She tied her career-highs on both beam and floor. Spears is currently ranked No. 8 on beam and has scored a 9.8 or higher in all six meets this year.
WIN NO. 100
OU improved to 6-0 on the season, with wins over No. 6 Oregon State, No. 23 Denver, Centenary and TWU the weekend of Jan. 23 With the wins, OU head coach K.J. Kindler moves to 100 victories at Oklahoma. The Sooners are 102-36-2 overall under Kindler, 32-2 at home, 34-5 on the road and 63-6 in the regular season.
Oklahoma’s top four scores this season have come in OU’s four road meets. The Sooners are no strangers to road success, OU has posted five of its seven highest scores away from Norman for three-straight seasons.
The Sooners are 34-5 on the road during the regular season under head coach K.J. Kindler, as OU faces Iowa State for its fifth road competition in five weeks.
For the first time this season, Oklahoma trailed their opponent going into the final rotation on Friday, Jan. 21 at OU’s quad meet. The Sooners trailed Denver, 146.275-146.000, heading to floor but OU pulled out five scores of 9.825 or higher, including Kayla Nowak’s 9.9, to seal the quad meet victory. OU finished floor with a 49.300 event total, a season-high on any one event this season.
FIRST TIME’S THE CHARM
In her first appearance in the OU beam lineup, freshman Taylor Spears scored a 9.875 on the event against N.C. State on Jan. 14. With the score, Spears won the individual event title on the apparatus and was ranked No. 1 on the event on Jan. 17. Spears matched her career-high 9.875 on beam at TWU.
For the fifth time this season, an OU gymnast was recognized as the best in the Big 12 conference. Freshman Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for Feb. 8 for the second time this year. Freshman Madison Mooring was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after her record-breaking beam performance at TWU. Sophomore Kayla Nowak was named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week while Spears was named Newcomer of the Week for Jan. 18. Junior Sara Stone earned the first conference honor for the Sooners when she was Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week on Jan. 11.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 32-2 in Norman under fifth-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 65 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010 as well as wins over Auburn, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford and West Virginia.
For the sixth-straight meet, OU had at least one freshman on all four events at Nebraska. Forty of OU’s routines this season have been performed by freshmen. Madison Mooring has competed on three events (vault, beam and floor) in five of OU’s six meets after joining the team following her December high school graduation. Taylor Spears has competed on bars, beam and floor for the Sooners and is currently ranked No. 8 nationally on beam. Hope Bruce and Hayden Ward have both competed for OU on vault, bars and floor.
REGULAR SEASON SENSATIONS
Oklahoma is 63-6 in the regular season under Kindler. The Sooners finished the 2010 regular season as the only undefeated team in the NCAA at 14-0 and are currently leading the nation with a regular-season win streak of 22. OU has gone undefeated in the regular season twice in the past three seasons.
A GROUP EFFORT
Oklahoma has not had an all-around competitor this season, which is nothing new for the Sooners. OU had an all-arounder just twice during OU’s record-breaking 2010 season (Kayla Nowak at Illinois and Hollie Vise vs. Washington).
The Sooners face 10 teams currently ranked in the preseason top 25, including four top 10 teams and five programs that competed at the 2010 NCAA Championships. CollegeGymFans.com recently ranked OU at No. 10 nationally in strength of schedule.
CLOSER LOOK AT OKLAHOMA IN 2011
Oklahoma started the season ranked No. 4 nationally, the highest preseason ranking in program history. The back-to-back-to-back Big 12 Champions return nine members of the record-breaking 2010 squad, as the team looks to make its second-straight NCAA Super Six in 2011.
Headlining OU’s returnees are Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley. Ferguson is a two-time All-American and was named All-Big 12 on both bars and beam in 2010. Kelley was named the 2010 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 on vault and bars. The redshirt-sophomore enters the 2011 season with a career-high 9.925 on vault and 9.9 on both bars and beam.
The Sooners welcome four newcomers for the 2011 season. Hope Bruce and Taylor Spears joined the team in the summer of 2010, while Madison Mooring and Hayden Ward began training with the team in December.
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, the official site of the Oklahoma Sooners.