OU will fight for its third straight NCAA Super Six berth on Friday, April 20 at 11 a.m. CT.
April 18, 2012
||Gymnast to Watch - Megan Ferguson
|2012 NCAA Championships
||Friday, April 20 at 11 a.m. (CT)
||UCLA, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Utah, Stanford, LSU
||Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. (CT)
||Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Oregon State, Ohio State
||Duluth, Ga. | Gwinnett Center
||NCAA Championship Tickets
||Semifinal I | Semifinal II
||Media Guide | Meet Notes | Blog | Twitter | Championship Central
NORMAN, Okla. --The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team eyes its third-straight NCAA Super Six appearance as the third-seeded Sooners compete in the first semifinal session on Friday, April 21 at 11 a.m. CT, at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
Joining OU in the first semifinal are No. 2 UCLA, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Utah, No. 10 Stanford and No. 11 LSU. The second semifinal begins Friday at 5 p.m. CT and consists of No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 12 Ohio State.
The top three teams from both semifinals will advance to the Super Six team final competition on Saturday, April 21 at 3 p.m. CT.
The Sooners enter NCAA Championships with back-to-back top three finishes at the Super Six. OU finished third in last year’s national championship meet and closed 2010 in second place in the school’s first ever Super Six competition.
ON THE WEB
Fans can follow semifinal action via live webcast and live scoring at NCAA.com. The NCAA Super Six will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and will be aired on tape delay on ESPNU on May 2, at 7:30 p.m.
GYMNAST TO WATCH - MEGAN FERGUSON
Ferguson was named the 2012 South Central Regional Gymnast of the Year and the 2012 Big 12 Event Specialist of the Year. Ferguson scored a 9.9 on both bars and beam and a 9.925 on floor at the NCAA Champaign Regional to win the beam and floor titles. Ferguson is also one of six AAI Award finalists. The AAI Award is voted on by NCAA coaches and is given to the country's most outstanding senior gymnast.
LAST TIME OUT
OU won its third straight NCAA Regional title as the Sooners claimed won the Champaign Regional with a score of 197.025, finishing ahead of Stanford, Illinois, Denver, Kentucky and Illinois-Chicago. Megan Ferguson won the floor title with a score of 9.925 and shared the beam title with a 9.9. OU lost Hayden Ward to a season-ending injury in the first routine of the night on bars, but followed with huge scores of beam and floor to clinch the regional title.
IN ELITE COMPANY
OU is one of just four schools in the country to qualify for the NCAA Championships each of the last nine seasons. Alabama, Florida and Utah have also accomplished the feat. OU has qualified for the NCAA Championships every year since the arrival of current head coach, K.J. Kindler, in 2007.
BIG 12 CHAMPS
OU won its fifth Big 12 Championship Saturday with a season-high score of 197.475 in front of the home crowd at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU finished ahead of Iowa State and Missouri who tied for second with a 196.025. Oklahoma won its fourth conference title in five seasons while junior Brie Olson won the all-around title in her first career all-around appearance and senior Megan Ferguson won the individual titles on bars and beam.
Megan Ferguson was named the 2012 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year April 7, beating out the nation’s top all-arounder Jaime Pisani of Arkansas. Ferguson was also named Big 12 Event Specialist of the Year (award for non-all-arounders) while head coach K.J. Kindler was named 2012 Big 12 Coach of the Year, March 24 at the conference championship. Ferguson was also named one of six finalists for the AAI Award. The award is voted on by the NCAA coaches and is given to the nation’s most outstanding senior gymnast.
197 AND COUNTING
OU is the only team in the NCAA this season to break the 197-mark eight times this season, five of which have come away from Norman. 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 this year. The 197.475 at the Big 12 Championship was a program-best postseason score, was the fourth-highest team score in school history and was the second-highest score in the Kindler era.
OU had faced adversity in droves in 2012. The Sooners have lost three gymnasts to season-ending injuries including two-time All-American Natasha Kelley. In the first routine of the night at the NCAA Regional, Hayden Ward tore her ACL during her landing on bars. Ward was slated to compete vault in the final event of the night, and OU had already lost three vaulters to injuries this season. Freshman walk-on Haley Sorensen was forced to step in on the event and vault for the first time of her career in the anchor position. Just three days before the 2012 Big 12 Championship, two-time All-American Kayla Nowak suffered a small fracture in her right hand during practice. The Sooners were forced to replace a three-event competitor with first-time competitors for the second time this season (freshman Rebecca Clark suffered a season-ending injury in early February). Olson competed beam and the all-around for the first time in her career and ended up winning the Big 12 all-around title with a 39.500. Olson scored a 9.85 on beam. Candace Cindell competed bars for the first time this season in Nowak’s place and posted a career-high 9.9, while Taylor Spears scored a 9.85 on floor in place of Nowak.
Seniors Megan Ferguson and Sara Stone have provided consistency and stability for the Sooners in 2012. Combined, Ferguson and Stone won or shared 29 event titles, set or tied 11 career-highs and scored a 9.9 or higher in 38 routines. Ferguson has posted a 9.9 or higher in 25 of her last 33 routines while Stone has scored a 9.9 or higher 15 times this year. Ferguson is ranked in the top three nationally on all three events she competes, while Stone leads the country on vault.
The Sooners swept all 11 Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors of 2012, the first team to ever win all of one award in conference history. Megan Ferguson won the award five times, Sara Stone was Specialist of the Week three times, Brie Olson earned the award two times while Taylor Spears won the award once. OU won six additional weekly awards, four gymnast of the week honors (Brewer, Nowak and Spears) and two newcomer of the week honors (Brewer and Clark).
The Sooners’ upset over No. 2 Arkansas came just 48-hours after OU’s first regular season home loss since 2009. The Sooners fell to No. 9 Nebraska at the Lloyd Noble Center on Friday, Feb. 3 after counting a fall on floor in the final rotation. Two days later, OU upset No. 2 Arkansas on the road with its second-best score of the season. OU’s season-high score came one week after the Sooners regular-season win streak was snapped at No. 7 Oregon State on Jan. 13. OU posted a 197.450 at TWU to finish first.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are 48-3 in Norman under sixth-year head coach K.J. Kindler. One of OU’s three losses at home was to Alabama. Top-seeded Alabama knocked off the Sooners en route to the NCAA South Central Regional title in 2008. Among the 74 home wins since 2000 are notable victories over then-ranked No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 4 Florida in 2010.
The Sooners boast the highest road average of any team in the top 25. OU is one of just four teams in the NCAA to post above a 197 team score on the road in the regular season and has done so four times. OU is 9-2 on the road, with its only losses coming to then-ranked No. 3 UCLA and No. 7 Oregon State. The Sooners upset No. 2 Arkansas in
Fayetteville on Feb. 5 with their third best score of the season (197.425).
BACK IT UP
The Sooners recorded back-to-back top three finishes after OU made its second straight NCAA Super Six appearance at the 2011 NCAA Championships and finished in third place with a score of 197.250. OU finished behind national champion Alabama and UCLA, while tying its second-highest postseason score in school history. The Sooners hit 48 of 48 routines at NCAA Championships, the only team out of the 12 participants to do so.
OU gymnasts earned a program-best 11 All-America honors in 2011. Megan Ferguson led the team with three All-America awards, the junior was named first team on bars and beam and second team on floor. Joining Ferguson were Natasha Kelley (beam - first team, bars - second team), Madison Mooring (vault - first team, beam - second team), Kayla Nowak (bars - first team, beam - second team), Brie Olson (bars - second team) and Sara Stone (vault - second team).
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.
KINDLER SIGNS THREE JUNIOR OLYMPIANS
Kindler and the Oklahoma women’s gymnastics squad announced the signing of three Junior Olympians to National Letters of Intent Nov. 9, 2011, the first day of the early signing period. Maile’ana Kanewa, Keeley Kmieciak and Haley Scaman signed NLIs with OU for the 2013 season. All three signees were top three finishers in the all-around at the 2011 Junior Olympic Nationals and are current JO National Team members. “We are so proud to have these three young women joining the Sooners,” Kindler said. “They are a tenacious group of athletes and there is no doubt that these up-and-comers are difference makers. The obvious observation is that they all excel on floor and vault, but make no mistake, these athletes are all-around great in every way. All three will make an immediate impact on our program.”
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.