OU looks for another record-setting performance against the Crimson Tide.
March 1, 2012
By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- In March of 2010, Alabama came to town.
The result was record-setting.
Now, the Sooners are hoping for a repeat performance.
"No one needs to tell the girls what Alabama means," OU coach K.J. Kindler said. "Definitely more intense."
What Alabama means is a postseason, national championship kind of feel for a regular-season meet.
After all, it will be a top-five matchup between the No. 2 Sooners and the No. 5 Tide. It will also be a rematch from the past two seasons when the schools met for the national championship.
And more importantly, it means another shot at the defending national champs after Alabama won it all last year.
"They are an amazing team," OU senior Sara Stone said. "And we know that every step, angle and toe point is going to count a bit more. And we’ve been working on every little detail to get ready."
When the Tide and the Sooners meet at 7 Friday night at the Lloyd Noble Center, it will be Senior Night for four OU gymnasts – Stone, Candace Cindell, Megan Ferguson and Natasha Kelley – and an opportunity for the Sooners to duplicate what they did two years ago in Norman against Alabama.
In 2010, the Sooners set a program record with their team score of 197.950, and it happened in front of a program-record crowd of 2,529.
Alabama is used to record crowds as its gymnasts regularly perform in front of massive crowds. The Crimson Tide has anywhere from 13,000-15,000 fans per home meet.
"The crowd has an impact," Kindler said. "And we are looking for rowdy fans. You can be loud and rowdy."
Stone will come into Friday’s meet as the top-ranked gymnast on the vault and she will lead a Sooners team ranked No. 1 in two exercises – the floor and beam.
"We can’t over-analyze anything," Stone said. "We just have to do what we’ve done all year."