gymnastics-women-nc flag | January 17, 2014

After record-setting performance, No. 1 Oklahoma opens Big 12 play

No. 1 Oklahoma vs. Iowa State

After posting a program record season-opening score of 197.700 last weekend, Oklahoma enters this weekend ranked No. 1 in the country. The Sooners will look to capitalize on the momentum of their strong opening effort Friday evening as they open Big 12 competition against Iowa State. The meet is slated for a 6:45 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center.

OU’s returners led the way for its huge effort in last weekend’s win against Georgia, contributing 10 scores of 9.9 or higher while capturing event titles on all four apparatuses and in the all-around. Upperclassmen were particularly key for the Sooners on beam, where junior Rebecca Clark and seniors Taylor Spears and Madison Mooring each posted 9.925 routines to tie for top honors on the event.

With a 1-0 start under their belts, OU will get home floor advantage in the gym again this weekend as it competes in the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners own a 41-2 regular season record in the LNC under head coach K.J. Kindler, including five undefeated home seasons.

No. 2 LSU vs. No. 9 Georgia

After posting the second highest score in the country with a 197.200 in the season opener against Centenary, second-ranked LSU will look to carry that momentum on the road as the Tigers take on No. 9 Georgia on Friday night.

The meet marks the Southeastern Conference opener for both squads, and it will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET in Stegeman Coliseum.

LSU (1-0) enters the meet after posting the best season-opening score in school history with a 197.200 against Centenary, while Georgia comes into the meet 0-2 after tough road bouts at Oklahoma and Stanford last weekend.

Juniors Rheagan Courville and Jessie Jordan, ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the nation respectively, give LSU a one-two punch in the all-around. They are the first LSU duo to rank in the Top 5 in the all-around standings since Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and Susan Jackson did it in 2009.

Georgia has six freshmen on its roster this season, which is the most since there were six freshmen in 2007. The last time the Gym Dogs had more than six freshmen was in 2004 (7).

No. 3 Alabama vs. T6 Nebraska, Kentucky

Alabama gymnastics team is third nationally in the first rankings of the 2014 season while the Crimson Tide leads the nation on the uneven bars after scoring a 49.475 in its season opener last Friday against Missouri.

On Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn., the Tide will face T6 Nebraska and Kentucky in the  in the Ozone Collegiate Gymnastics Classic.

Individually, senior Kim Jacob is ranked second in the all-around after posting a 39.525 in the season opener, tying her career-best score. Jacob is also ranked sixth on the floor exercise, 11th on the balance beam, and is tied for third on the uneven bars with UA freshman Amanda Jetter.

Fresh off the first victory of the 2014 season, Nebraska looks forward to its first road event of the year.

The last time the Huskers and Crimson Tide met was in 2011 where Alabama defeated Nebraska 197.65-196.725. The Huskers holds a regular-season series advantage of 8-0 and a postseason advantage of 2-0 against Kentucky all-time.

T4 Florida vs. Auburn

Southeastern Conference action begins Friday as No. T4 Florida is at No. 18 Auburn for a dual meet. Meet time is set for 8 p.m. ET in the Auburn Arena.

Florida used the smallest margin possible -- 0.025 -- to take a 196.65-196.625 win last Saturday at then No. 4 UCLA. Florida has a miss on vault, beam and floor, but those marks were not used toward the final team total. Senior Mackenzie Caquatto anchored the Gators’ beam set with a 9.875 to give Florida just enough to hand the Bruins’ their first loss ever in a home opener. Junior All-American Kytra Hunter won floor (9.925) and all-around (39.375) and sophomore Bridgette Caquatto claimed a share of the uneven bars title (9.90) for the first event win of her Gator career.

Florida and Auburn last met in regular-season action for the 2013 Gators Link to Pink meet, with the Gators’ posting the then-nation’s leading team total of 197.65 to take the win against then No. 18 Auburn.

T4 Utah vs. California

Utah (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) makes its first road trip of the season, opening Pac-12 play against California (3-2, 0-1 Pac-12) on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

All three of Utah's wins came in its season opener last Saturday against Boise State, BYU and Southern Utah. Utah's 196.650 in the meet is tied for the fourth-best score in the country with Florida. The Utes lost junior Kassandra Lopez for the season to an Achilles tear in pre-meet warm-ups on floor last Saturday. She was slated to start on vault, bars and beam and was in the exhibition lineup on floor.

Double winners for Utah in its season opener were Georgia Dabritz (tied for first on vault and bars) and Tory Wilson (bars and all-around).

T6 UCLA vs. Oregon State

UCLA went toe-to-toe with No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Florida in the 2014 season opener but came up just short by the smallest possible margin 196.650-196.625.

UCLA's veteran trio of Olivia Courtney, Samantha Peszek and Sydney Sawa led the Bruins with confident, high-scoring routines. Courtney tied her career-highs on vault with a 9.975 and bars with a 9.9 to capture first place on those events. She also scored 9.9 on floor to place second. Peszek had a successful return to competition after redshirting in 2013 with a torn Achilles. Peszek won beam with a 9.925 and tied for third on bars with a 9.875. Sawa added a pair of 9.9s on vault (3rd place) and floor (T-2nd place).

UCLA (0-1) returns to action on Sunday against Oregon State in Pauley Pavilion at  9 p.m. ET.

No. 8 Michigan vs. North Carolina, NC State, Towson

Michigan (2-0) is on the road again this week, traveling to Raleigh, N.C., on Friday to take on NC State (0-1), North Carolina (1-0) and Towson (0-1) in a quad meet. The competition will begin at 7 p.m. ET inside Reynolds Coliseum.

In the all-time series, U-M is 5-0 against NC State, 3-0 against North Carolina and 2-1 against Towson. The Wolverines last met NC State in the 2010 NCAA Regionals in Morgantown, W.Va. This Friday's competition will be their first meet in Raleigh. Michigan also faced North Carolina and Towson last season, winning both encounters.

Fifth-year senior Natalie Beilstein and freshman Nicole Artz were named Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced on Monday.

No. 10 Arkansas vs. Missouri

Arkansas travels to Columbia, Mo., to face its first Southeastern Conference foe in Missouri on Friday. The meet is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m ET.

Both teams are entering the meet having opened their season last Friday. The Razorbacks hosted Western Michigan and Bridgeport in a tri-meet and collected the program’s second-highest opening meet score in program history of a 196.200. Missouri, opened its season at Alabama scoring a 193.425.

After the Razorbacks first competition, the squad moved into the top 10 of the national rankings and put four different gymnasts among the top 25 of the individual events. Senior All-American Katherine Grable scored a 39.475 in the all-around to earn the No. 4 overall gymnast ranking, followed by freshman Amanda Wellick who scored a 39.300 to be the No. 13 overall gymnast.


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