Live coverage from Lincoln, Neb., on OU's afternoon preliminary session.
April 16, 2009
2009 NCAA National Championships Blog
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Sooners Set Sights on Super Six
OU media relations graduate assistant Phillip Rogers will blog live on press row from the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., as eighth-seeded Oklahoma competes in the first session of the 2009 NCAA Gymnastics Championships.
3:45 -- It appears the Sooners' season has come to a close unless they receive a lot of help in this last rotation. 3:15 -- After a solid but not spectacular floor rotation, OU will need its best vaults of the season in its final rotation to have a chance. The Sooners will have to play the waiting game following the rotation, as they end the event on a bye.
Also a quick update on where the Sooners stand individually - Ferguson's 9.9 on beam is still the top score on the apparatus as the freshman sensation is the only gymnast in the first four rotations to eclipse the 9.9 mark.
Kristin Smith is hanging on to fourth on beam, while Jackie Flanery's floor routine resulted in a share of ninth through four rotations.
2:50 p.m. -- OU stands just 0.175 out of third as all six teams have now completed two events. The Sooners now move to floor and vault, where they have typically been solid all season.
2:10 p.m. -- The Sooners are right back in the hunt after going six-for-six on beam en route to a team score of 49.125, capped off by Megan Ferguson's 9.9. It was Ferguson's sixth straight routine of 9.8 or better on the apparatus for the Olathe, Kan., freshman who shared beam honors at the Big 12 Championships.
1:40 p.m. -- OU hits five of six bars routines in the opening rotation for a 48.675 team tally. LSU will be counting a fall in the first rotation on beam, while Florida has had one gymnast fall with two gymnasts remaining.
Ironically, it was Oklahoma's lowest bars score since a reguar season meeting in this same building against the Huskers on Feb. 8.
1:20 p.m. -- March-in and the National Anthem have concluded and we're set to begin. Cheers to the Oklahoma fans which have brought out quite an array of signs and noisemakers.
12:15 p.m. -- The Sooners are on vault - their final warm-up event before ending the warm-up session on a bye. OU should be comfortbale with the rotation as it's the same schedule that OU had at this year's Northeast Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
10:45 a.m. -- The warm-up session has begun as fans are starting to file into the Bob Devaney Center. The Oklahoma squad has exuded a quiet confidence all week as the coaching staff has preached "leaving nothing in the tank."
9:45 a.m. -- The traveling party boarded the bus to the competition arena amidst loud cheers of Boomer Sooner from the Oklahoma fans that made the trip. Rumor has it that OU fans purchased the most pre-sale tickets of any school at this week's event.
9:35 a.m. -- The team has finished eating breakfast in a private banquet room at the Cornhusker Hotel. While yesterday's breakfast was in the company of all the other competitors, OU chose some peace and quiet for today's meal as it is a business trip afterall. A special shoutout to our chef for the outstanding omelettes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Road Trip: NCAA Championships
10:00 p.m. -- The team enjoyed a nice dinner in downtown Lincoln and has since just wrapped up their team meeting. The mood was light, yet full of confidence, as the team appears to be on a mission to reach its preseason goals.
The meeting was concluded with a motivational/good luck video that included clips of many former OU All-Americans, good luck wishes from many OU coaches/staffers including Joe Castiglione, Bob Stoops and Jeff Capel, and members of the reigning NCAA National Champion OU men's gymnastics squad performing the girls floor routines (which drew quite a bit of laughter from the entire room).
Best of luck to the men's gymnastics squad who is in search of its ninth national title this week in Minneapolis, Minn.
4:00 p.m. -- Select members of the OU team have just completed CBS interviews and the NCAA National Championships press conference. Junior Kristin Smith seemed very eager to get her hands on the NCAA trophy, as the CBS crew used it as a prop for their video intros.
OU Head Coach KJ Kindler's opening statement: “We’re very excited to be representing the Big 12 Conference at this event. We’re disappointed that Nebraska won’t be here, but they will be represented, and Missouri (will represent the Big 12) as well. Lincoln is a great town. They always put on a great championship. They hosted Big 12s and other championship events as well.
It’s great to be here again. Our season has been very consistent, from the very first meet to our regional meet last week, We have definitely building as the season has progressed. We hit 24 routines at Regionals and we feel that we’re peaking at the right time.
Our team chemistry is amazing right now. I think that’s one of the biggest differences for us this year is that the team is really clicking. The chemistry is there and you can see it.
We have two great all-arounders in Ashley Jackson and Haley DeProspero. The remainder of our team gives us two routines each.
We’ve very widely spread responsibilities across our team and we’ve been very fortunate with injuries. We feel that we’re at our strongest right now.”
11:00 a.m. -- OU just completed its practice session -- one that the coaches were particularly pleased with. It's a change from Oklahoma's warm-ups at Big 12's and Regional's which were not as smooth. 9:00 a.m. -- The Sooners just finished breakfast at the Marriot Cornhusker Hotel - OU's headquarters for the week. The gymnasts had a chance to meet up with some friends from other school's as every team in this week's event ate breakfast together.
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