College gymnastics: No. 1 Oklahoma soars to Senior Night victory over No. 7 UGA
NORMAN — The No. 1 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team sent out its senior class on a strong note, recording a 197.675-196.925 Senior Night victory over No. 7 Georgia on Friday night. The win, which moved the Sooners to 12-0 on the season, came in front of a record-breaking crowd inside Lloyd Noble Center.
The Sooners posted the highest team score on each event, scoring a 49.400 (vault), 49.500 (bars), 49.450 (beam) and 49.325 (floor). Additionally, Oklahoma swept at least a share of all individual honors, with the top score on each event being a 9.95. The meet brought the senior class full circle, as its first home meet as freshmen was also against Georgia.
OU’s seniors made an impact in their final home meet, with Chayse Capps and McKenzie Wofford both securing event titles. Capps shared the beam title with freshman Maggie Nichols, while Wofford placed first on bars. Capps also claimed the all-around crown with a 39.475.
On vault, OU sophomore Brenna Dowell and Georgia’s Sydney Snead split the title. Junior AJ Jackson closed out the meet with the highest score on floor of the night, sharing the honor with GiGi Marino from Georgia.
Senior Charity Jones also impressed in the meet, leading off on three events as she tied her career high on beam with a 9.9 and matched her season highs on both vault and floor with totals of 9.875.
The Sooners opened the meet with a solid 49.400 on vault, while Georgia tallied a 49.125 on bars. Dowell led the way with a stuck Yurchenko 1 ½, earning her a score of 9.95 in the No. 4 slot. This marks the third straight meet Dowell has scored at least a 9.95 on the apparatus. Senior Charity Jones led off the meet with a season-high-matching 9.875, while classmate Chayse Capps followed her with a 9.85. In the No. 3 position, freshman Jade Degouveia tallied a career-best 9.85, while junior AJ Jackson scored a 9.875 in the fifth spot. Nichols anchored with a 9.8.
“There were some really good and new things," head coach K.J. Kindler said. "We had a lot of new people out there. I think the highlight of the night was adding an additional 10.0 (start value) to our vault lineup. Jade (Degouveia) being able to perform a one and a half for the first time, that’s huge for our vault lineup down the road. That’s a really big add on for us, so that was exciting. Brenna stuck her vault, and Charity had a really good stick on her vault as well. I thought vault was a good performance.”
On bars, OU recorded four marks of at least 9.925 to post a 49.500 on the event, stretching their lead to 98.900-98.300 at the halfway point. The Gymdogs posted a 49.175 on vault in the rotation. Wofford made the most of her final bars routine inside the LNC, matching her season best with a big 9.95. In the anchor spot, Nichols tallied a 9.925, while junior Stefani Catour and sophomore Nicole Lehrmann scored identical 9.9s. Dowell contributed a 9.825 in the No. 3 spot, while Capps opened with a 9.75.
“Bars, I thought we were trying a little bit too hard on our landings," Kindler said. "We were a little soggy on our landings tonight. Not quite our normal selves, but I think that is going to happen to us this season. We’ve got to come down a little bit from where we were the last few weeks. I think that is a good thing.”
OU moved to beam, where it scored a 49.450, while Georgia tallied a 49.300 on floor in the rotation. Jones set the tone on the event, leading off with a career-high-matching 9.9, while fellow senior Capps anchored with a beautiful 9.95. Nichols also scored a 9.95 in the No. 4 spot, while Lehrmann and Catour posted 9.825s in the second and third positions, respectively.
“Beam was good," Kindler said. "Natalie (Brown) had a little break but she warmed up great. It was just kind of a fluky thing. I was really excited on how Charity started us off. I think Maggie bringing it back after her vault and bars were not her normal Maggie 9.95 or 10.0, she was able to let it go a little bit on beam, which I was proud of her for. It’s tough when you have that expectation on yourself and then you fall a little short. You tend to be hard on yourself. She’s got to be able to free up her wings a bit if that happens.”
The Sooners closed out the meet with a 49.325 on floor, anchored with an impressive 9.95 from Jackson. It was Jackson’s third straight tally of at least 9.95 on the event this season. In the second-to-last position, Capps earned a 9.925 for her final home routine as a Sooner. In the leadoff spot, Jones was solid with a 9.875, while Brown followed with a 9.825.
“Floor was good as well," Kindler said. "We had a couple of out of bounds, which isn’t our normal, but I really felt like they were tired tonight. It was a very emotional week leading up to Senior Night. A third of our team are seniors, so there were a lot of people involved tonight.”
Friday’s meet is the first of two this weekend for the Sooners. On Sunday, OU will travel to Denton, Texas, to face TWU.