Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gymnastics: OU Women Win 11th Conference Title

The No. 2 Oklahoma women's gymnastics team won its fifth Big 12 Championship in the last six years Saturday with a score of 197.200, besting No. 25 West Virginia and Iowa State for the title.

OU junior Taylor Spears won the Big 12 all-around title with a score of 39.600 and tied for the individual titles on both bars and beam. Following the meet, Spears was also named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year.

"She shows no fear," said OU head coach K.J. Kindler of Spears. "She's extremely competitive and aggressive on the floor and she believes in herself."

Oklahoma swept every individual event title and the all-around title outright, becoming the first school in Big 12 history to do so. Freshman Maile'ana Kanewa took the vault title, senior Brie Olson and Spears took bars, sophomore Rebecca Clark and Spears took beam and freshman Haley Scaman won the floor title.

Following the meet, sophomore Lauren Alexander was named Specialist of the Year and Scaman was named Newcomer of the Year, joining Spears in taking all three conference honors.

OU head coach K.J. Kindler was also named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the seventh time in her career, tying a conference record.

The Sooners began the meet on bars, coming out on fire from start to finish to a 49.550 team score, tying for the second-best bars total in program history. Olson and Spears tied for the top mark of the meet with 9.95 scores, a career high for Spears. Erica Brewer and Rebecca Clark added 9.9s while Haley Scaman and Hayden Ward rounded out the lineup, each recording 9.85 scores.

"Bars was definitely the high point of the day," Kindler said. "We worked hard this past week on making a better impression on our first event. We started out with great enthusiasm and I couldn't think of a better way we could have began the meet."

Clark and Spears tied for the beam title earning 9.9s to lead the Sooners. Clark's score tied a career high and gave the sophomore her first-ever conference title. OU was forced to count a fall on beam for the first time this season, finishing with a team score of 48.825.

Oklahoma bounced back well on floor, recording a 49.500 team score, led by freshman Haley Scaman who earned a meet-best 9.95 for her first-career Big 12 title. Olson, Spears and junior Madison Mooring each added 9.9s for the Sooners.

With the championship firmly in hand, OU closed out the meet with a score of 49.325 on vault. Kanewa continued her comeback story from wrist surgery by winning the event in just the sixth collegiate meet of her career. Olson finished right behind Kanewa with a 9.9.

The Sooners will be a No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA Regional. OU will host one of the six Regionals in Norman on Saturday, April 6, at 4 p.m CT. The Sooners will learn who will join them at the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday, March 25, at 2 p.m. CT when the NCAA selection show airs live on NCAA.com.

Vault Bars Beam Floor Total
 Oklahoma 49.325 49.550 48.825 49.500 197.200
 Iowa State 49.050 49.025 49.050 49.050 196.175
 West Virginia 49.100 47.875 48.975 48.725 194.675

/// SoonerSports PR
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