University of Oklahoma vice president for intercollegiate athletic programs and athletic director Joe Castiglione and Kindler announced Oklahoma's 2014 competition schedule on Friday.
After winning the 2014 NCAA Championship in record-breaking fashion, Kindler and the Sooners will aim to become the fifth team since 2000 to repeat as national champions in consecutive years.
"This is a new team and a new year," Kindler said. "We have new challenges coming our way. Our depth is as strong as, if not stronger than, last year, and we will count on our senior leadership all season."
Oklahoma's home slate is full of excitement this season, including contests against two-time NCAA champion Florida, two-time Super Six qualifier Arkansas, TWU and Southeast Missouri State. OU will also host conference and regional championship meets.
OU will face all three programs that finished in the top four nationally alongside the Sooners last season, challenging co-champion Florida, third place finisher LSU and fourth-place Alabama. Oklahoma is also set to challenge NCAA-qualifying teams in Michigan (10th) and Illinois (11th).
The Sooners open the season on Friday, Jan. 9 at home against Arkansas. The 7 p.m. contest will kick off an exciting month that includes five total meets for the Sooners, including a second home meet on Jan. 23 against TWU and SEMO. OU will also hit the road in January for Minnesota, Denver and the Metroplex Challenge.
The Sooners will be a team just as comfortable on the road as they are at home in 2015. Oklahoma will take part in six true road contests, including a regular-season finale against Alabama in Tuscaloosa on March 13. OU will take on February road meets against Iowa State, Michigan and Illinois, returning home on March 6 to face Florida.
"We are competing in a lot of new environments against a variety of schools with strong gymnastics followings," Kindler said. "We're excited to be in some electric atmospheres on the road all season."
The squad will also prep for the postseason with two neutral-site podium meets: the Metroplex Challenge (Jan. 31) in Fort Worth and the Perfect 10 Challenge (Feb. 14) in Oklahoma City.
"We are excited to prepare our team with strong podium meets," Kindler added. "Both are great opportunities for us to enter a unique environment and learn more about podium competition."
Metroplex will serve as a key contest for the Sooners, who will get an early look at the 2014 NCAA Championship host site during the meet. The 2014 Championships are set for April 17-19 at the Fort Worth Convention Center, the same venue that hosts the Metroplex Challenge.
The road to the championships will run through Norman this year as Oklahoma hosts both the 2015 Big 12 Championships (March 21) as well as the NCAA Norman Regional (April 4). The Sooners will be in pursuit of the program's 13th conference title and its sixth consecutive regional championship.
The Sooners return 18 of 24 routines from last season's championship team and will add four talented and dynamic freshman contributors to the 2015 lineup. OU is also set to welcome back six gymnasts that have previously captured All-America honors.
Season tickets for the 2015 season are on sale now through the University of Oklahoma Ticket Office. Tickets can be ordered online at SoonerSports.com, or by calling (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU. Fans have the opportunity to select a reserved season ticket ($25) or a general admission package ($15) for OU's three home meets this season.
/// SoonerSports PR