Feb. 13, 2010
Courtesy of Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. — The University of Oklahoma women’s gymnastics program ascended to No. 1 in the country for the first time in program history on Monday and proved why on Friday.
The top-ranked Sooners (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) led wire-to-wire in a 197.250-196.225 victory over No. 16 Iowa State (4-5, 0-2 Big 12) in front of 1,777 fans at Lloyd Noble Center in OU’s “Beauty and the Beast” spectacular.
The gymnasts shared the floor with the ninth-ranked OU wrestling squad, who improved to 13-1-1 with a 33-3 victory over the visiting Chattanooga Mocs.
“We talked about having intensity from the very beginning and I felt like we definitely came out that way,” said head coach K.J. Kindler. “We definitely had our best bar performances of the year, sticking dismounts, hitting those ankles and really being detail-oriented.”
The Sooners improved to 26-2 in their last 28 home events by sweeping all eight team and individual event honors en route to their highest team tally under Kindler, who improved to 8-0 versus her former squad since she took the OU head coaching position in 2007.
Individually, Jackie Flanery posted her second straight vault title despite serving as OU’s leadoff gymnast in the rotation, sharing event honors with anchor Mary Mantle. Hollie Vise remained perfect on the season on bars with her sixth straight win in a tie with Big 12 bars champion Megan Ferguson. Ferguson, Vise and Kristin Smith all shared the event win on beam, while Smith took home her second straight floor title.
Opening the dual meet on vault, Oklahoma opened and closed the rotation with event winning 9.875s from Flanery and Mantle. Paced by the senior duo’s shared event title, the Sooners turned in a team tally score of 49.200 to open the dual meet with the event win, as Sara Stone and Natasha Kelley also turned in solid routines with a pair of 9.85s.
OU posted six straight scores of 9.825 on higher on bars and took its second event title of the night with a season-high score of 49.425. It was a full 0.2 of a point higher than any other Oklahoma team score on the apparatus in 2010. The Sooners swept the bars podium behind 9.925s from Vise and Ferguson for the event win, while Kelley (9.9), Brie Olson (9.85), Flanery (9.825) and Kayla Nowak (9.825) were right on their heels.
Oklahoma survived a scare after a fall from the first position on beam with five straight scores of 9.825 or higher. Nowak and Kelley posted routines of 9.825 and 9.85, respectively, while Smith, Vise and Ferguson closed the rotation with back-to-back-to-back 9.9s. The Sooners scored a 49.375 on the apparatus to take a 148.000-147.050 lead into the final event.
“On beam, it’s always tough when your first person falters and it’s a very tough thing for the team to come back,” said Kindler. “Sometimes those details aren’t taken care of when those things happen because the pressure is so great and I thought we did a great job of rebounding from that. I know Natalie (Ratcliff) is going to get back on track and we have an excellent beam team. We can definitely produce better than we did tonight.”
The Sooners clinched their highest score since posting a 197.300 in 2004 with a 49.250 on floor. Smith won her second event honor of the night with a 9.925, while Ferguson notched a 9.9. Stone posted a 9.85 in her season debut on floor and Vise was solid with a 9.825.
Oklahoma improved to 41-14-1 in the all-time series against the Cyclones which dates back to 1981.
“The only disappointment tonight was that we felt like we didn’t hold the intensity throughout the meet and we really need to do that,” said Kindler. “We’re hitting two or three events and not four, but I think that’s a positive thing. Once again, it shows the promise and the potential that this team has.”
The Sooners hit the road for back-to-back meets beginning with a trip to Columbia, Mo., for a meeting with conference rival Missouri on Feb. 19, before ending the two-meet road trip at Michigan State on Feb. 26.